E-Agriculture

Olivia Davies

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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). 

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. 

Olivia  Davies
Olivia DaviesGODANCanada

Thanks to the organizers and moderators of this discussion for asking such an important question.  As a community, we tend to focus on what works in isolation of what does not, when in reality there is a lot to learn from open data failures.  The last week’s topics have unpacked the potential benefits of ICTs for open data in agriculture and nutrition so I would like to focus on a potential damage.  

Thought to ponder-

 The first thing that comes to mind is the sustainability of ICTs in agriculture and nutrition.  I don't have any specific examples of this (if you do please share), however, I fear some of these projects are developed with the best of intentions yet dissipate with time due to lack of funding, poor/changing infrastructure, or social/cultural/governmental changes leaving a community that may have become dependent on this information now without it.  Beyond being unfair, this could reduce trust between famers and data service providers, prolonging the process to reach future positive impacts.  Especially if these famers were providing their data, which leads into another potential damage- exploitation.  As another contributor mentioned above, without proper regulation of data services, smallholder farmers face the risk of being exploited for their data.  In conclusion, ICTs have great potential to benefit smallholder framers in developing countries but only when the long-term sustainability of their services are taken into account.  The open data principle or goal of 'equal impact' needs to exist temporally and spatially.