Devex has written up a handy summary article of key take-aways from the 2017 Crawford Fund Annual Conference, for which the theme was Transforming lives and livelihoods through the digital revolution in agriculture, from which a strong case for open data emerged. Read the introduction below and the key takeaways at their site.
Research presented at the conference showed the existing capabilities and future opportunities for digital tools to assist in building a food-secure world driven by data.
Already, delegates said, data is improving our understanding of how the world is producing food and the increasing importance of smallholder farmers in creating variety to support nutritional needs. It is helping in the search for plant gene traits that will grow in various environmental conditions. It can improve the confidence of consumers in buying quality fruit and vegetables. And it is taking mechanisation on farms to the next level, through robotics that improve the quality of food produced and ease the labour burden on an increasingly ageing agricultural workforce. Mobile technology is also already demonstrating the capacity for improved data capture and in-field analysis of plant and animal health.
Yet despite this, research from the McKinsey Global Institute presented at the conference showed that agriculture is lagging behind other sectors in being digital ready. While speakers were keen to highlight the possibilities for big data, there was also an acknowledgement of the gaps that need to be filled and the physical and financial support still needed to produce quality baseline data to support food security and the Sustainable Development Goals.