Farmers' Rights on Data and Ownership Issues: Discussions with the CTDO

GODAN was invited to visit the Community Technology Development Organisation (CTDO) in Harare on the November 8 to discuss the subject of Open Data, the potential benefits and challenges of its use in agriculture and nutrition, to address ownership issues and to inform and empower more farmers through collaboration with GODAN.

The CTDO is an NGO formed in 1993 in response to the challenges facing poor rural communities and households in Zimbabwe. It now operates under four sector-specific programmes: Food Security and Livelihoods, Agricultural Biodiversity, Environment and Climate Change, Policy and Advocacy.


The CTDO mentioned that, over the past 20 years, data has been harvested and aggregated at District level via a system of interviews conducted with farmers and reporting. Unfortunately, however, the analysis is rarely sent back to farmers, so there is a clear need to raise awareness and empower farmers. The Organisation enthusiastically welcomed GODANs aims to advocate and promote Open Data policy, and to provide tools and best practices for making agricultural and nutritional data available, accessible and usable.

The need to implement and apply the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, specifically on farmers’ rights (as mentioned in the article 9 of the treaty: IP rights, community knowledge) was acknowledged as being of particular importance.

There were also discussions with farmers about challenges they are facing in their everyday work at field level. Dorothy Chiota mentioned that the areas of main concern to farmers are climate change, lack of information about such things as local crops and pricing. She underlined the need for more training.