Data has become a fundamental asset for international agricultural research centers which, with the implementation of techniques and tools for open access and data availability, can provide information relevant to associations and smallholder farmers in order to enable them to make better decisions about the management of their crops.
The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) will lead CGIAR’s Platform for Big Data in Agriculture, whose objective is to take advantage of the capacities of big data to accelerate and boost the impact of international agricultural research and foster equitable rural development.
We share the leadership with IFPRI, but at CIAT we will establish the coordination unit. We are going to work as a team, focusing on how Big Data can enable CGIAR to solve agricultural development problems more rapidly, more effectively, and in such a way as to take advantage of scaling.Andy Jarvis
This platform, which will have an executive committee made up of CGIAR participating centers and outside partners, is an opportunity for economic development that provides global leadership in the organization of open data and calls on the members and donors to develop innovative ideas through development of inspiring projects based on a Big Data approach.
Jarvis adds that “the success of this platform will depend on listening to the needs of the Research Programs (CRPs) and of the centers, being nimble, and at the forefront in providing solutions for these needs. This is a very exciting domain where I believe that CGIAR can build its reputation and be a pioneer in the coming years.”
Opportunities of the Big Data platform for the present and the future
Once a leader has been chosen for the platform, an official launch will be held and the big challenges and opportunities in the areas of agrobiodiversity, soils, DAPA, and other CIAT areas must be identified.
“We will have funds for establishing and improving access to the infrastructure for processing historical and current CGIAR data. Once this is achieved, there will be a series of surveys that go out to the participants to calibrate the interests and establish priorities,” said Jarvis.