Data revolution for agriculture: a week of activities

Laureene Reeves Ndagire

In the lead up to Open Data Day on Saturday, 21 February, CTA had a number of activities focusing on the data revolution for agriculture.


We finalised our agreement to support the participation of ACP countries in the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiative. This G8-originated group has more than 100 members working to benefit agriculture through opening government data and using global open datasets for the benefit of smallholder farmers. We are contributing to support the participation of farmers’ organisations, open-data developers and policy-makers in a series of open-data events. The first of these will be the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture (GFIA) in March.


The latest copy of ICT Update came off the presses, with stories ranging from nutritionists arguing for the need for better data to fisheries organisations explaining how they see mobile-phone applications improving fish-catch data. One of the authors of the Global Nutrition Report argues that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) must have realistic budgets for the collection of nutrition data. The head of the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism talks of their work with the mFisheries app and the possibility of using open data to improve fish-catch data in policy-making.


The Brussels Development Briefing brought together a diversity of perspectives covering the massive opportunities and challenges that a rapid growth in data brings to agriculture. Discussions in the Briefing were web-streamed across the ACP and we are making a special effort to reach ACP media and youth through social media with the help of our team of interns.


The results of research commissioned by CTA on the impact of open data on smallholders were published on Thursday. This work looks at current initiatives using open-data sources such as satellite data for the benefit of smallholders in the ACP. It surveys open data sets across the private and public sectors and assesses their potential impact on smallholder farming.

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We published and promoted the findings of a Caribbean study on open-data awareness, availability and use. This was conducted in association with identifying open-data sources for use in the hackathon we held last year at the Caribbean Week of Agriculture. The hackathon provided the chance for young programmers to work with farmers to develop mobile applications for agriculture.


21 February was Open data Day and we tried to finish an application using open data to link the CTA document collection to FAO’s Agrovoc system for keywords and geocodes system for places to help people navigate through our collection of nearly 50,000 documents online. All over the world, programmers will be using open data to solve community problems, in particular working with public and government data.

Follow the events during the week with #opendata and @CTAflash.