Call to Innovators: Apply To Present at G-8 Conference on Open Data for Agriculture

February 18, 2013
Women Pluck Rice Grass From a Nursery in Kenya

About the Authors: Catherine Woteki serves as Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics and Chief Scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Nick Sinai serves as the U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer.

In an exciting opportunity, the G-8 is inviting innovators to apply to present ideas that demonstrate how open data can be unleashed to increase food security at the G-8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture on April 29-30, 2013 in Washington, D.C.

Open data is being used by innovators and entrepreneurs around the world to accelerate development, whether it be tracking election transparency in Kenya or providing essential information to rural farmers in Uganda. The G-8 conference will convene policy makers, thought leaders, food security stakeholders, and data experts to discuss the role of public, agriculturally-relevant data in increasing food security and to build a strategy to spur innovation by making agriculture data more accessible. As part of the conference, selected applicants will be invited to showcase innovative uses of open data for food security in either a Lightning Presentation (a 3-5 minute, image-rich presentation on the first day of the conference) or in the Exhibit Hall (an image-rich exhibit on display throughout the two-day conference).

Presentations should inspire others to share their data or imagine how open data could be used to increase food security. Presentations may include existing, new, or proposed applications of open data to improve food security and should meet one or more of the following criteria:

(1) Demonstrate the impact of open data on food security;

(2) Demonstrate the impact of access to agriculturally-relevant data on developed and/or developing countries; and/or

(3) Demonstrate the impact of bringing multiple sources of agriculturally-relevant public and/or private open data together.

At last year's G-8 Summit in Washington D.C., leaders committed to the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition -- including an agreement to "[s]hare relevant agricultural data available from G-8 countries with African partners and convene an international conference on Open Data for Agriculture, to develop options for the establishment of a global platform to make reliable agricultural and related information available to African farmers, researchers and policymakers, taking into account existing agricultural data systems."

The upcoming G-8 Summit is consistent with the many successful White House Open Data Initiative events held recently to highlight and celebrate innovations fueled by open, accessible data. For example, in the fall of 2012, the White House hosted a number of "Datapaloozas" and "Data Jams" focused on safety, energy, education, and global development that convened hundreds of government, non-profit, and private sector innovators to share ideas and applications that rely on open government data to improve lives. The events featured such innovations as a mobile application that connects people in cardiac distress with nearby CPR-certified citizens; a service that monitors consumer electric bills and sends helpful reminder "nudges" and has resulted in over $225 million in cost savings; and an interactive platform that uses data to develop a personalized learning experience for students.

For more information on the conference and to submit your application, please visit the conference website or email

Editor's Note: This entry also appears on the White House, USDA, and Feed the Future blogs.



Patrick A.
South Africa
February 23, 2013

Patrick in South Africa writes:

Many thanks to the US for such opportunity.

As a Ghanaian, talking about food security, I will start with the fertile soil of Ghana and our large water bodies around.

Most of our farmers depends on seasons to plant which I think there should be something done quickly about such, because season or not we eat so we should always apply the western style of farming to help in our farming and to reduce the high cost of food prices.

Example like watering of farm, it always pains me if am to think about how we water our plants whiles there are much better ways of doing so especially using modern technology, but it expensive and we cant afford such.

A person like me growing up in a rural area, I realize transportation was a very big challenge to most of our farmers because of the high prices of transportation across the country and the construction of poor roads also especially in rural areas.

In most of the villages where farming is their main occupation encounter challenges with roads, even if a road is provided it does not last long typical example like Ankuada, a small village in the central region which can be found at Elmina.
There was a new road constructed and within weeks as the road was still in progress there was potholes in the finish parts.

Most farmers like small scale farming which is also a big issue, because it does not help, making them poor because they have dedicated their lives on their work and are not gaining much from such farming.

Taking for instance the North part of Ghana, majority depends on farming and it takes a very long distance to the capital city Accra, transportation is also a very big issue which if I may suggest the Government should help with very long trains across most agricultural areas in Ghana to help easily transportation.

Ghana is having a fertile soil and in other to help 1. There should a large scale farming to help employment also.
2. There should be enough training to help the farmers.
3.The implement of modern technology should be adopted to help easily farming.
4.The Government should help import more farming equipments and reduce the prices to our farmers.
5.The prices of farming equipments, fertilizers e.t.c should be reduce to help our farmers.
6.Attentions should be given to farmers.

As a boy growing up in Elmina, one of the main problem which is worrying us is the use of Large Fishing boats, which worry us a lot because they always operate not the distance given to them but come closer and this has been worrying our fisherman's.
The Governments need to be ensure such fishing boats operate withing their limits.

Lastly, we should be encourage in farming because most of us dislike talking or working in farming but we always eat and expect low prices of food.

Thank You.
Your Sincerely,
Patrick Afotey Annan.


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