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To achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of zero hunger and increase food security by 2030, governments and multilateral agencies are looking to open data to boost agriculture and farming
Combating climate change
Climate change is one of the biggest threats of our time. With a greater scale of the flooding, long and hard droughts, food insecurity and mass migration, the agricultural sector is under more pressure than ever. By having access to more and better data to measure open data will allow farmers and governments to track temperature changes, map deforestation and biodiversity than they were previously able to. From this, they will be able to devise better decision making and understanding as to what needs to be done. Over time, this will help create a more sustainable and efficient model of farming which is much more environmentally friendly.
Pest and disease management
Sharing information on pests and diseases with farmers in real-time can prevent further spread; saving crops, and reducing economic losses and environmental damage. However, information on pests and diseases can be considered sensitive due to trade and export impacts. Access to such information means farmers are likely to only use pesticide when responding to a real threat, saving money and the environment. Immediate action when a disease or pest outbreak does occur can prevent severe crop loss and halt the spread of the problem.
By understanding open data, there will be a platform which will enable anybody to look for new and interesting ways to help improve agriculture. With data sharing, knowledge and understanding will grow and spotting interesting patterns within the data can help make changes. This can be in the form of new technology, better farming methods or even new ways to grow crops. This is only possible is data becomes available.
Open data is seen as a driver for economic growth. It reveals opportunities for businesses within the industry, both large and small, to build new services, identify more cost-effective methods and improve operations. With access to accurate information, farmers are able to maximise their crop yield, meaning more crops can be produced and sold; in turn, this boosts a country’s exports. Businesses can also use open data to learn more about the quality of their products to help attract more customers. This improved efficiency will help grow those in the agricultural chain and allow for more prosperity.
Achieving food security
With more than 500 million children undernourished, nutrition is a growing global problem. Good quality, comparable, timely nutrition data is vital for guiding government intervention, for improving existing initiatives, and achieving the 2030 UN SDGs targets of eliminating hunger and malnutrition.
With universal access to a strong data ecosystem, this would enable farmers to develop their farming and production practises for the better as well as effectively monitoring factors such as food supplies, weather changes and other crucial information. From this, farmers will be able accurately plant more crops as well as produce better quality ones which provide more food for themselves and society.