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G8 - Open Data for Agriculture

Begins:   Apr 29, 2013 08:30
Ends:   Apr 30, 2013 18:00

G8 Open Data for Agriculture

The G8 Conference on Open Data for Agriculture has now ended.  The recorded webcasts for the two day event are available below.

April 29, 2013 | Day 1 Video
8:30am-6:30pm EST

April 30, 2013 | Day 2 Video
9:00am-6:00pm EST

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At the 2012 G-8 Summit, G-8 leaders committed to the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, the next phase of a shared commitment to achieving global food security.

As part of this commitment, they agreed to “share 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.”

On April 29-30, the G8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture brought together open data and agriculture experts along with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park, and World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development Rachel Kyte to explore more opportunities for open data and knowledge sharing that can help farmers and governments in Africa and around the globe protect their crops from pests and extreme weather, increase their yields, monitor water supplies, and anticipate planting seasons that are shifting with climate change.


April 29



  • Chris Vein, Chief Innovation Officer for Global ICT Development, World Bank
  • Secretary Vilsack, U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Bill Gates, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Rachel Kyte, Vice President for Sustainable Development, World Bank
  • Todd Park, Chief Technology Officer, White House

Lightning Presentations

  • Kevin Gandhi, Digital Green Videos
  • Dr. Philip Parker, INSEAD Chair Professor
  • Paul Parker, Columbia University
  • Sean Obetz, ICON Group International
  • Soonho Kim, IFPRI CGIAR
  • Shaifali Puri, Scientists Without Borders

Networking Break-Out


Lightening Presentations

  • Dr. Howard Shapiro, Mars Inc.
  • Vladimir Eskin, AfDB
  • Dr. Christopher Justice, GEO-GLAM
  • Dr. Patricio Grassini, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Charles Iceland, World Resource Institute
  • Dr. Tad Sonstegard, USDA

Information is Power

How science, innovation, and open source data can transform global fight against hunger and poverty



  • Margaret M. Zeigler, Ph.D., Executive Director, Global Harvest Initiative
  • Dr. Derek Yach, Executive Director, The Vitality Institute
  • Dr. Jason Clay, Senior Vice President, Markets, World Wildlife Fund

Introduction to Open Data: The Technical Details

What makes data open and why are governments interested in sharing it? From creating economic value to improving services to citizens, the ability for governments to publish open data is essential in today’s environment. Learn the basics of how this is happening around the world today, and what benefits governments are seeing in opening agricultural data to entrepreneurs, researchers, farmers, citizens, businesses, and other governments.


  • Chris Vein, Chief Innovation Officer for Global ICT Development, World Bank


  • Nick Sinai, Deputy Chief Technology Officer, The White House
  • Dr. Steven Walker, CIO, Treasury Board, Canada
  • Dr. Ian Opperman, CSIRO, Australia
  • Dan Brickley,, Google
  • Andy Isaacson, Palantir
  • Dr. Aboubacar Diaby, AGRA

Networking Break-Out

An Australian Open Data Platform Bringing the Power of Big Data to Communities

  • Ros Harvey, Founding Director Sense-T 

Agricultural Open Data: Implications for Developing Countries

Governments in developed countries are working hard to make agriculture data open for others and accessible to farmers. This panel will focus on the implications of open data, potentially a significant resource for developing countries working to help poor farmers increase their productivity.


  • Julie Howard, Chief Scientist, USAID


  • Antonio Limbau, Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Mozambique
  • Hirano Katsumi, Area Studies Center, Japan
  • Stanley Wood, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Sean Krepp, Grameen AppLab, Uganda

Good Practice, Access Barriers and Existing Gaps: Deriving needs from an African Perspective

This session combines past experiences on existing information systems in Africa with an outline for data needs from the perspective of different African target groups. Data acquisition, analysis and interpretation and feedbacks between providers and users of the planned database is not only an administrative but also a scientific task. Together with colleagues from Africa the session addresses the availability, accessibility and usability of relevant data on production, resources, conditions (weather, environmental, water availability, soil quality, etc.), markets, prices and food security of different types of households.


  • Martin Banse, Director and Professor, Thünen Institute, Germany


  • Martin Köhler, Director, Ministry of Agriculture, Germany
  • Emmanuel Tambi, FARA, Ghana
  • Dorcas Mwakoi, Agricultural Sector Coordination Unit, Kenya
  • Jörg Lohmann, GIZ, Germany

How recent G8/G20 research initiatives can contribute to the Open Data for Agriculture system

Following a short presentation of relevant G8/G20 initiatives, each speaker will analyze the ways this initiative will/could contribute to Open Data for Agriculture. Furthermore, the conditions for this initiative to benefit from Open Data for Agriculture should be discussed. A wrap-up round table discussion at the end of the session should highlight key messages.


  • Marion Guillou, Chair or Agreenium, Agriculture Chief Scientist, France


  • Sarah Lawan, On behalf of Ibrahim Mayaki, CEO, NEPAD
  • Barbara Ryan, Secretariat Director, Intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations
  • Hèlène Lucas, International Scientific Coordinator, The Wheat Initiative
  • Joseph Glauber, President, Agricultural Market Information System
  • Christian Hoste, Chair of interim Steering Committee, Tropical Agriculture Platform

April 30



  • Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Acting NOAA Administrator

What does Open Data Look Like?

