New initiative enables engagement with open data in agriculture and nutrition

Published on 3 August 2016

As the world’s population grows, global demand for food is predicted to nearly double. The number of people at risk of hunger in the developing world is estimated to grow to more than a billion people by 2050. New data-driven solutions in agriculture and nutrition are increasingly being seen as a way to tackle this challenge.

Supporting global efforts to make agricultural and nutritional data available

The Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiative seeks to support global efforts to make agricultural and nutritional relevant data available, accessible, and usable worldwide. The three and a half year initiative funded by the UK Department for International Development will focus on building high-level policy support for open data in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors.

GODAN encourages collaboration and cooperation among existing agriculture and open data activities, and brings together stakeholders to solve global challenges.

Martin Parr, Programme Manager at GODAN, states:

“GODAN is about impact. It’s about finding the open data practices that work and using them to advocate for more open data in agriculture and nutrition. We’re using a data revolution to drive innovation in agriculture and nutrition, which ultimately means improved livelihoods for farmers, especially those in the developing world, and the ability for more people to feed themselves.”

IDS will be leading the research uptake component of the project. Kelly Shephard, Head of IDS’ Open Knowledge and Digitial Services Unit said:

“IDS is proud to be part of the GODAN Action team that brings together agriculture and nutrition specialists along with open data experts to support people’s capacity to engage with open data.

Improving farmers’ yields and nutrition for consumers

The project aims to contribute to increased farmers’ yields, improved nutrition for consumers and better evidence-based policy making. Achieving such impacts requires that individuals, organisations and communities feel confident in engaging with open data. The activities of GODAN Action will focus on three focal areas:

1) Standards – Enhancing data standards and promoting best practice in agriculture and nutrition to improve interoperability.

2) Research – Identifying and improving tools and methods for evaluation of the impact of open data usage in initiatives and investments in agriculture and nutrition.

3) Capacity – Building the capacity and diversity of open data users, leading to more effective use of data in tackling key agriculture and nutrition challenges.

These focal areas will be supported by activities aiming at uptake of its results and monitoring & evaluation. GODAN Action brings together a balanced mix of backgrounds and experience with a strong track record in agriculture and nutrition and open data. Led by Wageningen UR it includes: CTA, Open Data Institute, Agroknow, Land Portal Foundation, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Institute of Development Studies and AidData.

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