Wednesday June 14, 2017

Participate in Upcoming E-Agriculture Forums: ICTs and the AgPack for Open Data in Agriculture and Nutrition June 19th-July 21st

Starting June 19th - July 14th the e-Agriculture platform is hosting a forum on ICTs and Open Data in Agriculture and Nutrition.  This discussion will explore how information communication technologies (ICTs) can be used to facilitate the fair use of open data in agriculture and nutrition by farmers in general and especially by the more vulnerable among them such as family farmers, rural women and the youth engaged in farming as a livelihood.  

As a lively extension of this discussion, e-Agriculture will be hosting an additional forum on the Agriculture Open Data Package from July 10th-21st.  Participants are invited to share their experiences, needs and views on government open data supporting their agricultural sector. Which data sets do you consider important, what, challenges need to be overcome and what lessons to be learned.  Results and feedback from the AgPack discussions will be synthesized and used to bring the AgPack from its beta to alpha version. The discussion will also be shared at the African Open Data Conference in Accra. The AgPAck is part of the part of the ODC open up guides.

Join us!  Both forums are open to individuals interested in the topics, if you wish to participate you must first create an account here.  Once registered, you can find the desired discussion here. 


Monday May 29, 2017

Capacity Building Webinar with the AgPack

 Photo: Opening presentation by Suchith Anand.  


 On May 16, 2017, GODAN Action hosted the capacity development webinar on the Agriculture Open Data Package or AgPack with a group of 36 people.   After introducing the re-use potential of public data for all actors in the agricultural value chain, we jumped right into the AgPack’s 6 policy perspectives of empowering farmers, optimizing agricultural practice, stimulating rural finance, facilitating the rural value chain, enforcing policies and government transparency and efficiency.  

 Examples and use cases of governments putting open data in action to realize policy objectives were provided to contextualize the policy perspectives.

  • The first example provided was AgMarknet portal commissioned by the federal government of India to support legislation globalizing the Indian market for agricultural products. By disseminating price and market information via a Portal, an App and an SMS service farmer farmers are more free to choose where to sell their produce at what price resulting in better prices for the farmer at the cost of the middleman.

  • The second example we examined was the Agrimatie portal commissioned by the Dutch government. Agrimatie shares data on the agricultural value chain in the Netherlands in an easy to understand and accessible way, while the securing privacy of the individual farmers in the agricultural survey data.  

  • The third example was the government of Burkina Faso’s CARTEAU.  The initiative invites other organisations (ministries, NGO’s, companies) to share their hydrological data on the CARTEAU open data portal to the benefit of all, increasing the efficiency of use of the data and optimizing resources.

After these examples the AgPack’s heat map was introduced. The heat map links the policies perspectives as introduced earlier to 14 key data categories for agriculture, while indicating the potential impacts of each data category in the different policy areas with a shade of green. The intensity of the shade depends on the different use cases that are formulated with the data in relation to the policy perspective.  These use cases are indicated briefly in the detailed description of the key different data categories, explaining how the key data categories can be used by farmers and other value chain actors when published as open data and made accessible in an appropriate way. Also an indication of the ease or difficulty to collect and publish the data in the description of a data category is expressed under the heading data readiness. Each description is concluded with references to real world examples and provides technical resources related to the key data categories.

The webinar was concluded by summarizing the section on implementation. The AgPack provides references to international key implementation resources organised around the themes:1 how to address readiness; 2 local needs and opportunities; 3 how to publish open data responsibly and 4 where to link to the global ecosystem.  After the webinar we opened the floor for questions.

The first respondent asked whether crop production data could also empower farmers.  We discussed the need to include this perspective in the data. In principle the answer is yes, if farmers have access to knowledge they are empowered to make their own decisions.

The second responded asked if there is a specific set of parameters to look for to evaluate if a country is ready to benefit from open data?  The AgPack sets no parameters as such. Depending on the contex impact can be realized in different ways and at different technology levels. Examples exist of paper based data sharing realizing the impact a country can achieve with open data in different settings.  For example if we look at a country’s technological infrastructure, a country that is more mobile oriented will realize their impacts very differently than a more internet oriented country.  Every country can be ready as long as they understand how their ecosystem works.  

