Section 1: Success Stories of Governments Implementing an Open Data Strategy

Section 1: Success Stories of Governments Implementing an Open Data Strategy

In this section we introduce the challenge of achieving food security through sustainable agriculture and explain how open data can help shape solutions by enabling more efficient and effective decision-making at multiple levels across the agricultural value chain, fostering innovation via new services and applications, and driving organizational change through transparency. We enlighten the different roles a government can play in this development and provide 6 policy perspectives at the end of the section to demonstrate how open data can be used by governments to support its food security policy and the agricultural sector as a whole, putting emphasis on the role of the government as data publisher.

We like to add your experiences here and are always looking for success stories of governments implementing an open data strategy for agriculture. Keeping the 6 policy perspectives in mind,

Do you have stories of governments putting open data into action to enforce their agricultural sector?

What strategies have they used when releasing open data and/or developing open data policy? Were they successful? Why or why not?

André Jellema
André JellemaData-Impact.comNetherlands

Dear Participants,

We welcome you to the e-Forum Discussion on the Agriculture Open Data Package- AgPack.info. 

Government have an essential role to play making the open data for agriculture ecosystem work. More info on the potential roles for government can be found here. However governments can also make open data work for their own objectives. Here is a list of governments in action harnessing open data to impact agriculture and food security.

The question to kick off this eForum is what examples are missing? How is your government implementing Open Data for Agriculture? Are there more use cases of governments in action with open data?

Empowering farmers
Optimizing agricultural practice
  • Beyond extension services: Hotline 8082 in Ethiopia
  • Managing the California drought with data visualisations  
Supporting agrifinance
Facilitating the value chain
Enforcing policies
Thembani Malapela
Thembani MalapelaFood and Agriculture Organization of the United NationsItaly

Thank you Andre for opening this discussion on the AgPack, and for sharing the resources above.

For our readers and participants we have arranged two webinars where Andre provides a presentation of the AgPack. You are invited to attend the upcoming sessions, click this link , Date 10 July 2017 at 4 P.M CEST.  [We will post the recordings here also for your convinience if you miss these sessions]

The link to the AgPack is available here  http://opendatacharter.net/agriculture-open-data-package/

If you have any success stories let us know in the chat below.

We wish you a successful discussion

Thembani Malapela on behalf of AgPack Forum Moderators

For those who have missed yesterday's webinars, you can still catch up and watch the recording of Andre Jellema's presentation of the Agricultural Open Data Package. 



Allow me to summarize a few questions and answers from the webinar session. 

Do you have some suggestions on where the AgPack system could be housed institutionally in a country and how to approach the capacity building needs in small developing countries? 

The challenge with agriculture is that there is so much information that is relevant but it is dispersed among different Ministries and offices. There needs to be a strong actor or agency that should be willing to implement an Open Data Strategy. It can be the Ministry of Agriculture, but often we see that it is the Presidents Office that takes the lead, coming from their overarching role. It depends from country to country and the people working in the different institutions.  It is a complex process with many actors so it needs strong leadership.

GODAN is working on the need for capacity building work. The concrete action linked to this is start of a capacity building working group.The working group is currently working on a online curriculum and every month webinars are organized within the frame of Open Data, Agriculture and Nutrition. 

Collecting of data involves resources. How can we persuade people to publish their data? 

We need to look into "what is there for them?" if we talk about publishing data. That is the key question that is relevant as well for the public sector as for the private sector. There is not going to be a clear momentum if there is no actual interest in publishing open data. Publishing data can show which expertise you have as an institution for example. AgPack wants to encourage Governments to open up data and think about what that can mean to them, and this can also apply to the private sector. Syngenta is, for example, working on a publication of data about sustainability of different projects they run. Open data is part of their strategy of being transparent and gaining trust from the consumers.  There is an interest for them, a reason behind it for them to publish data openly. If we can pinpoint where the interest is we can come to a sustainable open data model.

What is the complementarity with ReSAKKS from IFPRI? 

CAADP indicators are indicators that are agreed upon by the countries of the African Union upon to monitor indicators related to regional food security programmes. RESAKKS is the statistical framework in which this has happened. There are a couple of linkages tot the AgPack would be that if you are doing the monitoring anyway, and you are collecting findings and information, don’t make it only available at the national level, but make it available globally, and do not only make the statistics available but also the data behind them, so they can be re-used for other purposes.

The application of data goes beyond the evaluation of policies. You can turn it around. Here are the data and how are you going to use them to implement your policies. What applies to ReSAKKS and the CAADP indicators can also apply to the monitoring of the UN Development Goals – if we take the efforts to closely monitor towards the goals, why don’t we make the data  available so we can re-use them.

Would the most interesting data not be confidential data from the private sector?

The private sector has very interesting data. But what AgPack tries to do is to convince people with interesting data to publish it. AgPack has Governments as an audience and encourages them to publish data and they have. Both the public as the private sector have to take into account confidentiality and privacy issues. It is often more delicate in the private sector. Public sector often also has a business model behind their data – for example selling data on weather. Again it is looking at what we can gain from making data publically available.

