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.
Crop modeling is just one form of agricultural research that may benefit from the unified approach of the CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture.
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.
One-third of carbon emissions are absorbed by the earth’s biosphere. After forests, agricultural lands and wetlands have the most potential to do this. A panel of experts convened at COP24 last week to discuss ways in which this potential can be realized.
“If Google can do driverless cars, and we can tell a coffeemaker to start brewing while we’re still asleep,” Dr. Mercy Lung’aho tells Food Tank, “we can do something about malnutrition.”
Could making agricultural data open and accessible to everyone open the door to greater impact and better food system solutions?
“With this collection safely conserved, we can continue to use it to develop improved rice varieties that farmers can use to respond to the challenges in rice production, and to adapt to the changing tastes and preferences of consumers everywhere.”
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.
At the intersection of climate change, agriculture, and economy, strategic foresight modeling looks ahead to inform better decisionmaking in agriculture.
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.