Experts discussed how “big data” could contribute to improving food security and alleviating environmental damage in agriculture at the World Food Day Colloquium.
Photo: © University of Hohenheim / Angelika Beck-Weathers


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“Food and Digits” was the topic of this year’s World Food Day Colloquium in Germany, where scientists discussed the question whether big data and ICT could revolutionise the fight against hunger and malnutrition.

Who benefits from big data, and who uses it? These two questions ran like a common thread through this year’s World Food Day Colloquium at the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, Germany. The Colloquium was held under the title “Food and Digits”.

The issue is still mainly treated with scepticism – at the moment, anyway. At least this is the conclusion that can be drawn from what scientists stated at the Colloquium. More and more data are collected, but one had to question the use of them in the first place. If they were of no use, then there was no point in investing energy in data gathering, maintained Gideon Krusemann of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Mexico. Krusemann is coordinator of the CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture. One of the chief tasks of this platform is to gather and process data so that it can benefit agriculture and food security and be further disseminated.

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