Day 4: Actions to be taken in 2018-2021 to ensure smallholder farmers benefit from agricultural data in the future

Day 4: Actions to be taken in 2018-2021 to ensure smallholder farmers benefit from agricultural data in the future

Moving to the present and near future: what actions should be taken in 2018-2021 to ensure smallholder farmers benefit from agricultural data? Which actors would you expect to take specific roles?

Example: if one of the policy changes identified is more institutional collaboration to improve the international, national and local governance of farmers’ data rights, which are the best ways and immediate steps to foster this now? Which actors should take these steps?

Actions à entreprendre en 2018-2021 pour assurer que les petits agriculteurs bénéficient des données agricoles à l'avenir.  

Passons au présent et au futur proche: quelles actions devraient être entreprises en 2018-2021 pour s'assurer que les petits agriculteurs bénéficient des données agricoles? Quels acteurs vous attendez-vous à jouer des rôles spécifiques? 
Exemple: si l'un des changements de politique identifiés est une collaboration plus institutionnelle pour améliorer la gouvernance internationale, nationale et locale des droits des données des agriculteurs, quels sont les meilleurs moyens et les mesures immédiates pour encourager cela? Quels acteurs devraient prendre ces mesures?  

Cuáles son las acciones que deben adoptarse del 2018 al 2021 para asegurar que los pequeños agricultores se beneficien de los datos agrícolas en el futuro?

Moviéndonos al presente y futuro cercano: Qué acciones deberían adoptarse en 2018-2021 para asegurar que los pequeños agricultores se beneficien de los datos agrícolas? Qué actores esperaría Usted asumirían roles específicos? 
Ejemplo: si uno de los cambios políticos identificados es más sobre colaboración institucional para mejorar la gobernanza internacional, nacional y local de los agricultores sobre sus derechos sobre los datos, cuáles son las mejores formas y pasos inmediatos para fomentar esto? Qué actores deberían seguir estos pasos?


Valeria Pesce
Valeria PesceGlobal Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR)Italy

Speaking about next steps, is this consultation process useful? How should we bring it forward?

Many posts in this discussion have mentioned the need for different actors to come to the table, collaborative platforms, farmers/suppliers decision making platforms, finding business models that benefit all actors, collaboration in general, so it seems that convening different actors in a process aimed at agreeing on principles and perhaps actions could be a good recommendation for the near future?

The organizers of this e-consultation (GFAR, GODAN, CTA, KTBL) are planning on convening a more focused expert consultation on these topics in July in Bonn, from which we expect a set of recommendations and a plan to continue the dialogue with all actors that can help implement the recommendations. All input from this e-consultation will be considered in that meeting and in the recommendations.

In terms of actors that need to be involved because we need their views and they can then act on the recommendations, whom should we involve besides the actors already represented in this discussion?
We have several representatives from government and research, a few from farmers’ organizations (we would need more) and almost none from the private sector.

Besides the generic stakeholder group indication, do you have specific names of organizations or companies where you know there is a strong interest and expertise in the area of ethical, legal and policy aspects of data for / from farmers?

Lee Babcock
Lee BabcockLHB AssociatesUnited States of America

Continued dialog should map out a legal framework for asset backed tokenization on blockchain.  This will be the natural progression of the work we are already doing with farm to table traceability for food safety, organic certification and other reasons.  An application programming interface (API) from the traceability database can immutably record that data onto the Stellar blockchain (e.g. SmartLands)


, the Ethereum blockchain (e.g. SweetBridge)


and a crop of other blockchain service providers that are sprouting up like wild mushrooms after a rain.  This will unlock the economic potential of farmer property and assets, immutably recorded as data on a blockchain, that Hernando de Soto describes in his book The Mystery of Capital.  So, legally binding asset backing constructs, trustless registrar framework or such other thinking as might be suggested by the agriculture blockchain practice of the international law firm Perkins Coie 


I think representatives from those entities and others would welcome the opportunity to join GFAR, GODAN, CTA and KTBL's discussion in July in Bonn.    


Valeria Pesce
Valeria PesceGlobal Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR)Italy

Thak you Lee, very useful suggestion.