Open Data hurdles are often linked to archaic copyright laws in developing countries. Does the AgPack address legal issue in the path towards opening data?

AgPack does not address the laws and regulations on open data directly. It does not solve the problem. The progress in open data is indeed hindered by laws that were not initially designed to deal with open data issues. There is space where data governance and laws could be developed more and model regulations could be proposed so different governments could use them for inspiration. There is a need in the wider perspective but AgPack does not solve it directly. It could be interesting to look at this and there is a possibility to add and refer to the existing resources, so please share them on the forum if you have any.

Examples of use of (open) data shared in the discussion after the presentation: 

1. Junta de Andalucía Observatorio de Precios (Price Observatory)

2. Gro-Intelligence (www.gro-intelligence.com) – only available for subscribers

3. AgrIinsight (www.agriinsight.com


Olivia  Davies
Olivia DaviesGODANCanada

First off, thank you both for opening this discussion.  I'd like to bring to light the example of a Uruguay’s Open Land Registry data, "Catastro Abierto".  (http://catastro.mef.gub.uy/10251/10/areas/datos-abiertos.html)

The Uruguayan government’s recent successes in implementing open data are largely attributed to the bottom-up development of the movement.  Politicians, civilians, and activists all engaged through public consultations and stakeholder workshops to drive the release of government data meeting the public’s demands for transparency and accountability (its also been argued this is the reason open data has maintained momentum and sustainability).  Uruguay later joined the Open Government Partnership and developed a comprehensive action plan including commitments by the National Board of Land Registry to modernize and release the national registry of real property and to facilitate mechanisms of access to land registry information.  This includes digitizing records for better and faster services, the results of which are updated regularly and available fro download through the Catastro Abierto page.  Land registry data is openly licensed and in machine-readable formats.  Additionally, the Ministry of Livestock Agriculture and Fisheries collects and publishes statistics on land and crop prices quarterly via their website (http://www.mgap.gub.uy/estadisticas-y-documentos/agricultura). 

So there has been a concerted effort on behalf of the Uruguayan government to release agriculture data.

Farmer’s in Uruguay face many of the same challenges as smallholder farmers in Latin America, mainly land acquisition.  When lacking official registry information, landholders are unable to prove tenure security or easily settle disputes.  With this data available, and updated regularly the landowners have an added security that ultimately encourages them to leverage their land as an asset. 

Eyongetta Njieassam
Eyongetta NjieassamUniversity of dschangCameroon

i think ore efforts needs to be done to gain access to open data by our government, in cameroon especially,in many offices you can hardly see coherent documents on archives concerning past information and data of land use systems, land tenure or agriculture. most information are still old and have not been digitally preserves or updated. there are alot of missing files due to lack of preservation , despite thse i think the government is doing her best to succeed in this by vreating achive centeres and digital libraries in universities which just need now but management and proper professional approach. i did my research  during mastersa and it was difficult for my university library to even offer me codes for agora where i can download and read credible journals in my field of study. i think more needs to be done

Olivia  Davies
Olivia DaviesGODANCanada

That’s an interesting challenge.   With this in mind, I’d like to ask are there any other examples of a government putting open data into action for agriculture?  Particularly one that overcame some of the challenges you mentioned (lack of data and management issues). 

Lewis Adjei Banin
Lewis Adjei BaninTRADE INVEST AgribusinessGhana

I think starting with a good legislative instrument that will ensure various stakeholders in the agriculture sector takes data collection to a central pool to their data and information departments. Policy makers should clearly define which of the information will be relevant to sharing on an open data plantform, assesible to all. Now my challenge has to do with less developed countries, if their rural farmers can give credible information to assist data collection.

Indua AGMARKNET collects price & volume of agrcultural data from various govt markets (mandis) in India, There is a disparity between the price what actual farmer sells and what is reported by AGAMRKNET  hence the consumer & govt does not have accurate information which results in bubbles like of scenario smiliar to walls street where consumers pay more farmers get less and intermediaries make money. 

We are startup called VARI where we collect Agricultural Price data from every stakeholder of the supply chain in India to provide better marketing information to farmers. where our goal is Price Discovery, Price Transparency & Price Transmission


Data are raw facts, figures, statistics collected together for analysis, reference and for making decisions or deductions. Farmers’ data are accurate information on farmers and their farming activities that are collected by qualified, trained staffs from the farmers and are used for analysis; to solve problems facing the Agricultural sector of the economy such as global hunger; malnutrition and proffer better decisions on how and what to use in farming in achieving greater results in terms of farm produce/productivity. And also for research purposes.

These farmers’ data can be useful in spotting farmer’s needs, their challenges, creating policy strategies on how to tackle these challenges being faced by the farmers, and also identifying agricultural investments and opportunities.