The Role of Local Agricultural Research and Extension Services

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As pointed out above, negative climate-variability impacts could be reduced by following adaptation options, which can be obtained from crop-model simulations combined with climate scenarios. The usefulness of such simulation tools has been proved in manifold papers, usually produced in Universities or similar centres. However, despite of the considerable public concern about climate change, European stakeholders and farmers are not yet using these scientific results for agricultural decision-making. Actually, the most reliable climate-change mitigation options depend on each specific situation.

While experts and researchers at high-level centres in Europe and other places ("developers") have established significant Know-How and produced relevant of the above-cited tools for such climate-impacts studies; practical experts at local agricultural-research or extension centres as well as agricultural advisers ("users"), those who should apply these tools for agricultural decision-making, are often not aware about the available tools or their access to such tools is quite limited due to several reasons, as financial issues or lack of user-friendly design of tools.

A connection is needed between the "developers" and "users", to improve decision making by better implementing the climate and crop-growth simulation model tools. Furthermore, feedback from low end-users to the tool-provider researchers is a prerequisite for improving these tools for their practical use e.g. by providing background information, setting up the actual input data needs, fitting time and spatial scales as required by specific applications and other similar issues.

In that context AGRIDEMA, a Specific Support Action (SSA), has been funded by the EU Sixth Framework Program from January 2005 to June 2007. The SSA aims to promote a research network, linking European modelling tool-providers and developers with the potential users of their research results (Utset et al., 2007a). AGRIDEMA general objective is to establish initial contacts and to conduct primary collaborations between "developers" and potential "users", basically researchers and experts at agricultural services.

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