Data Governance in Agriculture: Including Farmers

There is no doubt that the proliferation of data-driven technology in agriculture has increased production and productivity: Reducing risk, improving resilience in farming, and helping farmers in decision making. Digital Agriculture (DA) is expected to continue to make agricultural value chains more efficient, while helping communities adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change and enabling a more  efficient use of natural resources.

However, lack of inclusiveness remains an ongoing concern. Farmers in general, and smallholder farmers in particular, feel that they are not the ones who are harnessing the benefits of digital technologies, despite being key actors within agricultural value chains. In turn, these feelings of exclusion discourage farming communities from fully adopting digitization and the benefits that accompany it.

In addition to feeling excluded - and occasionally being unaware of the potential benefits of digital farming - farmers have concerns about who controls the data they produce. There is worry around privacy and individual data rights, as well as a desire for more transparency and trust.

To address these challenges, ForAgro GFAR, CoProFam GODAN and AgGateway have started an action on Inclusive Digital Transformation of Agriculture.

13 October at 15h30 Central European Time


“Putting farmers at the center of a sustainable and equitable digital transformation of agriculture” is the core objective of a collective action on Inclusive Digital Transformation of Agriculture. The Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR), the Forum of the Americas for Agricultural Research and Technology Development (FORAGRO),  the Confederation of Family Producers Organizations of the Expanded Mercosur (COPROFAM), Global Open Data for Agricultura and Nutrition (GODAN) and Ag Gateway are seeking to address data governance concerns and challenges facing farmers in the Carribean and Latin American (LAC) region.

GODAN is hosting a webinar on Wednesday 13 October at 15h30 Central European Time as part of this action.

Legal experts Foteini Zampati and Caroline Muchiri will discuss ethical and legal digital agriculture challenges faced by farmers, sharing best practices and examples to illustrate and explore how farmers can actively participate in more equitable data sharing. They will be joined by two farming representatives from Kenya and Latin America, to consider the following questions:

  • Who owns data?
  • Who is entitled to the value of the data?
  • How will that data be used or potentially shared? 
  • What about data protection? what do we mean by the farmers’ rights to data?
  • What is the state of recognition of these rights in national and international level?
  • What is the role of GDPR and legislation in general in the agricultural sector?
  • How should these rights be implemented in local and international laws, guidelines and policies and how can they be protected?
  • What should be done to include farmers in the mechanisms of data (collection, evaluation, transmission, use)?