The GODAN Secretariat attended the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (GFIA) in Abu Dhabi (16-17 February). It was a great opportunity for GODAN to discuss innovation in food security with open data as the way forward. Furthermore, it was a space to share open data for agriculture and nutrition experiences with the region, and promote the GODAN partnership, public and private alike.
The GFIA Abu Dhabi Farmers’ Services Centre pavillion. Photo credit: Karl Jeffs
GODAN’s Andre Laperriere’s keynote address – Innovate together: Working towards a food secure future with open data – discussed the critical importance of the use of open data as a tool to overcome food security challenges and to support the Sustainable Development Goals towards effective and lasting global food security solutions.
Andre Laperriere (GODAN) giving key note speech. Photo credit: Karl Jeffs
Mr Laperriere highlighted the role of GODAN partners – governments, universities, research institutions, CEOs, CSOs – all united by the notion of being stronger and more efficient by innovating and working together, than by working alone. The GODAN network works together with open data for quality food to create a quality world. Collaborative efforts with open data mean business.
“And open data means economic growth and better innovation for food security,” stated Mr Laperriere.
Innovations for food security
Professor de Souza, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), introduced “honey bee packs” (bees tagged with micro-sensors) as a new innovation to help secure the future of food by tagging and tracking bees to identify and record bee movements in and around bee hives.
“Over the last fifty years we have been in a steady decline in the number of pollinators and yet 30 percent of everything we produce depend on pollinators.”
He noted that a problem with dealing with such critical issues is that “we compete for small discoveries instead of collaborating to increase and share knowledge.” Professor de Souza aptly presented opportunities through innovations, and existing challenges potentially tackled by institutional change.
Marc Van Ameringen, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), presented the urgency of managing malnutrition, through better data and adoption of a fully integrated food system approach, placing technology and data at the heart of innovation.
“Relevant, timely, accurate information is the essence of data and precision agriculture.”
Mr Laperriere stressed the importance of precision agriculture as timely data delivery to users.
The panel session also highlighted the game changers in agricultural innovation: robotics, drones, sensors, satellites, all at the heart of data and data-driven agriculture.
Rebooting Agriculture session panelists: Susana Crespo (Esri), Dr Mark Moore (AGCO Ltd Africa and Middle East), Andre Laperriere (GODAN), and Melissa Tilney (AgFunder). Photo credit: Ana Brandusescu
Mark Moore emphasised that “agriculture is very local. We have to integrate local knowledge into these systems to implement precision farming.” The panelists noted the importance of giving farmers a voice in these conversations, to ensure better agtech adoption.
This includes being more product specific to connect to communities on the ground. As we shift focus of supply data to demand data, this requires new partnerships. The power of innovation comes from collaboration.
Given the need for new collaboration efforts, GODAN seeked representation and knowledge from the region in the GODAN partnership.
As a result we have forged new partnerships with ADFSC (Abu Dhabi Farmers’ Services Centre), GPC Group, DzSmartFarm, and Alesca Life Technologies.
To learn more about GODAN at GFIA, watch Mr Laperriere’s recap of the first day’s highlights and events.
Also, read our latest piece on Open Data for Agricultural Challenges in the Middle East.
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