In September 2016, the first Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) summit took place in New York. And in February 2017, the third international workshop on impacts with open data in agriculture and nutrition was held in The Hague, the Netherlands. Both events showed progress made to provide better access to accurate, timely information for policy-makers, farmers and private sector to shape a more sustainable agriculture future.
At the third international workshop on the impact of open data for agriculture a new action agenda was discussed by a mix of organisations. They concluded that more focus is required on benefits for the less favoured actors, that open data should become a vehicle for multi-stakeholder collaborations, and that assessment of data driven organisational change is required. Further actions to achieve impact were also discussed in relation to business innovation and capacity building.
The Kenya government initiated the Open Data Initiative in 2011 on the idea that Kenya's information is a national asset. Agriculture is one of the main pillars, because food security and economic development can only move forward if decisions on agriculture are evidence-based. To be successful, data needs to be available, accurate, and open for all.
Getting open data benefits to farmers will be crucial if the move towards open access is to have any real impact. There is a lot potential, but lack of reliable and contextualised data is currently working against smallholder farmers.
Demand is growing for gender data and targeted solutions for challenges unique to women, men, girls or boys. In Kenya, a community gathers and discusses gender citizen-generated data, which are uploaded to mobile phones and distributed to women leaders.
By Zara Rahman and Lindsay Ferris
There is much potential for open data to positively affect the future of agriculture. But without a proactive, responsible approach, there is a very real risk of these changes benefiting only the most powerful actors within the sector.
By Charlotte Ørnemark
With women making up 60-80 percent of farmers in non-industrial countries and with up to 70 percent of agricultural labour in some countries coming from women, the role of open data will never transform the global response to hunger if women are by-passed in our global efforts to open data.
By Ken Lohento
Innovators, programmers, and application developers are at the forefront of a movement that combines big data, open data, and the internet of things to create new marketable products and services for the agricultural sector.