Now, the latest farming and production info is available to the rice industry online. This is the world's first digital extension service for the rice industry. Called the Rice Knowledge Bank, the website was launched at the International Rice Congress in Beijing on September 18. It is developed by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and features the institute's 42 years of training, educational and research information allowing the data to be shared, searched and used in any part of the world that has basic Internet connectivity.
The Knowledge Bank is aimed at plugging the "yawning gap between rice research and impact, especially for the world's millions of poor rice farmers". Taking the very latest and best ideas from the private sector's work in the area, the website extends free digital extension services to those who provide information and support for rice farmers - such as nongovernmental organisations (NGOs). It is also the first comprehensive, digital rice-production library containing an ever-increasing wealth of latest information on research on rice. For remote areas - such as rice villages in developing countries - where the Internet is not easily accessible, the Knowledge Bank is built to run from CD-ROMs and can be printed using a concept known as single-source publishing. Its content has been classified into five categories.