OPEN FIELDS

Today, nearly 800 million people suffer from hunger and malnutrition around the world. For the first time in human history, we have the knowledge and the tools to put an end to it. Open data makes that knowledge available to everyone [1].

At the 2012 G-8 Summit, G-8 leaders committed to the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, the next phase of a shared commitment to achieving global food security. As part of this commitment, they agreed to “share relevant agricultural data available from G-8 countries with African partners and convene an international conference on Open Data for Agriculture, to develop options for the establishment of a global platform to make reliable agricultural and related information available to African farmers, researchers and policymakers, taking into account existing agricultural data systems.”

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The GODAN initiative was announced at the Open Government Partnership Conference in October 2013 following 2012 G8 discussions.  Participants made commitments to Open Data for Agriculture at the International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture in Washington D.C. Subsequently the Governments of the United States and United Kingdom partnered to form this global initiative.


I am really happy to get the opportunity to work for the  Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) . I am seconded from the University of Nottingham to GODAN now.  I would like to invite you all to know more about the amazing work that GODAN  is doing  and join us. Some introduction slides that i presented on GODAN  at AgriGIS ThinkTank at Kenya last month are at  https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/genius/documents/godan-uon-intro.pdf


OPEN FIELDS is the second episode of GODAN’s new documentary web series that meets individuals around the world who are on the frontline of how technology and data are reshaping agriculture to combat food insecurity and improve global nutrition. In this episode, viewers meet Eunice, a successful smallholder farmer who lives outside of Mombasa, Kenya. In Kenya, around 80 per cent of people have access to some form of farmable land. Although the soil is rich and fertile for farming, many plots of land stand empty or with failed crops.In the Mombasa region, Haller Foundation (a GODAN partner) have been working with local farmers for 50 years to design organic methods to improve crop production and also provide a solid economic stream for rural families.

Eunice has found success in maximizing her crop yield by using the open-source mobile phone app from the Haller Foundation. With an estimated 83% of Kenya now online, largely through mobile phones, Haller Farmers App has been developed to digitise and release local knowledge on a global scale, to anyone, anywhere. The application is free to use for anyone with a smartphone and internet access. They have also worked with Free Basics and Airtel Kenya to improve rural access for low income families, providing free data to download and use the app.

 


Let us now all work together on our joint mission  to get every government, non­-governmental, international and private sector organization to make agriculture and nutrition data available, accessible and usable so that we acheive the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal on End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture. So please join the Open Data Revolution to end global hunger and together we can make this possible.

Best wishes,

Suchith

Dr. Suchith Anand

http://www.geoforall.org/

GeoForAll – Building and expanding Open Geospatial Science


[1] http://opensourcegeospatial.icaci.org/2016/10/reflections-from-godan-summit-2016-join-the-open-data-revolution-to-end-global-hunger/

Summary of AgriGIS ThinkTank and Workshop 2016, Nairobi, Kenya

We are pleased to report on the success of AgriGIS Workshop & Think Tank meetings in Nairobi organised jointly by the The University of Nottingham, the Regional Centre for Mapping of Resources for Development (RCMRD), the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) and Crops for the Future (CFF) on October 27-28, 2016.

The objective of the event was to provide a forum for stakeholders in agricultural research organizations in Africa to share knowledge and propose strategies on improving the use of  open data, open educational resources , free and open geospatial software with the aim to expand Capacity Building and Training in AgriGIS to support Global Food Security.

The slides of the event  are at  http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/grace/events/agrigis-kenya-slides.aspx

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We thank all the participants for their inputs and contributions for the Think-Tank discussions which covered the following themes (details to the summary of each theme are available at the event website)

*   Big challenges for Agriculture in the African context
*   Tools (known & wish list) used for agri using satellite/remote data collection
*   Existing or potential data sets we would like to use
*   Practical, technical, policy, impementation obstacles to Location aspects/geotechnologies for agri
*   Data and Modelling

There was interest and support from  participants for the need for Open Data in Agriculture and  initiatives like GODAN [1].

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Some of the key themes that emerged  from the Think Tank discussions were  the following

*   Importance of the need of an organisation locally to facilitate and ensure sustainability of AgriGIS
*   Spearheading open data and free and open software use for cost savings, expanding innovation and sustainability
*   Need for Capacity building among stakeholders

We are getting lot of emails of interest lot of colleagues in Africa expressing interest in follow up activities. We are pleased to inform that Center for Agricultural Networking and Information Sharing (CANIS) , Kenya has volunteered to  host the secretariat for the Think Tank  for developing as a focal point for interaction with other stakeholders on Open GIS and open data and keep building the ideas from the ThinkTank. We thank Kiringai Kamau and colleagues at CANIS for their support.  Please contact Kiringai (email  – kiringai@gmail.com  ) for expanding AgriGIS momentum in Kenya. We are also pleased to welcome CANIS as our new GeoforAll lab in Kenya.

It is good to see many blogposts from participants of the workshop such as the one at GEOSYMP  http://geosymp.com/2016/10/what-happened-at-the-agrigis-workshop-and-think-tank/

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We would like to specifically thank our hosts RCMRD ( Dr Hussein Farah and all colleagues) for their excellent organisation and arrangements including the hands on workshop .  We need to also make use of the community and momentum build by the ThinkTank for expanding future collaborations and make sure the community is kept  updated. Please make use of the  Twitter  created  to share your ideas https://twitter.com/hashtag/agrigisnr2016?f=tweets&vertical=default&src=hash

We  shared some examples of research at Nottingham at http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/genius/documents/egrasp-nairobi.pdf

More photos of the event at https://www.flickr.com/photos/148880137@N06/

We are hoping to keep building the collaborations in AgriGIS to  support Global Food Security.

Best wishes,

Suchith Anand

[1] http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/genius/documents/godan-uon-intro.pdf

Open Initiatives in Agriculture

At the 10th Anniversary of Berlin declaration last month, staff of the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organisation met me to discuss ideas and i shared some thoughts with them on the current developments in open access in Geospatial at http://aims.fao.org/zh-hans/community/interviews/enhancing-use-geospatial-technologies-agriculture-interview-drsuchith-anand-geo

AgriGIS research including the BBSRC funded GRASP http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/ngi/research/geospatial-science/projects/grasp-gfs.aspx that we are doing at NGI will have open and free technologies at its heart.