AgroWeb international network has been established by organizations and individuals involved in agricultural and rural development in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Participants started to develop a collaborative network, in view of the lack of information on the Internet about agricultural topics in the region in 1998. The AgroWeb Network was established and is maintained by representatives of participating countries, and facilitated by the regional chapter of International Association of Agricultural Information Specialists (IAALD) and by FAO.

25 countries from the Balkan region, New Independent States, Baltic states, Caucasus region, Central Asia, and European Union are participating in the network at this time. Main objectives, main tasks, new technological standards, possibilities of the network for the forthcoming years will be most important questions to be discussed during the workshop.

National web pages have been established as portals for the countries in the region, which provide access to information in a standard format and structure about agriculture-related institutions - ministries, libraries, information centres, universities, research centres, NGOs, agro-marketing organisations and organisations involved in the European integration process. The AgroWeb national portals provide Internet links, if available, to these national institutions and to other relevant national web sites.

In addition to the national portal pages, cross-cutting subject areas have been identified and a growing number of thematic sectors of the network are being coordinated by regional focal points. Examples of such sectoral portals currently active are:

  • Library and Information Centres – coordinated by Dr. Thomaz Bartol, Ljubljana University, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
  • Veterinary Medicine – coordinated by Professor Karel Hruska, Veterinary Research Institute, Brno, Czech Republic in close cooperation with the Centaur Network
  • Food and Nutrition – coordinated by Dr. Mirjana Pavlovic, Institute for Medical Research, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia.
  • NGOs and CSOs – coordinated by Mr. Michal Demes, Information Management Specialist, FAO SEUR, Budapest, Hungary.
  • FarmNet – coordinated by Mr. Stjepan Tannic, Farm Management and Agribusiness Officer, FAO SEUR, Budapest, Hungary.
  • Education – coordinated by Dr. Cosmin Salasan, Banat's University Of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine, Timisoara, Romania
  • Animal Genetic Resources – coordinated by Mr. Arunas Svitojus, Baltic Genofond, Vilnius, Lithuania.
  • Fisheries and Aquaculture – coordinated by Dr. Laszlo Varadi, HAKI, Szarvas, Hungary.
  • Animal Welfare – coordinated by Dr. Rastislav Kolesar, WSPA, London, UK -

The national AgroWeb portals are published in English and national languages to help the web-based communication within and among the participating countries and worldwide. The content and services published in the national languages also differ significantly, due to the differences in capabilities and resources between countries, and the institutional background of the AgroWeb authors.

Most of the software tools and applications used in the AgroWeb have been customized by the members of the network. Content elements are stored in common formats, increasing cross-compatibility of the same type of information between countries.

AgroWeb also exploits its personal, professional and institutional capacities to organize professional events, such as the "Roundtable of CEE Agricultural Information Specialists". The 9th IAALD CEE Roundtable will run parallel with our workshop in Nitra, Slovakia, in cooperation with the Nitra University of Agriculture and FAO.

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