The CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture was launched during the ninth annual ICT4D Conference in Hyderabad, India, on 15 May 2017. This new multi-center initiative aims to transform food and nutritional security across the developing world through the use of Big Data, making it more productive, efficient, and resilient to challenges such as population increases and climate change.
The platform is led by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). ICARDA, as one of the partnering centers, will contribute to implementation of modules developed within the context of the platform and assist in the organization and convening of initiatives to support Big Data and its use.
Data has become a valuable global commodity: in expert hands, it becomes highly valuable intelligence. Every year, 180,000 smallholders are surveyed by CGIAR in 78 countries worldwide. Applying ‘big data’ approaches to agriculture could help reduce risks such as climate change and pest and disease outbreaks that farmers in developing countries routinely face.
“Digital agriculture platforms enriched with smart analytical tools and gadgets enables farmers to effectively incorporate biophysical, climatic, ecological and socio-economic considerations when they adopt innovations and technologies, ensuring that they achieve improved food, fiber and nutritional security,” said Dr. Chandrashekhar Biradar, Head of Geoinformatics Unit of ICARDA. “According to reports, 25% of crop losses could be prevented by weather prediction, modeling and precision.”
The 6-year platform (2017–2022) will provide global leadership in organizing open data, convening partners to develop innovative ideas, and demonstrating the power of big data analytics through inspiring projects.