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Issues around farmers’ rights to data, both in terms of access to data and ownership of data, are crucial to one of the key areas of activity of GFAR: the opening of access to information systems for sharing, transforming and using agricultural knowledge, especially in light of GFAR’s overall approach to putting the smallholder farmer at the centre of innovation and seeking change in their lives.

GFAR has convened a 
to be held in Johannesburg on 24 November 2017.

The event is co-funded by GODAN and CTA
and is organized by ITOCA.

The symposium follows a training course held in the preceding 4 days (separate registration, see more info here

Registration for the symposium is now closed.

The detailed program of the symposium will be published in the next days. In the meantime, here are some highlights.

Our keynote speakers and panel chairs will be:

Ajit Maru

Ajit Maru, Ph.D., grew up in Kenya, studied veterinary sciences in India and has served the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, National Dairy Development Board of India, International Service for National Agricultural Research, Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology and the Global Forum on Agricultural Research/FAO  in his professional career spanning almost 40 years. He now follows his life long interest in understanding and improving the livelihoods of small holder farmers. At the moment he is working on developing a single window platform to support small holder farmers of Gujarat, India, in their farming and participation in markets.

Jeremy De Beer

Jeremy De Beer is a Full Professor of law at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law, where he creates and shapes ideas—about technology innovation, intellectual property, and global trade and development. As an award-winning professor recognized for exceptional contributions to research and law teaching, his current work helps solve practical challenges related to innovation in the digital economy, life science industries, and clean technology sector.
He is a co-founder and director of Open AIR, the Open African Innovation Research network, which connects dozens of multi-disciplinary researchers across African countries, Canada and elsewhere to scale up innovation by easing tensions between intellectual property and access to knowledge.

Dan Berne

Dan Berne is an independent consultant working at the nexus of water, food and energy. He leads the strategic planning work in the industrial agricultural irrigation market for the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA), a non-profit organization focused on energy efficiency. Working with the non-profit group AgGateway, Dan leads the effort to develop a set of data standards and formats to convert data for use in precision irrigation and other water management programs.  He is an expert in standards development, business processes, market development and customer experience strategies.

The symposium will feature presentations by:

  • Johannes Abbott from Farmboek, who will present the Farmboek information service for farmers
  • Nico Kroese from the South African Weather Service who will present the Rain 4 Africa project. 
  • Stephen Kalyesubula from iLabs@Mak Project of Makerere University (Uganda), who will present on key data for farm management
  • Moses Odeke from ASARECA, who will speak about the role of mobile phones and private/public infrastructures in enhancing access to data
  • Juanita Chaves from the GFAR, who will present on issues of farmers' rights

The panel discussions chaired by the keynote speakers will be animated by participants in the training course that will have taken place in the preceding days.