Options to Enhance the Impact of AKST on Development and Sustainability Goals | 411

indigenous  organisms,  e.g., ecotoxicological assessments of soils polluted with chromium and pentacholorophenol. The portal DATEST (http://projects.cba.muni.cz/datest) is a web-based engine that complements and stores information about a wide range of ecotoxicological tests and bioindica-tion methods used in Ecological Risk Assessment (Smid et al., 2006).

6.7.5 Information and knowledge systems Traditional, local knowledge options
Traditionally, many innovations for improving AKST oc­curred at the community level, and were diffused through community institutions  (Gyasi et al., 2004). Traditional communities have domesticated dozens of plant species, have bred and conserved thousands of crop varieties and animals, and have developed farming (cropping and ani­mal) systems and practices adapted to specific conditions (Kaihura and Stocking, 2003). Tapping on those resources and capacities and giving them recognition as well as le­gitimacy is a key development goal. A focus on agroecology can enrich the production and deployment of new farming practices and technologies that are environmentally, socially and culturally sustainable (Koontz et al., 2004).
Options for enhancing agricultural knowledge and in­novation in local and indigenous societies include:
•   Enhance local and traditional knowledge systems and grassroots innovation capacities;
•   Empower communities to access knowledge and to par­ticipate in innovation processes so they have more op­tions to respond to future changes and to biodiversity and livelihood challenges (Colfer, 2005);
•   Develop a new agenda that builds on agricultural knowl­edge and innovation in local and indigenous societies: increase projects of international agricultural research institutions such as Bioversity International (formerly IPGRI);
•   Foster  participatory   agricultural  and  environmental research projects that bring together traditional and western science (Brookfield et al., 2003; Colfer, 2004), journals such as Etnoecologica, and academic courses that include traditional and local knowledge.

Farmer field schools (see Chapter 2) could play a vital part as a community-based initiative for participatory research, enabling farmers to define and analyze problems, and ex­periment with options. Seed fairs can facilitate the selection of varieties better adapted to local conditions (Orindi and Ochieng, 2005) and adaptation to climate change. The es­tablishment of "lead farmers" and the implementation of various grassroots extension mechanisms could reinforce the role of communities in the production and diffusion of knowledge. Science and technology options
Advances in nanotechnology, remote  sensing  (RS), geo­graphic information systems (GIS), global positioning sys­tems  (GPS)  and information communication technology (ICT) can enhance progress in the application of precision and site-specific agriculture (PA).
       A concern in precision agriculture is the accessibility


and affordability of the technology for small farming sys­tems. This is not surprising considering that the general trend is that farmers with large farmlands of more than 300 ha, tend to be the first to invest in the new technology, whereas small farmers are more reluctant to invest in GPS equipment (Pedersen et al., 2004). A nationwide survey in the USA concluded that adoption of PA technologies was related to farm size and large farmers are the first to adopt (Daberkow and McBride, 2001). Adoption rate is also faster in regions with larger farm sizes and more specialized in certain cash crops (Blackmore, 2000; Fountas et al., 2005). Adoption is likely to continue in countries where labor is scarce, and vast tracts of land exist, with rates of adoption accelerating when commodity prices are high and interest rates low (Swinton and Lowenberg-DeBoer, 2001).
       Particularly for developing countries, the use of yield monitors, sensors, GIS and GPS, supported by advanced tools such as computer, digital camera, image processing technique, laser technology, and network system appear too complex for small-scale farmers, particularly for those whose field operations are not mechanized. Nevertheless, since precision farming being a management approach not a technology, it can be applied to developing countries indus­trialized countries, but the implementation may be different (Griepentrog and Blackmore, 2004).
        Precision agriculture practices that can easily be adapted in developing countries include site specific nutrient man­agement (SSNM) and simple integrated crop management (ICM) version like rice check (Lacy et al., 1999; Fairhurst et al., 2007; PhilRice, 2007). Thus, while the ownership of precision farming technologies is still an emerging option for small-scale agriculture, the adoption strategy can be adapted. Custom services can be used to help build precision farming databases while small-scale farmers gain experience with the spatial variability of their fields (Lowenberg-De­Boer, 1996). Remote sensing technology Remote sensing (RS) has a broad range of applications (ur­ban and transportation planning, applied geosciences, land use, environmental change, etc.) in many countries, espe­cially Europe and the United States where it is widely used, and can enhance agricultural planning for low productivity areas in developing countries.
       For agriculture, RS techniques play an important role in crop identification, crop area inventory, crop yield fore­casting, crop damage detection, soil and water resources in­ventory, and assessment of flood damage (Syam and Jusoff, 1999; Van Neil and McVicar, 2001; Patil et al., 2002). It also provides required inputs for land and water resources development plans, wasteland mapping and reclamation, ir­rigation development, crop-yield and crop-weather models, integrated pest management, integrated nutrient manage­ment, watershed management, agrometeorological services, and more recently, precision farming (Patil et al., 2002). Remote sensing contributes to the information needs of pre­cision agriculture (PA) in the assessment of soil and crop conditions using multispectral imagery (Barnes and Floor, 1996).
       Remote sensing is currently not widely applied in most developing countries because of timeliness, limited accessi-