Role of Communities of Practice in Opening up of Data for Agriculture and Nutrition

Food and nutritional security of the burgeoning population can only be met with the increased quality agricultural outputs which in-turn are the results of improved good agricultural practices, climate resilient varieties, investments, policies and a good  value chain management. Right from the seed sowing to marketing the production and consumption by the consumers, this value chain produces lots of data which, when used would help in the generation of knowledge to be used in the better management of agricultural value chains to meet the food and nutritional security.

Understanding the importance of the Open Data in general and in Agriculture and Nutrition in particular and making use of the openly available data would help us in taking timely informed decisions. However the as we know that there are several actors and players in the value chains who produce the data, there should be a collective and holistic approach of all the actors and players in collecting, sharing and consuming the data. The Governments, Public and Private Players together should form a consortium for the opening up of the data. With recent developments in the Open Data movement globally, now a days, we see that slowly governments are making available the data held by it to the public. However, it is the communities of practice and other private players are now showing interest and making all efforts to make the available data in Open formats for everyone to use, reuse and build applications. The smart phone applications (apps) are being developed by the communities or others which can use the data and visualize it for the development of knowledge maps. The GODAN is one such initiative on global front which has formed for open data in agriculture and nutrition. Other projects include agINFRA and Research Data Alliance‘s wheat data working group. In India, DataMeet is working for opening up the data and Open Access India is involved in the advocacy for Open Data.

In all the projects which are mentioned above has a large participation of communities of people who are interested in the development of applications and delivering the data produced for the public good. Here proves that there is stronger role to be played by the communities in the development of ways and means of capturing the data produced, opening up of that data and sharing it in an open format through collaboration, participation and innovation. The communities should have access to data and information produced through the value chains. For this they should work out for the development of digital communications gadgets/tools and services in collaboration with governments, public and private players. For this, various programs should be initiated on the principles of openness and should create trust among the data producers. The communities should help in making data open for meeting the food and nutritional security of humans and animals.

PS: Abstract of the presentation to be made during the conference session on Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition at 3rd International Open Data Conference (IODC) 28-29 May in Ottawa, Canada. Reposted from