Lee Babcock
Lee BabcockLHB AssociatesUnited States of America

You are very welcome.  This June 7 article in CoinDesk 


describes SAP being another wild mushroom given their launch yesterday(!) of a blockchain-as-a-service product.  

SAPs design, on behalf of the multi-lateral African Cashew Initiative, of a software-as-a-service farm(er) management database platform for cashew farmers,  as part of the African Cashew Initiative, is portrayed in this 6 minute video


I am very comfortable in guessing that SAP will establish a link between their cashew platform on the internet cloud and their new private blockchain.  Our challenge as agriculture civil society is to not get so far behind our understanding of these technologies that we fail to provide a healthy and robust counterbalance to the private sector's aggressively relentless pursuit of monitizing farmer data on behalf of their shareholders profit expectations.    

G Kruseman
G KrusemanCIMMYTMexico

The CGIAR Platform for Big data in Agriculture has a community of practice on data driven agronomy: 


Here we try to harness the capabilities of big data to improve the livelihoods of smallholders in low and middle-income countries. Doing this requires skills that are not always widely available see recent post by the coordinator of the CoP:


Juanita Chaves
Juanita ChavesGFAR SecretariatColombia

Thank you all for your very interesting and valuable contributions during these three days of consultation. 

When thinking of next steps, we are talking abouy the process. Today some participants have identified very important steps of the process and yesterday when discussing about the long term ethical, legal and policy changes needed to move from the current scenario to the desired scenarios, Simone shared the process followed by the IoT pilot in Europe.

Some of these contributions mentioned:

  • The need to identify national, regional and international key players (including private and public sector, smallholder farmers, ICT experts, data science experts)
  • Bring all stakeholders, including smallholder farmers organizations to the table for an open dialogue 
  • Consult stakeholders, particularly smallholder farmers, about the needs to ensure smallholder farmers benefit from agricutural data in the future
  • Develop an assessment of the situation in a certain country or countries in specific situations
  • Develop a certain number of case studies from which we could identify lessons learned, best practices, gaps and needs
  • Identify and implement capacity building activities for smallholder farmers to harness their participation in decision making 

G. Kruseman mentioned the CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture which aims to harness the capabilities of big data to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in low and middle-income countries. I would like to ask him if they developed a consultation with smallholder farmers about their needs and if there has been any evaluation about the impact of such Platform to improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. Do you have any lesson learned or good practice that could be helpful for our discussion on how to ensure smallholder farmers benefit from agricultural data in the future? Also in terms of process and next steps? How would you see this process adding value to the CGIAR work in relation to the Platform for Big Data?






Michael Brobbey
Michael BrobbeyGlobal Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN)United Kingdom

Thanks for the excellent posts. It has been good reading them and learning from others. I am in agreement with many of the things expressed. I believe that an action to be taken in 2018-2021 to ensure smallholder farmers benefit from agricultural data in the future would be capacity development as already mentioned. Indeed this would help the farmers directly to know about agricultural data and be trained accordingly to use this data. Helping farmers to know about the tools available for their work and the rights they have available under the law will be of great benefit to them and their communities. 

Geoffrey Wandera
Geoffrey WanderaYouths in Technology and Development UgandaUganda

Though i wasn't able to discuss for  the past two days, i have been following. Eevryone has contributed greatly to the consultation. what Michael Brobby has suggested "capacity building", is the core and the front runner for a smallholder farmer's success.

Leanne Wiseman
Leanne WisemanGriffith University, AustraliaAustralia

I agree that capacity building is the key to building trust in data-driven agriculture. There are many good examples  of how capacity building can be delivered on farm. We have started developing on on-line digital toolbox for farmers in Australia so that they can access checklists for data licences, information sheets about data control and access etcand the plan is to build this and extend the range of materials and tools to help farmers gain the skills to engage in the dialgoue around the sharing of benefits derived from on farm data collection and aggregation.

G Kruseman
G KrusemanCIMMYTMexico

Let me start by pointing to an example in Mexico where the MasAgro project funded by the Mexican government and implemented by CIMMYT is providing online tools to farmers:


You won't be able to access most links since it is meant for farmers.

The principle behind the project is to have innovation hubs that link agricultural research, extension agents and farmers. Because a picture says more than a thousand words: