Make all agriculture and nutrition data available: says GODAN

By Emma Jane Cash

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Food and agriculture organization

A call for open and accessible data will be made at the Global Forum of Innovation in Agriculture (GFIA) next week, by Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN).

The event will be held in Utrecht, The Netherlands, next week (9-10 May).

GODAN say that through the partnership they seek to “demonstrate the business case and return on investment for private sector organisations through opening data on agriculture and nutrition, for better business management, innovation, profitability and social good”.

GODAN was launched in 2013 by the UK and US governments to ensure open data to scientifically combat world hunger and food security.

According to the group, the solution to world food security lies within existing, but often unavailable data about the agriculture and nutrition industries.

Is open innovation the way forward?

Open data and open innovation have already started to make appearances in the agricultural and industries, producing success stories that GODAN will share at the forum.

Writing for AgFunderNews​, Joseph Byrum, senior R&D and marketing executive in life sciences, development, innovation and delivery at Syngenta, explains that due to the lack of open data agriculture has been playing “technological catch-up”​.

However, businesses are now seeing the benefits to sharing problems online to ask for solutions.

“Open innovation, also known as crowdsourcing, is a way of driving new thinking by posting business problems online to engage a broad community to develop an effective solution,” ​Byrum writes.

“Opening doors to the best and brightest, regardless of where they live, is a way to access this talen that would not be possible with traditional hiring methods”.

Last year, Syngenta created the Syngenta Crop Challenge where 500 participants helped with a business problem the company had posted online.

In return, Syngenta offered monetary awards to the top entries that proved useful.

Similarly, The Open Data Institute - a non-profit based in the UK - train, nurture and collaborate with individuals around the world to promote innovation through open data, and The Global Yield Gap Atlas – an international project set up by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Wageningen University and Research Centre – provides detailed information on weather, cropping systems and soils through open data.

André Laperrière, executive director of GODAN, said: “Large amounts of data are collected and generated by governments to develop and monitor policies and stimulate developments. By publishing this data as open data and stimulating the use and uptake by the sector, we can improve different areas,”

“Empowering farmers, optimising agricultural practice, stimulating rural finance, facilitating the agri-value chain, enforcing policies and promoting government transparency and efficiency”.

GFIA comes to Europe


GFIA was launched in 2014 by the government of Abu Dhabi, UAE, and seeks to leverage partnerships with the world’s powerful organisations including the Food and Agriculture Organisation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the World Bank.

It is now an annual event, held in Abu Dhabi.

The European edition​ of the forum will include talks from GODAN, Bayer AG, Thought for Food Foundation, Wageningen University, among others.

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