Two young man in a field with a laptop in their hands.

Greater access to data can help farmers to improve their farming practices and livelihoods.
Photo: vic josh/ shutterstock

Improving data-driven decisions

A new Data Sharing Toolkit could contribute to unlocking greater food security in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia through better access to information on soil health, agronomy and fertilisers.

A Data Sharing Toolkit to equip development practitioners with the necessary skills to develop better grants and foster more access to agricultural data, was launched in March 2021 by CAB International (CABI) and the Open Data Institute (ODI), with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Based upon FAIR principles – meaning that the data should be Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable - the Data Sharing Toolkit is to increase the understanding of good data-sharing practices and the potential benefits, such as greater food security.

The Data Sharing Toolkit is accessed via the CABI Academy platform. It includes seven eLearning modules with supporting case studies, checklists, cheat sheets and guides to help demystify how to use, collect, and share FAIR and safeguarded data for the benefit of a country’s agricultural economy.

The modules include ‘Considering data in investments’ as well as ‘Reusing data from third-party sources’ and ‘Assessing in-country potential for data sharing.’ Meanwhile, case studies cover topics such as ‘Improving food security through harmonised soil data in South Asia’ and ‘Making soil data findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable and open.’

Practical guides – such as ‘Developing a data management plan’ and ‘Deciding how to provide access to data’ are also included in the Data Sharing Toolkit along with country profiles that outline agricultural data policy and legislation for Ethiopia, India, Kenya and Tanzania.

“By enabling greater access to data on soil health, agronomy and fertilizer, smallholder farmers can be better equipped to innovate and improve their farming practices and, ultimately, increase their yields, livelihoods and local, regional and national food security. Not only do we hope to see greater access to data but also, in time, better quality data which will help make services more efficient right across the agricultural value chain”, points out Ruthie Musker, CABI’s Project Officer, Data Policy & Practice. 

(CABI/ile)

Read more at CABI website

Access the Data Sharing Toolkit 

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