Data: the next revolution for agriculture in ACP countries?

18th February 2015. Brussels. ACP Secretariat. CTA Brussels Development Briefing on the subject of “Data: the next revolution for agriculture in ACP countries?”.

The audience of 155 participants included ACP-EU policy makers, regional organizations, representatives of EU Member States, European Commission services, Members of the European Parliament, private sector, civil society groups, European research and development practitioners and international organizations.

The explosion of digital data offers new technological opportunities for enhancing agricultural development; it has also become a key asset for all economies in the world. By looking at significant trends, approaches and experiences in using open data for food and nutrition security, this Briefing shall shed light on the impacts of the global data revolution for agriculture.

The increasing volume of real-time data represents both a challenge and an opportunity for developing countries, and in particular, Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP). Harnessing the opportunities offered by this new digital landscape of open data systems shall be crucial: to meet acute data gaps throughout the value chain; to collect reliable data and statistics; to accurately plan and influence policies and interventions; to benefit from private-public partnerships, especially in the food industry; to inform global development efforts, donor decisions, and policy.


Poor Numbers is the first analysis of the production and use of African economic development statistics. Morten Jerven’s research shows how the statistical capacities of sub-Saharan African economies hav

e fallen into disarray. The numbers substantially misstate the actual state of affairs. As a result, 
  • scarce resources are misapplied. 
  • Development policy does not deliver the benefits expected. 
  • Policymakers’ attempts to improve the lot of the citizenry are frustrated. 
  • Donors have no accurate sense of the impact of the aid they supply. 

Jerven’s findings from sub-Saharan Africa have far-reaching implications for aid and development policy. As Jerven notes, the current catchphrase in the development community is “evidence-based policy,” and scholars are applying increasingly sophisticated econometric methods—but no statistical techniques can substitute for partial and unreliable data.


Open Data and Smallholder Food and Nutritional Security.
Andre Jellema, Wouter Meijninger and Chris Addison.
Alterra.CTA. 2015

CTA shared the findings from a report commissioned from Alterra on open data benefits for smallholder farmers where the authors identified the main potential areas for open data use: Making agriculturally-relevant data accessible to users around the world. The report aimed to answer the following questions: what is the actual impact of the open data movement on the food and nutrition security of smallholders in the developing world? What opportunities does it present, and which remain unfulfilled?


Published on 25 Oct 2014The 2014 World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue Dr. David Muth moderated a panel on Precision Agriculture and Big Data, with Dr. Claudia Garcia, Dr. David Gebhardt, John May and Kerry J. Preete.

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