Open data ag research topic of G-8 meeting

by Laura Lloyd
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WASHINGTON – Officials from the US Agency for International Development and the US Department of Agriculture, as well as representatives from Japan, Uganda and Mozambique, will attend the G-8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture April 29-30 in Washington.

The conference will explore the role of open data in increasing agricultural production, improving private sector growth, and ensuring global food security. The US and private sector partners will announce newly opened and accessible data sets and innovators will present solutions that demonstrate the potential impact of sharing data.

The official US delegation will be headed by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.

“I am pleased to partner with G-8 colleagues in ensuring that agriculturally relevant data is readily available to users around the world,” Vilsack said. “By making our data accessible and encouraging others to do the same, we will enable collaborations that will spur innovation and increase economic growth around the world.”

Open data means that information is freely available to the public. In the case of food security research, open data would mean that scientists all over the world would have unrestricted access to relevant research, increasing the chances of beneficial innovations in the field. Hopes are that open data will help find solutions to alleviate or eliminate world hunger and malnutrition, which the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization estimates affects more than 870 million people worldwide.

The April conference follows a commitment made at the 2012 Summit that was related to the launch of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, an effort by the G-8, partner governments, and the private sector to work on moving 50 million people in sub-Saharan Africa out of poverty by 2022 through inclusive agricultural growth.

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