How will access to data boost agricultural productivity?

The Global Open Data for Agriculture (GODAN) and the Open Data Charter have launched a guide for governments to open agricultural data
calendar icon 17 October 2018
clock icon 4 minute read

Launched 16th October on World Food Day, the Open Up Guide for Agriculture aims to help governments to prioritise and publish relevant datasets for agricultural development.

GODAN supports the proactive sharing of open data to make information about agriculture and nutrition available, accessible, and usable to help governments, businesses, other organisations and individuals make better decisions to achieve food security worldwide. Open data is data that anyone can access, use or share. GODAN is a member of the Open Data Charter, a collaboration between governments and organisations working to open up data based on a shared set of Principles.

GODAN Executive Director Andre Laperriere said: “The Open Up Guide for Agriculture is something that our partners have been asking us for; a framework to help governments prioritise agricultural datasets to open along with examples of how open government data is improving agricultural production and farmer livelihood worldwide. The guide makes it easier for governments to take that step to open datasets responsibly, and see that impact as soon as possible.”

According to a statement released by the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations for World Food Day, after a period of decline, world hunger is on the rise again. The world today is facing a major food security challenge. As the world’s population grows to around 10 billion by 2050, the global agriculture system is under pressure to provide sufficient nutritious food to meet the demand. Achieving food security through sustainable agriculture in the next 15 years is a global priority for the United Nations, as enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals. This can only be achieved by sustainably increasing agricultural productivity, while creating more resilient food production systems, and shaping more accessible and equitable markets.

Making agriculture data open facilitates the development of solutions to food security in ways that would otherwise be expensive, time intensive or impossible. It enables more efficient and effective decision making by stakeholders at all levels, it fosters innovation that everyone can benefit from, and drives organisational and sector change through transparency in food production chains.

Governments can play a pivotal role by publishing relevant datasets and making sure they are ready for reuse. Government open data feeds the pool of information that can be used to develop information services and decision making tools for stakeholders in the agricultural value chain.

The Open Up Guide for Agriculture provides guidance on the key elements of opening datasets in agriculture. It focuses on three elements, why open data is important, what data should be opened based on policy perspectives, and what elements should make up a strategy.

The guide was created for policymakers and civil society who want to inform decision makers on open data and agriculture, and understand how open data can make a difference for the agricultural sector and food security. It can be used by those who want to start developing an open data strategy for agricultural transformation in their country or region.

GODAN is a rapidly growing group, currently with over 800 partners from national governments, non-governmental, international and private sector organisations, who have committed to a joint Statement of Purpose.

Click here for the full guide on opening up data in agriculture

Ryan Johnson

Editor at The Poultry Site

Ryan worked in conservation from 2008 to 2017, during which time he operated a rainbow trout hatchery and helped to maintain public and protected green spaces in Canada for the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. As editor of The Poultry Site, he now writes about challenges and opportunities in agriculture across the globe.

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