Farm Data Management, Sharing and Services for Agriculture Development

The Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations together with the Pan African Farmers’ Organisation (PAFO) are pleased to call for applications for a new online course “Farm Data Management, Sharing and Services for Agriculture Development”.

Why this course?

There is an exponential growth in data accompanying the digitalisation of agriculture through the proliferation of mobile technology, remote sensing technologies and distributed computing capabilities among others. The effective management of this data will open up new opportunities to better the lives and livelihoods of smallholder farmers by lowering cost and reducing information asymmetries.

This course builds on the content and experience of the GODAN Action online courses - “Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition”, which has been offered since November 2017 and has trained over 4400 participants. The Farm Data Management, Sharing and Services for Agriculture Development online course will focus on strengthening the skills of professionals who use, manage data for the benefit of farmers and farmers organisations. The course explores the importance of data in the agriculture value chain and how new and existing technologies, products and services can leverage farm level and global data to improve yield, reduce loss, add value and increase profitability and resilience.

Who should apply?

This online course  will support the work of professionals involved in using or managing data services for the benefit of farmers and farmers organizations. These professionals work in a wide range of organizations, including international organizations, donor agencies, multilaterals, NGOs, academic and research institutions, universities, national or local governments.

The main target audience groups include:

  • Those who are involved in farmers’ organisations as administrators or staff i.e. those collecting farmer data and managing the data; and
  • Development practitioners and technology providers, who, in addition,  assist farmers’ organisation setting up farmer profiling and creating data services.

What do you get from this course?

The course creates awareness of data on and for farmers as well as the products and services that have become a growth area, driving expectations and investments in ICT4ag including e-extension, precision agriculture and digital financial services. The course furthermore highlights shared data principles, including FAIR and open data conceptual frameworks, while also emphasizing the legal and responsible ethical considerations for data rights and protections.

Participants are expected to spend on average eight hours per week completing lessons and engaging in activities such as discussion forums and webinars.
By the end of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the value of data, the different types and sources of data and identify the type of services that data enables in agriculture;
  • Understand how data is used and generated in the value chain;
  • Understand the challenges and risks that smallholders face when sharing data;
  • Understand the strategies related to farmer profiling;
  • Understand how and where to find open data;
  • Apply data analysis and visualisation techniques;
  • Understand the legal and policy aspects when dealing with farmers’ data sharing;
  • Understand the basics of  licencing, copyright and database rights.

What is in the course?

Unit 1: Data, Services and Applications will cover the topics of value of data in agriculture to support farmers, increase their income and develop food production; digital farmer profiling and the strategies to design business model for profiling. 

  • Lesson 1.1. Data for agriculture
  • Lesson 1.2. Farmer profiling 

Unit 2: Data Sharing Principles will focus on the topics of principles and benefits of open data; the potential of using and publishing data in agriculture; responsible data sharing practises for farm data; ethical and legal sensitivities of data-driven services; and data protection.

  • Lesson 2.1. What is shared and open data? 
  • Lesson 2.2. Challenges for smallholders in data value chains
  • Lesson 2.3. Responsible data sharing in agricultural value chains
  • Lesson 2.4. Personal data protection

Unit 3: Using Data will guide you on how and where to find open data; data quality elements, analyse, data analysis and visualization.

  • Lesson 3.1. Discovering shared and open data
  • Lesson 3.2. Quality and provenance
  • Lesson 3.3. Data retrieval, analysis and visualization
  • Lesson 3.4. Open data in policy cycles

Unit 4: Exposing Data will cover the topics of conceptual frameworks for sharing data; and the ways to make data findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable.

  • Lesson 4.1. Managing data for reuse
  • Lesson 4.2. Guiding frameworks for data sharing
  • Lesson 4.3. Introduction to data interoperability
  • Lesson 4.4. Interoperability of farm data
  • Lesson 4.5. Open licensing for data

How to apply

The course is free of charge and is offered in 4-week period in English.

  • 1st edition - 14 October to 10 November 2019 
  • 2nd edition - 18 November to 15 December 2019 

Read about the courses delivered in 2019 on our blog.

For further information, please contact us at [email protected].


Certificate of Attendance will be provided for those who take the End of Course Exam and pass it. Certificates can only be provided electronically.

Course Webinars

This webinar is being held as part of Farm Data Management, Sharing and Services for Agriculture Development Online Course provided by CTA (Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Co-operation), FAO of the United Nations and PAFO (PanAfrican Farmer’s Organization). In this webinar, Ishmael Sunga, CEO of the SACAU (Southern African Confederation of Agricultural Unions) shares SACAU’s experience with farmer profiling and working with partners in the development of relevant services. Stephane Boyera, CEO of SB Consulting SBC4D and Valeria Pesce, Information Management Specialist at FAO of the UN address some key concepts of what to take away from the course. These include value of data in agriculture to support farmers, digital farmer profiling, adopting ICTs, responsible data, data protection and data sharing principles in general.