Information catalyses development. It is often a condition for development, since a solid information base is vital for planning, policy formulation, and decision-making. In Africa, essential data are often hard to come by. The flow of information - from farmer to scientist, farmer to official or vice versa, or even between one institution and another - is thin. Scientific journals in the region are very few, and operate at a modest level for lack of funds. Countries of the region thus turn to developed country journals for information.
It is in this context that ALCOM attaches high priority to information. The Programme's Plan of Operation says that in line with the character of ALCOM -- of developing, testing, demonstrating methods and techniques for wider use -- dissemination of information should be a high priority task. The programme has conducted surveys of many kinds, which have demonstrated methods to collect data. ALCOM's Information Service disseminates information -- both about ALCOM's activities and about aqua-culture and fisheries in southern Africa -- to target groups within and outside the region. These include fisheries and aquaculture officials, representatives of donor and development agencies, extensionists, fish farmers and fisherfolk.
The Information Service outputs
The ALCOM library comprises over 5 000 holdings of books, published and unpublished manuscripts, reprints, data bases and journals on the technical and socio-economic aspects of aquaculture and small reservoir fisheries in Southern Africa. Documents are obtained by ALCOM through selective purchase, donation, and exchange of publications.
The library's computerized catalogue, a CDS/ISIS application for the MS-DOS operating system is available to any interested user or institution. It is accessible to all users at the library itself and at selected remote sites in several countries.
The library loans materials to local users, carries out literature searches and provides a reference service for ALCOM staff, government and non-government agencies, students and other members of the public with an interest in aquaculture and small reservoir fisheries.
The library is part of ZIMAGRINET (Zimbabwe National Agricultural Information Network), a computerized information network that collects, processes and disseminates scientific information on agriculture and related subjects.
Africa Inland Fisheries Provides statistical information on all African Inland waters
FIPPDAT Africa. A fishery policy and planning database system
AGRIS Fisheries 1975-93. A fisheries prototype containing more than 100 000 selected bibliographic records on fisheries and aquaculture
AGRIS 1991-92. International information system for agricultural sciences and technology.
FAO AGROSTAT PC. Provides agricultural statistics and other related data.
FIPIS Project Information. The Fishery Project Information System
REGIS II Africa Aquaculture. Provides information on aquaculture in Africa
Surface Water Body database. This database provides information on standing water bodies in mainland SADC. It is completely integrated in a geographical interface
FISHBASE. An information system with key data on the biology of all important fishes developed by ICLARM with support from FAO and the EEC.
For more information contact: The Information Secretary, ALCOM Mail: PO Box 3730, Harare, Zimbabwe Location: Fisheries Unit, National Parks Complex, Sandringham Drive, Harare, Zimbabwe Telephone: 263-4-734797, 724985 Fax: 263-4-736847 E-mail: ALCOM@Harare.iafrica.com