The Global Forum on Agricultural Research and Innovation (GFAR), the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition initiative (GODAN), the Technical Center for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and the Kuratorium für Technik und Bauwesen in der Landwirtschaft (KTBL) invite you to an e-consultation on ethical, legal and policy aspects of open data affecting smallholder farmers. The forum will take place on the e-Agriculture platform from 4 till 8 June 2018. You can access it here.

Data-driven agriculture is expected to increase agricultural production and productivity. It can help farmers adapt to or mitigate the effects of climate change. It can also bring about more economic and efficient use of natural resources, reduce risk and improve resilience in farming, and make agri-food market chains much more efficient. However, smallholder farmers in developing countries are not harnessing the power of open data. This is due to a number of challenges and risks that make it difficult to ensure digital investments benefit them. The two main challenges are, firstly, difficulty accessing relevant data and services provided by others and, secondly, making sure that any data they share does not actually weaken their positions. These challenges vary in nature (technical, capacity, policy).

Nonetheless, previous discussions and recent research have revealed that the ethical, legal and policy aspects related to farmers’ accessing and using available data, as well as sharing their own data, are now seen as key to empowering farmers through regulations, agreements and an enabling legal and policy environment.

This is why this e-consultation focuses on ethical, legal and policy aspects of open data affecting farmers.

The objectives of this e-consultation are to:

a) clearly identify the ethical, legal and policy gaps that currently prevent data from benefiting smallholder farmers;

b) using practical examples, give a clear picture of what the desired scenarios would be by 2030 for a policy, legal and ethical ecosystem that helps farmers benefit from data-driven agriculture;

c) move back in time from these scenarios, identify long-term changes needed compared to the current scenario;

d) indicate concrete short-term steps to be taken to move towards the desired scenarios.

The discussion will be organized around five questions, with each day dedicated to one question. The conclusions of this e-consultation will feed into a high-level expert consultation that will take place in July. This face-to-face consultation will build on previous discussions and publications, as well as this online consultation, and will in turn set an actionable plan for the future. This will help ensure a follow-up to our conversation, making your views very valuable.

UPDATE: the final report of the online consutation is available here.

Monday, 4 June, 2018 to Friday, 8 June, 2018