For centuries, farmers have been isolated—geographically, economically, technologically. Big Data has the potential to transform agriculture in the 21st century and create a new global commons for agricultural knowledge that could allow farmers from Missouri to Myanmar to learn from one another.
Sustainable intensification is one of the areas of agricultural research that is being transformed by Big Data. Through initiatives like the CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture, researchers are helping farmers create complex accounting systems for their farms and increase productivity while decreasing the environmental impact of farming.
Farmers have always been natural data scientists, conducting experiments and collecting data in their fields. Now, with the advent of Big Data, there are new opportunities to create information systems like the CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture that can make farming more efficient, profitable, and sustainable.
The tools of Big Data hold a lot of promise for many industries including agriculture. But the expertise required to build a data management platform are still emerging. Dr. Medha Devare is an agronomist and data architect who is helping to lead the new CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture.