20 years of ASTI: The go-to source for data and analyses on agricultural research in developing countries
This year marks the 20th anniversary of ASTI, which provides open-source data, analyses, and outreach around agricultural research systems in developing countries around the world.
Established by CGIAR, ASTI was initially led by IFPRI and the former International Service for International Agricultural Research (ISNAR). In the program’s early days, the focus was on developing key indicators and statistical methods. Data collection was a daunting task, as internet and email access were very limited in many developing countries. Often, the only way to get information was to send (and resend) letters, faxes, and telexes, and to visit (and revisit) research institutes in person. Then came the work of manually entering the data into computer files.
Expanding internet access and other technological advancements paved the way for ASTI to make its data freely available online—becoming one of CGIAR’s first open-access data sources. With regular email communication becoming the norm and supplementing in-person meetings, ASTI began building relationships with a broadening network of national and regional partners.