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I would like to extend you a very warm welcome to RuralCat, the rural and agrifood world's virtual community, an innovative project launched by the Government of Catalonia and a pioneering initiative in Spain that heralds a new concept in Internet-based communication and which particularly targets the development of the farming, agrifood and rural sector.
The RuralCat portal is the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Food's basic Internet-based knowledge transfer tool for conveying information on the availability of technological services, training, technology transfer and advisory services for farmers, livestock breeders, the agrifood industry and their associations and organisations.
RuralCat seeks to take the new technologies to the rural world and facilitate the rural population's access to information, training and useful services for the sector in particular, and for the rural world in general.
This is a collaborative experiment, open to all professionals and individuals associated with the Ministry's sphere of jurisdiction, that is intended to help people living in the rural world gain maximum benefit from access to a wealth of information, experience and tools related to their different areas of activity.
In this respect, RuralCat seeks to consolidate its role as a virtual community for the agrifood and rural world, providing a place where different groups of people associated with the sector can generate relationships and exchanges; benefit from services, news and technical information; gain access to innovation, technology transfer and new technologies, and use distance training and advisory services. RuralCat also aspires to be a window, within Internet, through which the general public can discover more about the rural world and the agrifood sector.
In this new stage, the new Government aims to increase the visibility of this virtual meeting and information-sharing point so that, together with the Ministry's institutional website, it can become a reference point for the sector and a tool for progress, helping it to become stronger and better equipped to face the challenges of the future.
Meritxell Serret i Aleu
Minister of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Food.
RuralCat is a new concept of Internet-based communication. It combines a number of different features: an information portal, a website with services conceived for Catalonia's rural and agrifood sector and a system for channelling through Internet both the formal training provided by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Food and lifelong learning programmes.
In addition, RuralCat users also have access to powerful communication tools: e-mail, forums, etc.
However, above all, RuralCat seeks to be a virtual community. This term is understood as groups of people with common interests (farmers, livestock breeders, people working in the agrifood industry, students, consultancy professionals, etc.) who can share information and documentation and foster relationships, using the communication tools with complete independence within the work group.
Thus, a person who connects to RuralCat, instead of being a passive recipient of information, is now an active participant, because the communities also contribute to creating information. After all, those who know most about farming, livestock breeding and food production in Catalonia are precisely those who earn a living from it.
In this context, RuralCat can also be customized to suit users' interests. Thus, the weather data obtained when they log on are not the general forecasts for Catalonia, but specific forecasts for their region, with useful insights for farming activities.
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