This session will provide some case studies of the use of open data to illustrate some of the issues associated with presentation of the data in a way which optimises its usefulness for end-users. It will consider different types of data, guiding principles, and different uses of data, including both research data and national agricultural data-sets.


  • Tim Benton, Champion, UK Global Food Security Programme, UK


  • Johannes Keizer, Team Leader, FAO United Nations, Italy
  • Dr. Sander Janssen, Wageningen, Netherlands
  • Dr. Rajeev Varshney, Director, Center of Excellence in Genomics (CEG), ICRISAT, Hyderabad, India
  • Mr. Marc Bernard, Federal Agency for Agriculture and Food, Bonn, Germany

Networking Break-Out 

Open Data Productivity Growth

  • Margaret M. Zeigler, Ph.D., Executive Director, Global Harvest Initiative
  • Richard Kottmeyer, Global Ag and Food Production Leader, Accenture

Making Agricultural Open Data Useful: Interoperability and Accessibility

Providing open data is the first step to using open data, but it also needs to be clear, well structured, and accessible to developers, researchers, and analysts to create meaningful value. This session helps to clearly explain the importance and approach to making data accessible and interoperable. This sets in place the capabilities for looking at international, cross-border analysis and intelligence to support food security issues from climate change to crop viability.



  • Danielle Gould, Food + Tech, USA
  • Jimmy Wambua, MFarm, Kenya
  • Professor Jim Hendler, RPI, USA
  • Edwin Opare, Technical Lead and Open Data Evangelist, Ghana Open Data Initiative, Ghana
  • Chris Greer, Associate Director, IT Lab, NIST, USA

The Rice Bowl Index: Open Data, Open Dialogue 

  • Andrew McConville, Head of Corporate Affairs, Syngenta Asia Pacific, Singapore
  • Richard Leggett, CEO, Frontier Strategy Group, USA

Platforms and Technology for Releasing Open Data

This session will consider some of the technical aspects of sharing different types of data. Examples will be given of challenges encountered and overcome in relation to improving the interoperability of existing datasets and platforms. Data infrastructure solutions and services that facilitate integrated access to existing data sources by wide user communities will be presented.


  • James Macklin, Research Scientist, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Canada


  • Paul Kersey, Coordinator, Trans-national Infrastructure for Plant Genomic Science (transPLANT), Framework 7 Program, European Union; Lead, Ensembl Genomes, European Bioinformatics Institute, Cambridge, UK
  • Pankaj Jaiswal, Oregon State University
  • Dr Josef Schmidhuber, Deputy Director of FAO Statistics Division Group, Italy
  • Miguel Angel Sicilia, University of Alcalá, Spain
  • Jacques Delince, Unit Head, JRC, EC, Spain
  • Jawoo Koo, Research Fellow, IFPRI

Networking Break (no presentation)



What is the demand for data for science and for policy in Africa?

We need to fully understand the demand for data from Africa if we are to design and implement effective ways of sharing information. The session will hear from a number of prominent and innovative thinkers, who will explore the challenges facing African agriculture and how we can understand and meet the demand for the right information that addresses them.


  • Prof. Tim Wheeler, Deputy Chief Scientific Adviser, DFID, UK


  • Prof. Maggie Gill, Senior Research Fellow at DFID, UK
  • Aaron Clapp, Hubbard Decision Research, USA
  • Prof. Tim Benton,Head of Global Food Security Programme, UK
  • Trevor Nicholls, the CEO of CABI, UK

World Bank: Open Data and Global Agricultural Statistics for Use by African Policy Makers

A panel will discuss constraints and political realities of data sharing and implementation of the Global Strategy to Improve Agriculture and Rural Statistics. Panelists will also address how governments and other policy makers may analyze, use, and deploy knowledge gained from open data and what the anticipated benefits may be for African countries



Delivering on the Value of Ag Open Data Globally: leveraging the value of scientific open data from the research laboratory to the field

This session demonstrates the impact of genomic and genetics open data on food security and showcases applications of open data. The session starts with the use of open data to strengthen corn and cassava improvement in Africa and moves to promising new international alliances to expand accessibility to open data to protect crops from disease and climate change. The session ends with future ideas on delivery of open data to scientists and farmers via both computer and cell phone.


  • Kay Simmons, Deputy Administrator, USDA


  • Edward Buckler, Research Geneticist, USDA
  • Katherine Kahn, Senior Program Officer, Agricultural Development, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, USA
  • Chiedozie Egesi, National Root Crops Research Institute, Nigeria
  • Dan Stanzione, Deputy Director, Industrial Programs Group, Texas Advanced Computing Center; Principal Investigator, iPLANT Collaborative, USA

Open Data: Challenges for the Future

Leveraging Open Data to Accelerate the Development and Delivery of Farmer-preferred Product and Services in Africa

  • David Bergvinson, Deputy Director, Digital Design for Agriculture, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, USA

Concluding Remarks

  • Shaida Badiee, Director, Development Economics Data Group, World Bank


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