The last respondent asked what are the criteria that decided the shades of impact on the AgPack’s heatmap linking the key data categories to policy perspectives.  The shading of each box was abstracted from the more detailed data category information on potential or actual use-cases involving different actors and their expected impacts.  By organizing the impact link between data and policy in a shaded table, policymakers are provided with a quick navigational tool to start a meaningful open data discussion, or where to start looking to realize impact in a certain policy area.  The shades are more a kind of expert judgement rather than hard core science.

 All of the above is provided in full, online at  You can watch the webinar recording online and if you have any general feedback please contact or for feedback specific to the webinar you can take the webinar survey.


Tuesday December 6, 2016

Get ready for the Open Data Charter’s AgPack launch at OGP Summit 


The AgPack team is gearing up for the Open Government Partnership Summit and is excited to present the Open Data Charter’s Agriculture Open Data Package BETA Version this Thursday, December 8th.  For a quick preview of what’s to come, check out our 

 summarizing what you can expect to find in the Agriculture Open Data Package BETA Version.  



Harvesting rice at CIAT's headquarters in Colombia. Photo Credit to Neil Palmer (CIAT).


GODAN’s very own Andre Laperriere will be speaking at the panel session ‘Open Data Charter: Empowering people to open governments’ about the work we have done and the next steps for the AgPack. Also keep an eye out for our team members Fiona Smith, Andre Jellema, Ana Brandusescu, Ruthie Musker, and Martin Parr who will be around to discuss the AgPack. You can find them on Twitter: 

You can also drop them a line at

We look forward to speaking with policymakers, agricultural specialists, and open data experts on open data for agriculture. We welcome your feedback on the AgPack over the next few days, and can’t wait to see you all there!




Photo Credit: Jonathan van Genus

Monday November 7, 2016

The challenge of getting the data: Results of the IODC 2016:

On Friday October 7th we held a breakout session at the 4th International Open Data Conference in Madrid. We asked open data experts what it takes to get from identifying the open data need to realizing impact.

Focussing on land use and crop production data the first issue that emerged was the challenge of quality data collection, a prerequisite for both use and reuse. For example, it was indicated that ground staff are often underpaid to do the data collection in the field, hence not motivated to collect data outside of urban centres. The varying quality of data between countries also make is it difficult for UN organisations to build accurate and consistent global data sets or to make comparisons between countries. Various solutions to improve data collection for agriculture were given.

  1. The usage of smart digital storage devices.

  2. The harmonisation of data collection policies among international institutions, governments and NGOs, perhaps by promoting existing standards and vocabularies, to avoid duplicating efforts. 

  3. The usage of advanced technologies like remote sensing or drones to cover data collection gaps. One participant highlighted the importance of lower cost technological solutions, such as drones, to combat the expenses of ground truthing remotely sensed data.

  4. Partnerships could be formed with NGOs and the private sector sharing data to fill the data collection gaps. 


To further drill down to the much desired impact we started to discuss possible cases for re-using the data. Focussing on farmers needs it became clear that there was a need to know what other farmers and regions are growing to make informed decisions on decision making on what to plant in order to gain a competitive advantage. Other sources of information needed to make informed crop selection decisions were were  information on inputs such as seeds or agrochemicals, but also  climate change mitigation.

Overall, there was clear interest in the agricultural open data package. For instance, one participant from Mexico noted that agrarian registry was much more popular from the dataportal of mexico for downloading than the import and export price data and he had a keen interest in stimulating the usage of the data already in the portal. Also other participants were curious on how they could use the agricultural open data package to motivate their governments to publish open data for the benefit of the agricultural sector--in order to benefit intermediaries such as start-ups providing tech solutions to small holder farmers.

The results from the GODAN Summit and IODC will be used in the further development of the Agriculture Open Data Package which will be launched at OGP 7,8,9 December 2016 in Paris

Monday October 3, 2016

Thank you again for all the contributions to the Agriculture Open Data Package at the GODAN Summit 2016 !  We have processed your input and would like to share some of the results. Click here for more information on how to get involved.

During the morning session on 15th September, we explained the process and the key considerations used for developing the Agricultural Open Data Package.  We also consulted the audience on key dataset categories for agriculture. Using a short quiz we invited our attendees to select 3-7 priority datasets for the Agriculture Open Data Package.

The top 5 data categories selected by a total of 34 respondents were Geospatial Base data (70%), Meteorological Data (59%), Research Data (55%), Market and Price Data (52%) and Agronomic Data (41%). Compared to our online consultation in June , we see similar priorities with a slightly different ordering. In the figure below combined both sets of results to get to a total of 63 respondents.


Figure 1: Percentage of respondents indicating a data category as being key for the Agricultural Open Data Package (results from public consultation and GODAN Summit session participants pooled (63 respondents).


In the afternoon workshop we dug deeper with the objective of pinpointing the key datasets for the agricultural sector. The session consisted of 3 rounds.

  • In the first round, participants were provided with a number of pre-selected data categories and examples of data sets. The participants were asked to value the importance of the datasets describing concrete use cases for the different end users in the agricultural sector.

  • In the second round, we asked participants to discuss how easy or difficult it would be for governments to publish these different datasets, considering difficulty to collect, processing, sensitivities such as privacy implications

  • In the third round, participants were asked to rank the data sets in order of priority based on the potential impact (the use) and the ease of publication of the data.


The evaluation was very challenging to complete because of the many datasets and their complexity. In general there was a feeling that most of the datasets (over 50) are very important for agriculture, confirming the challenge of getting to a shortlist of key datasets for the agriculture open data package.


It was also observed that the selection of key datasets depend on the perspective taken.  As a result, we will develop a number of different policy perspectives to focus  on, for example, optimizing agricultural practice or supporting agricultural finance data.


We also concluded that publishing data is often not the most challenging issue, instead we see more difficulties arise when attempting to get the data to a point of high quality and accuracy.  The example of validating land use patterns or clarifying traditional land ownership rights demonstrated the enormous challenges we face.


During the workshop many standards and standard developing institutions have been shared as an addition to the package. With all of this in mind, we move onto IODC to further develop the Agriculture Open Data Package with the wider open data community focussing on implementation strategies.



Figure 2:  A plot of the publishability and potential impact of key data sets, color-coded by data category.  This figure is a compilation of the results of 5 workshop tables from the GODAN Summit 2016.  Note that some data sets appear more than once because they were evaluated by more than one table.



Tuesday September 6, 2016

The Agriculture Sector Package is a policy resource that will provide a roadmap for international Open Data Charter supporters who are considering how to respond to sector challenges with open data. For the purposes of this package, we will focus on a priority set of problems in agriculture, which have been informed by existing global targets established around sustainable agriculture production systems.

How to get involved:

As populations continue to grow and climate change threatens agricultural productivity, achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal of global food security is proving to be a challenging task. Open data can play an integral role in achieving global food security through enabling better decision making, transparency and innovation. 

That’s why the International Open Data Charter (ODC) in conjunction with the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiative, the Open Data Institute (ODI) and Open Data for Development (OD4D) network are developing a domain specific open data implementation guide for the agriculture sector.

The ODC sets out six core principles for governments to commit to moving towards in order to make data ‘open by default’. As part of realizing this goal, ODC has started the initiative of creating open data sector packages, each package developed by data users and publishers and tailored to the needs of the sector. 

The Agriculture Sector Package is intended to be a resource for policy and decision makers to put open data into practice. The package aims to identify key datasets and categories based on the following criteria:

  1. The identified datasets contribute to solving three main challenges for global food security: sustainably increasing agricultural productivity, creating more resilient food production systems and creating more accessible and equitable markets.
  2. Opening the identified datasets should be actionable for national and regional governments leading to undisputed and tangible results.
  3. Scalability – the first version of this resource will only contain a small number of datasets within a clear scope rather than trying to address the agricultural sector in all its dimensions.

In order to maximise relevance, acceptance and applicability of the resource, this package will be developed using an open participative process.  Feedback from this consultation will be incorporated and discussed during a stakeholders’ workshop at the upcoming GODAN Summit being held on 15–16 September 2016 in New York. 
Furthermore, a discussion on data standards in relation to the agricultural key datasets and categories will take place at the IODC conference on 6–7 October 2016 in Madrid. 
The resulting Agriculture Sector Package will then be tabled for discussion with policy and decision makers at the OGP Global Summit on 7–9 December in Paris, alongside two other Open Data Charter Sector Packages (anti-corruption and climate change).

After the launch the Agriculture Sector Package will be kept up-to-date by GODAN, OD4D and ODI. 
For further engagement in the development of the Open Data Charter Sector Package please see the Agriculture Sector Package Working Group.

For further enquires please contact