The Data revolution for agribusiness

Agribusiness is a data intensive process from identifying suppliers investors and buyers, to using environmental risk and research data. With the revolution in ICTs we have an opportunity for data handling to transform agribusiness.

A group of experts came together at the 2nd Caribbean Agribusiness Forum to present some of the current approaches to managing this data in front of an audience fo 150 people drawn from across the Caribbean together with visitors from the Pacific and the Indian Ocean Islands.

"These panelists covers the range of applications of the data revolution for agriculture from regional to local community level. The ICT revolution changes the way we can gather analyse and use data and make better decisions through more accurate data we need to share these approaches." Chris Addison CTA.Chris copy

The regional associations Caribbean Agribusiness Association (CABA) and Pacific Island Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO) presented the needs they have to provide data to their members. Vassel Stewart, CEO of CABA explained that these needs fell into three categories: intelligence on agribusiness opportunities, matching/profiling businesses, and opening up historical data. Alisi Tuqa programme manager of PIPSO stressed the needs to fill some gaps in data, both through new research but also making more data open.

“We don’t just provide data alone we need to provide Intelligence” Vassel Stewart CABA.

CTA Ardyis

Open data drives economic growth as Bishem Ramlal demonstrated in his presentation on the work carried out in the Caribbean on geospatial information. He explained the opportunities for combining mapping data and geoinformation. As Michael McNaughton showed us, open data sets have been combined to address key agribusiness concerns including preadial larceny where police reports are brought together with ministry data and other sources to get a more complete view of the scale of the issue and address it. 

“We have had a huge impact when presenting our new application to the Barbados Agricultural Society but we need investment to scale up” Leonard Seales.


Open data has also been used by application developers to provide new services on mobile phones such as CropGuard, (a previous prize winner in the Agrihack competition.) but these applications which could hold great potential for better pest control are hindered in scaling up by access to capital.

She showed the 3D Participatory mapping (P3DM) approach where a local community builds a model of their community and overlays roads, routes, resources and discusses planning or climate change scenarios. This method has been used with farming and fishing communities to investigate impacts of tourism development.

“We need to use a third eye (our Sartori) to keep an eye on data we use for our policy decisions” Guy Morel

Guy Morel rounded off the panel with a memorable presentation on how the acquisition of data on hotel purchases demonstrated to government the scale of the opportunity for local sourcing of agriproducts in the Seychelles. He emphasised that the Agribusiness forum had focussed on three areas talking about changes in Policy, Programme and Practice and at the centre of this is strong data to provide the evidence for action.

As an outcome of the session CTA will be: working with CABA and PIPSO with their virtual platforms to support members and partners;  supporting the opening of data relevant for agribusiness in the Caribbean and the Pacific and finally looking to work with linking the evidence base for policy in agritourism elaborating the sartori model developed in the Seychelles.  

The presentations from the sessions can be seen at:

Related publications

Working Paper 1: Open Data and Smallholders

Working Paper 2: Open Data in the Caribbean

ICTupdate 79: Data Revolution for Agriculture