As part of GFAR work on farmers’ rights to data and following up on the face-to-face course on Farmers’ Access to Data organized in Centurion in November 2017, GFAR  (together with GODAN and CTA ) has organized a series of webinars, - to make the content of the course available to everybody.

Webinar 1.

Data-driven agriculture was presented by Dan Berne on 22 February 2018. 



Precision agriculture is a promising set of technologies that is data intensive, but which has limited adoption by small holder farms in Sub-Saharan Africa. Concurrently, current trends in sustainability, traceability, and compliance reporting demand that an ever-increasing amount of data be gathered as part of everyday operations in modern production agriculture.

The use of farm management information systems (FMIS) for decision support has shown great promise for improving farm yields and profitability. FMIS in agriculture have evolved from simple farm record-keeping into sophisticated and complex systems to support production management.

However, growers are often unsure of the VALUE of the DATA that they are providing and/or receiving. How does this data help them make the right decisions to improve their yield and profitability? How do growers and service providers work together to simplify the DESIGN and USE of FARM DATA ? How can smallholder farmers take ADVANTAGE of DATA in a mutually valuable relationship with data providers?



Webinar 2.

Key Data for farmers was presented by Stephen Kalyesubula on 28 February 2018


Data becomes significant if it can be linked to information, knowledge and wisdom. Once processed it can be used to generate detailed insights into farm operations and the environment.  It assists big and small holder farmers in making data-based operational decisions to optimize yield and boost revenue while minimizing expenses, the chances of crop failure, and environmental impact.

For data-driven agriculture to happen we have to distinguish the data streams in the food chain from pre-planting to consumption, for example: data collected and managed from the farm by farmers which can be either static or dynamic; data coming from external sources like market prices and data that is exported for aggregation by other farm service providers. However, farmers may not be in a position to realize those streams and possibly what data and information is required to answer the food chain questions, for example: What produce can I grow where I live? When should I sow/plant/harvest/market it? How should I sow/plant/harvest/market it? All these questions can be answered if the factual data or information is used or made available to the farmers.



Webinar 3.

Crossing The Donga  Accelerating Market Adoption And Use Of Data By Smallholders was presented by Dan Berne on 26 March 2018


This webinar is a continuation of exploring digital agriculture for smallholder farmers. Our first webinar provided an overview of digital agriculture, the trends impacting it, and it advantages and challenges for smallholder farmers. Our second identified specific data needed by farmers, as well as potential sources.

“Crossing the Donga” will provide smallholder farmers, and those who support them, specific methods for ensuring farmer-centric solutions. The webinar will examine some of the key challenges that are blocking adoption of digital architecture by smallholder farmers. Attendees will learn a process for mapping their data needs, based on their goals and key tasks. Attendees will learn the foundational market model, and how to create value for success.

Webinar 4.

Data-driven services for farmer-led business was presented by Chris Addison, Senior Programme Coordinator, CTA, and Chipo Msengezi, Project Coordinator, CTA



Data-driven services and products are coming to be seen as promising mechanisms that farmer organizations – cooperatives, associations, enterprises, etc. – can use to better serve the interests of their members. Data-driven services can be used for improved production, trade and market access or finance, among other uses on the value chain. This data can be in numerous forms – collected from the farmer, for the farmer, open or closed. Farmer-representing organizations offer great opportunity to safeguard smallholder data, maximize returns in value chains, and best exploit the potential of third-party services and data offerings. This all relies heavily on efficient farmer profiling activities which will allow the farmer organizations to connect better with their members and deal with third party service provide. 


Ajit Maru proposes a framework of data ecosystems that forms, along with those for finance and movement of commodities, the supporting pillars of Agri-food systems. This framework has:

  • Policies related to the purpose of agriculture and Agri-food systems and in its support the data and information system to support this purpose
  • Strategies to realize the policy objectives
  • Supporting Institutions which includes:
    • Rules, Norms, Regulations and Regulatory mechanisms
    • Standards to collect, collate, store, communicate, process, analyze and interpret the data into information
    • Structures for policy making, implementing strategies, legislation and rule making, enforcement and regulation of rules and standards, development of standards and enabling sharing, exchange and use of data and information
  • Infrastructure such as for collection, collation and processing, communication, sharing and exchange of data and information
  • Capacities including human skills to generate, process, communicate and effectively use data and information.

Information on this series of webinar is available here

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