Achieving food security through sustainable agriculture is one of the biggest challenges of our time as enshrined in the ‘Sustainable Development Goals’. Open data – data that anyone can access, use or share – can help shape solutions by enabling more efficient and effective decision-making at multiple levels across the agricultural value chain, fostering innovation via new services and applications, and driving organisational change through transparency. 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.
The Agriculture Open Data Package (AgPack) provides a roadmap for governments. The AgPack suggests 6 policy areas where open data can support the agricultural sector. Based on a participatory process with politicians, agricultural experts and the open data community, 14 key data categories are identified. For each data category the potential use of the data by the agricultural sector and the estimated effort to publish this data from government sources are discussed and examples of implementation and initiatives that support the interoperability of each data category are provided. The categories include data on: pest and disease management, production advice, soil, hydrology, elevation, meteorology, markets, infrastructure, value chain, land use and productivity, rural projects, government finance, official records and regulations. The AgPack also highlights 10 examples of open data in action demonstrating how governments are harnessing data to address sustainable agriculture and food security around the world.
It is recognized in the AgPack that the agriculture sector is diverse, with many contextual differences affecting the scope of activities, priorities and capacities. Therefore the Package is meant as a source of inspiration and an invitation to start a national open data for agriculture initiative. In the last section recommendations are provided on how to implement an open data infrastructure for agriculture considering local needs, open data readiness, responsible data publication and linking to the international open data community, building a healthy data ‘ecosystem’ for agriculture.
This beta version of the Agriculture Open Data Package has been developed following an open participatory process of workshops, expert consultations and internet questionnaires. Comments and feedback are encouraged via www.opendatacharter.net