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September: sharing and using data for agriculture and nutrition

September 4, 2015
  • West Africa

Four key events taking place in September examine existing solutions and potential pathways for new, open and collaborative infrastructure through which data can be used by farmers and value chain actors to communicate and take action.

1. Linking the collection and analysis of regional data with national systems

Resakks 866ReSAKKS Annual Conference 2015 © ReSAKSS

On 1-3 September, the Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (ReSAKSS) held its annual conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where it presented the work undertaken in partnership with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to create Strategic Analysis Knowledge Support Systems (SAKSS) for monitoring agricultural investments in six West African countries and the continuing development of the same in East Africa. With support from CTA, the project developed national websites, designed as knowledge- and data- sharing platforms, to support the implementation of national agricultural plans and the overall Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP).  

infographic resakks860© IFPRI_WCAO

2. The first African open data conference and farming

On 4-5 September, the first continent-wide Africa Open Data Conference took place in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, bringing together governments, technologists and innovators from across the African continent and beyond to explore the promise and reality of open data in Africa. Why is this relevant to farmers? CTA supported and co-organised the panel session of the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiative with a particular focus on the relevance of open data to farming and farmers’ organisations. 

1GODAN AODC400Godan at AODCSessions of the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition initiative at the Africa Open Data Conference. © GODANsec

3. Agricultural Policy Bank: a major first in the Pacific

On 7–10 September, Vanuatu’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Biosecurity established the first ever Agricultural Policy Bank in partnership with the European Union-supported Pacific Agriculture Policy Project, a component of the Intra-ACP Agricultural Policy Programme, implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).

The agricultural policy bank, a knowledge repository, is a timely development in Vanuatu, where the Ministry has just recently finalised a policy update to address current and future challenges, including natural disasters, such as tropical cyclones. Ensuring each policy change is clearly communicated to stakeholders is a particular challenge, which will be addressed at the regional workshop Strengthening Regional Knowledge Management Capacities. Vanuatu’s social media officers and journalists were invited to join agriculture and communications professionals from 15 Pacific countries, to help develop better ways of sharing important policy information to farmers and farmer groups.

The workshop was a collaborative effort between the PAPP, implemented by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), and Vanuatu’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries and Biosecurity. CTA also contributed to the workshop's organisation.

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4. Launch of the African Food Security Portal

On 16 September, the Sub-Saharan African Food Security Portal will be launched in Brussels. The website, developed by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), contains over 40 indicators related to food security, commodity prices, economics, and human well-being. It draws from data sources such as the World Bank, FAO, UNICEF, and others, as well as IFPRI's own data to cover detailed statistics for 12 focus countries and a range of statistics for the other countries in Africa.

The launch will take place in the context of a panel on Data-driven farming in Africa organised by IFPRI, CTA, the ACP Secretariat, the European Commission and the Panafrican Farmers' Organisation (PAFO) which will bring various perspectives to the debate on data use for improved agricultural transformation in Africa.

The partnership between IFPRI, CTA and the farmers organisations will focus on promoting the use of data by farmers using different tools and applications and also to facilitate data input from the farmers to the portal and therefore strengthen the links between farmers and researchers to contribute to improved data-driven policy.

Portal African food security860