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May 02 2017

Credible Data Key for Agricultural Investments and Transformation

 

Kenya to Host Global Summit on Agriculture and Nutrition Data

 

The reality of agriculture – including by smallholder farmers who constitute close to 70 percent of the continent’s population – as an attractive business proposition is fast gaining traction. Another testimony to this encouraging development was the impressive turnout, last week, of private sector representatives to a partners’ breakfast hosted by Hon. Willy Bett, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries.

Participants at the AGRA organized breakfast included leading international and national banks, manufactures of agriculture machineries and equipment, leading insurance companies, agro-chemical and other inputs producers, farmers’ representatives, development partners and high level public officials.

The meeting was a precursor to the Global Open Data on Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) that the Kenyan Government will host in June 2017. This follows a commitment made by the country at the September 2016 GODAN Summit held on the margins of the UN General Assembly, in New York. During the Summit, Kenya accepted to champion the principles of collaboration and use of open data for agriculture and nutrition within the G77 and support to Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) in Africa.

Titled “Catalyzing Agricultural Transformation for Inclusive Growth” the GODAN summit will seek to harness the demographic dividend through investment in food and nutrition data. This harnessing of the demographic dividend theme is indeed the United Nations’ and African Union’s focus this year.

Co-convened by the Government of Kenya, GODAN Secretariat, G77 Secretariat, African Union (NEPAD) and the Platform of African Farmers’ Organizations (PAFO), the Summit will seek to:
• Increase financial, human and technological capacities in the global south for agriculture and nutrition data with an emphasis on SDGs and CAADP.
• Improve coordination of data for agriculture and nutrition across governments, private sector, and academia in the global south.
• Harmonize policies that improve collection, coordination, use, dissemination of agriculture and nutrition data.
• Provide a platform for peer-learning, co-creation and sharing of expertise and practices on proven success on the use of quality data and standards for agriculture and nutrition.
• Create opportunities for the adoption of youth driven agricultural innovations within the public sector.
• Facilitate networking and to showcase proven initiatives on open data for agricultural transformation.

Participation is expected from around 200 high level participants including Ministers of Agriculture and Health (Nutrition), private sector, academia, civil society groups, research networks and development practitioners, G77 Secretariat the United Nations and Multilateral Agencies especially the Africa Development Bank (AfDB), UN Economic Commission for Africa, Asia and Latin America, the African Union Commission, Regional Economic Commissions (RECs) and international organizations.

“Only an evidence-based approach using credible data will help us transform our economies through agriculture. Such data will be useful in engaging with the private sector and other players who are key partners in moving the wheel of development through agriculture transformation,” said Hon. Bett. “In the climate change era where drought has become a new and constant reality we cannot build resilience without the right type of data being available to inform the decisions we make. As an example, we need data for the insurance companies to develop innovative agricultural packages.” He added.