Brussels Briefing "Data: the next revolution for agriculture in ACP countries?"
On Open Data Day (Saturday 21 February) people around the world used open public data to write applications, liberate data, create visualizations and publish analyses and encouraged the adoption open data policies by the world's local, regional and national governments. In the lead up to it, CTA organised a number of activities which focused on the data revolution in agriculture. On Wednesday 18 February a 'Brussels Briefing' on the subject of 'the next revolution for agriculture in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries' was held which was of interest to the GODAN partner network. The programme included invited speakers from government, sector representatives and researchers who shared their thoughts on the future of data use in ACP countries.
Brief outline of Brussels Briefing: The first panel discussion reviewed the key challenges and opportunities for agricultural data relevant to ACP countries to be revolutionised, and the lessons that have been learnt from various information systems. The second panel looked at examples and successes related to agricultural development data, and how those could be expanded, upscaled and replicated. One potential driver of success was raised by Theo de Jager from the PanAfrican Farmers Organisation. He shared his thoughts on how African farmers can tap into the huge potential of ICTs and open data specifically. He suggested that we first need to strengthen farmers organisations, as individuals struggle to negotiate the value of the data they produce every day in the field. Herman uit de Bosch, executive director of Fairmatch Support, demonstrated the increased benefit of data for use in value chains in Africa. A clear message from the meeting was that we should be careful not to bypass relevant stakeholders as technology is developed, and that institutional support for them (by farmers organisations and others) will be crucial so they can tap into the huge potential of open data. An overview of the program can be found on the Brussels Briefings page, including the presentations and the webstream of the actual event. On the CTA website more information can be found on the Data Revolution for Agriculture page. See also the Storify article below that was generated by CTA. As members of GODAN, CTA and Wageningen UR have created a working paper on 'Open Data and Smallholder Food and Nutritional Security'. This paper which was originally presented at the GODAN partner meeting in Wageningen as a draft gives an overview of the current status of open data use and contains a brief outlook to future use of open data for smallholders.