Harvesting Data as a Crop
Harvesting Data as a Crop
Project Info

Harvesting Data as a Crop

Editor-in-Chief

Laura Del Vecchio

image

@thisisengineering @ Unsplash

Placing smallholder farmers at eye-level with big companies.
Placing smallholder farmers at eye-level with big companies.

The usage of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in agri-food businesses ignited countless developments intended to increase food production, improve farming quality and resilience, contribute to food and nutrition security, make the use of natural resources more efficient, and help farmers adapt to the effects of Climate Change. This, in turn, led to a boom in innovative business models, policies, and entire new dynamics, attracting the attention of stakeholders, governments, research projects, and numerous agri-food actors.

Farmer profiling, for example, has for decades been a practice undertaken by governments and companies in an effort to bring about improvements in agri-food systems. By aggregating information about farm location and production, the data collected in farmer profiling help better tailor the necessary support smallholders need, as well as empower them to make more informed decisions. In more recent years, emerging technologies within the branches of Artificial Intelligence, Internet-of-Things (IoT), and Blockchain have had a great influence linking information services, finance, and agricultural inputs, therefore enhancing transparency, traceability, planning, monitoring, assessment, optimization, event management, and forecasting in agribusinesses, particularly in relation to sustainability.

Rice crop

Boglárka Mázsi @ Unsplash

Rice crop

Boglárka Mázsi @ Unsplash

However, similar to other agricultural developments, many of the advantages proposed by the introduction of digital tools are likely to benefit big companies, often placing smallholder farmers last in line to make any profit from data. This is particularly striking considering that smallholder farming is the most prominent occupation in rural areas of developing countries, and smallholder farmers are the biggest contributors to food production worldwide. Yet, simultaneously, in economic terms, they represent one of the most vulnerable social categories in most developing nations, thus extending their limitations of access to digital infrastructure, as the majority of small farmers cannot afford to acquire emerging technological tools. For women farmers, the barriers are more significant, as women generally have less access to technologies, including mobile phones.

Nonetheless, emerging technologies can open up new opportunities. It is how and where these tools are distributed that will break down the obstacles for marginalized and poorer actors in agricultural value chains — in fact, the inclusion of smallholder farmers in the ongoing digitalization movement became a challenge itself. Hence, data democratization, a movement that aims to make digital information (including knowledge access, use, skill capacity, and data security) available to non-technical users, needs to become one of the key drivers for sustainable development.

To harness the value of data as a potential cash crop in agri-food systems, we have created editorial pieces that explore how emerging technologies can help reconfigure data governance and data sovereignty for smallholder farmers. The following editorial pieces intend to provide an in-depth analysis and inspiration on data democratization and redristibution of digital resources, and show how a reformed ecosystem can function that includes agri-food actors, data, and ethical supply chains.

18 topics
Adapting to Climate Change
Agricultural Policy and Rural Development
Agricultural Trade and Standards
Agriculture and Climate Change
Agricultural-based Economic Development
Biological Diversity
Decentralization & Local Governance
Digital Economy
Displacement and Migration
Digital Governance and Society
Employment and Labour Markets
Environment Policy, Economics, and Management
Food and Nutrition Security
Green Economy
Inclusive Finance
Natural Resources
Regional and Sectoral Economic Development
Rural Agricultural and SME Finance
13 SDGs
01 No Poverty
02 Zero Hunger
03 Good Health and Well-Being
05 Gender Equality
08 Decent Work and Economic Growth
09 Industry, innovation and infrastructure
10 Reduce inequalities
12 Responsible Consumption and Production
13 Climate Action
15 Life On Land
16 Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
17 Partnerships for the Goals
11 Sustainable Cities and Communities

Related Content

1 editorial projects
4 technology domains
5 technology applications
5 industries
  • Agriculture
  • Energy
  • Environment & Resources
  • Manufacturing & Production
  • Food
18 topics
  • Adapting to Climate Change
  • Agricultural Policy and Rural Development
  • Agricultural Trade and Standards
  • Agriculture and Climate Change
  • Agricultural-based Economic Development
  • Biological Diversity
  • Decentralization & Local Governance
  • Digital Economy
  • Displacement and Migration
  • Digital Governance and Society
  • Employment and Labour Markets
  • Environment Policy, Economics, and Management
  • Food and Nutrition Security
  • Green Economy
  • Inclusive Finance
  • Natural Resources
  • Regional and Sectoral Economic Development
  • Rural Agricultural and SME Finance
13 SDGs
  • 01 No Poverty
  • 02 Zero Hunger
  • 03 Good Health and Well-Being
  • 05 Gender Equality
  • 08 Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • 09 Industry, innovation and infrastructure
  • 10 Reduce inequalities
  • 12 Responsible Consumption and Production
  • 13 Climate Action
  • 15 Life On Land
  • 16 Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
  • 17 Partnerships for the Goals
  • 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities