AIMS Newsletter no.76, September 2018



Even though there is a recognised need for capacity development in the fields of agricultural (open) data management, and a number of different organisations are attempting to address this,  there does not seem to be a coordinated approach covering all agricultural domains which can adequately identify training gaps and make recommendations. 

The Research Data Alliance (RDA) 9 Pre-meeting for IGAD in Barcelona was marked by a strong interest in developing a Working Group (WG) for building synergies in capacity development, in the context of research and open data in agriculture and its potential contribution to the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

In July 2018, the Research Data Alliance (RDA) Council endorsed the Capacity Development for Agriculture Data WG which - alongside Wheat Data Interoperability, Rice Data Interoperability, AgriSemantics and On-Farm Data Sharing WGs - constitutes the fifth WG of one of the RDA’s most prominent Thematic Groups - Interest Group on Agricultural Data (IGAD), formed in 2013. Alongside a number of ongoing activities, IGAD has also spearheaded:


Since there is an urgent need to develop synergies between existing education and training activities related to agricultural science, as well as increase the coherence on the delivery of training, the Capacity Development for Agriculture Data WG will perform a broad landscape assessment to identify existing gaps and training requirements within:

By acting as a hub for coordinating the development and provision of training to potential stakeholders (agriculture experts, content and technology solution providers, researchers, policy makers), the Capacity Development for Agriculture Data WG will present various use cases and linkages to different sectors of development, as well as cite resources for a more in-depth examination of strategic actionable insights related to capacity development issues. In identifying and evaluating existing resources, the group will also address the language barrier.

Additionally, in light of the above mentioned collaboration, the Capacity Development for Agriculture Data WG will develop ideas for Joint training programmes (both online and hands-on) in Agricultural data.

Capacity building resources – including:

1.) a Report on the current capacity development needs,
2.) the main Recommendation on the identified good practices and
3.) Guidance on advocacy to support its adoption

– produced by the group, will be hosted on the RDA website and shared publicly, in order to:

  • obtain set enhanced methodologies for curriculum development and new approaches to some of the key techniques and tools for the vast open data ecosystem, including Open Data Management - in Agriculture and Nutrition;
  • provide the right role capacity distribution to all interested parties within the agriculture and nutrition ecosystem, in order to support the achievement of the SDGs through the effective and responsible managing of today’s large scale data assets and networks.

Lastly, the sharing of knowledge about training initiatives and technologies will reduce digital gaps and will therefore benefit researchers and domain experts in developing countries.


  • Reduce effort and duplication in development of curricula on support of capacity development for individuals, communities and initiatives that will benefit from the use of Agricultural data outputs;
  • Advocate collaborative efforts in agriculture and nutrition open data initiatives through knowledge sharing among capacity development activities;
  • Advocate programmes, good practices and lessons learned, which will enable the effective re-use of open data;
  • Develop the capacity of the different open data users for a more effective understanding and  improved accessto open data;
  • Expand the common impact of open agricultural research by joining synergies in training programmes using the guidelines developed by key (agriculture) data management capacity building communities: GODAN, IGAD, CODATA.


The Capacity Development for Agriculture Data WG will carry out all discussions through the IGAD mailing list <[email protected]> to ensure openness and include everyone in the capacity development training activities. This will ensure that all points are discussed in an open and participatory way.

Additionally, the chairs of the group: Chipo Msengezi (CTA), Karna Wegner (FAO) and Suchith Anand (GODAN) would like to invite all interested parties to JOIN the Capacity Development for Agriculture Data WG mailing list <[email protected]

Interest Group in Agricultural Data (IGAD) RDA Pre-Meeting P12 will be held on 5-6 November 2018, within International Data Week a global conference which is taking place in Africa for the first time!

International Data Week (IDW 2018) will be hosted (on 5-8 November 2018, Gaborone, Botswana) by the Botswana Open Science and Open Data Forum, and co-organized by the ICSU Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA), the ICSU World Data System (WDS) and the Research Data Alliance (RDA). IDW 2018 will bring together data professionals and researchers from all disciplines and from all parts of the globe.

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