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Data Revolution for Agriculture

Fri, 12/08/2017 - 10:11

New technologies are leading to an exponential
increase in the volume and types of available
data, offering possibilities and innovative
solutions for all global societies. This represents
an opportunity – for instance to target tailored
interventions to a specific group – as well a
challenge, particularly in terms of privacy rights
and potential abuse. But it is not just a matter of
creating more data; it is about making the best
use of up-to-date and readily accessible data.
Climate change and population growth are
having major impacts on agriculture and food
security. Rural communities who are heavily
reliant on agriculture as a critical source of
livelihoods and employment are expected to
suffer the most from these stress factors. The use
of reliable, timely and accessible agricultural and
nutritionally relevant data can help in coping
with these challenges.
In terms of agriculture and open data, information
is a key element for achieving food security and
improved nutrition.
Although in recent years, open data has been
steadily climbing up the global agenda and the
amount of data available is constantly increasing
(for example, through the use of satellite imagery
and mobile technology), there are still challenges
constraining open agricultural data in African,
Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. This often
results in inaccurate, outdated, incomplete or
inaccessible data due, for instance, to costs related
to statistical surveys, weak capacities, methodologies
and tools and insufficient involvement of some key
agriculture and rural development actors.
Providing smallholder farmers with accessible
and accurate data can translate into an increase
in agricultural productivity and improved
nutrition. However, the real challenge lies in
ensuring that access to quality data is widely
available and linked to local solutions for
improving food security and nutrition.
The main objective of this publication is to
demonstrate the impact and the use of open
data for agriculture by showcasing
applications, specific trends, approaches, case
studies and highlighting the main challenges in
this area. When promoting the use of open
data in agriculture and rural development, it
is important to adapt a driven, inclusive process
allowing the full engagement of local
communities and the creation of new
businesses for a broad range of stakeholders.
This publication has been produced jointly by
the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural
Cooperation (CTA) and the Global Open Data
for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) with
contributions from the Pan African Farmers’
Organization. It encompasses a series of studies,
reports, and background documents previously
produced by CTA on the potential impact and
use of agricultural open-data policies and
practices across the ACP region.
This paper highlights two key areas:

- Global initiatives and partnerships to improve
data collection and use

- Use of open, big data in agriculture as a
complementary for poverty reduction.

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