RCMRD participated in the Global Open Data for Agriculture & Nutrition initiative (GODAN) international conference that ends today. The conference was held along with the 4th Agritec Africa Exhibition at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre. The GODAN initiative was launched in 2013 and led by the UK and US governments to propagate for open data in agriculture and nutrition to scientifically combat world hunger and food security. The event was hosted by the Kenyan Government and GODAN.
The Conference was attended by 1,000 high level participants, led by Ministers for Agriculture from 100 countries, private sector, academia, think-tanks, civil society, youth organisations, research networks and development practitioners, the United Nations and multilateral institutions especially the African Development Bank (AfDB), UN Economic Commissions for Africa, Asia and Latin America, the African Union Commission, Africa’s Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and international organisations.
Dr. Robinson Mugo the Chief of Party and Project Manager for SERVIR E & SA at RCMRD made a presentation during the panel on capacity building for evidence based decision making in the Global South. The panel discussed possible synergies between existing education and training activities on agricultural scientific needs for open curricula focused on open data and best practices and development proposals for training programs and their potential contribution to the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Dr. Mugo talked about RCMRD developing crop-specific maps created by combining survey data and satellite images that literally provide the lay of the land for farmers and agribusinesses such as seed, fertilizer companies and insurance companies. He said a spatial decision-support system allows a decision-maker to build relationships, both spatial and process-based, between different types of data, merge multiple data layers into synthetic information, weigh outcomes from potentially competing alternatives, and forecast.
He said with two thirds of Africans dependent on farming for their livelihoods, boosting Africa’s agriculture can create economic opportunities, reduce malnutrition and poverty, and generate faster, fairer growth. “We need multidisciplinary inputs about best practices into the curriculum development process with the objective to expand the societal impact of open agricultural research. A particular focus will be on sharing knowledge about training programs and platforms reducing digital divides so that researchers in developing countries can also benefit,” he added.
The conference came as a result of a commitment made by Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Mr. Willy Bett at the GODAN Summit in 2016. During the Summit the Cabinet Secretary accepted a call by GODAN to champion the principles of collaboration and use of open data for agriculture and nutrition within G77 nations and its support for the Comprehensive Agreement on Agriculture and Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) inAfrica.
Core areas the conference focused on “Catalysing Agricultural Transformation for Inclusive Growth” under the theme “Harnessing the demographic dividend through investment in food and nutrition data.” The Conference program included high level panels on concrete proposals and actions by government that will catalyse agricultural transformation. It will also look to improve Data Coordination across the agricultural value chains and ecosystems, Agricultural
The GODAN initiative originated from a G20 Summit which recognized that Data is useful for the development and growth of Countries. It further advocates for open data in agriculture and nutrition that is reliable, accessible and usable. The essence if to have decision making in agriculture and nutrition be based on data.
The conference provided a platform for networking, peer learning, co-creation and sharing of experience/practices on proven success on the use of quality data and standards for agriculture and nutrition; increased financial, human and technological capacities in the global south for agriculture and nutrition data with emphasis on SDG’s; endeavored to harmonize policies that improve collection, coordination and dissemination of agriculture and nutrition data across Government, Private sector and Academia and Adoption of youth driven agricultural innovations with the public sector.
Content for this article provided by Lillian Ndungu and Kenneth Kasera and compiled by Dorah Nesoba (RCMRD/SERVIR E&SA)