Showcasing the impact of Open Data in the agricultural sector

ODWG-meeting
Could we develop showcases that could show to governments the impact of open data? This is exactly what we are trying to do in the Greek Open Data Working Group.
The Open Data Working Group operated in the context The Greek Free/Open Source Software Society (GFOSS) was set up two years ago and aims at proposing to the Greek Government answers about the following questions
  • which are the most useful and critical data from public sector that should be opened
  • which are the main barriers for the dissemination and exploitation of open data by citizens and stakeholders from public and private sector
  • which should be the legal framework for opening the data

 

ODWG-meeting
The main initial outcome of the working group towards that direction is a set of showcases per sector in order to show the social and economical impact of open data.

Agro-Know was invited at an early stage to the working group to lead the development of the showcases for the agriculture and food sector. Based on the several activities related to open data that our team is working on we proposed a number of potential showcases focused on food safety, assets management and decision making in the agricultural food sector.  In the first meeting of working group we presented potential showcases and on the second meeting we focused on real cases from the agricultural domain taking advantage of the existing collaborations that our team has.

After proposing and discussing the several showcases we decided to focus first on the case of the Agricultural Cooperative Stevia Hellas, a new cooperative that was set up two years ago at the region of Central Greece. The main idea behind this showcase is to open the data about the availability of agricultural machinery in order to enhance the collaboration of a community of farmers. By talking to farmers we identified that one of the main problems that they are facing is the sharing of new and specialised machinery. Although such machinery can be owned by some growers in the area this information is not always available in an easy and accessible way and this greatly prohibits the sharing of the machinery. The prototype that was developed with the help of our colleagues in Stevia Hellas Coop can be found here along with an infographic that shows the results of sharing a seeding machine.

The specific showcase and its results showed that cataloguing all the machinery and making this information available online can be very beneficial for a community of farmers. The main benefits for the community are

  • take advantage of new expensive specialised agricultural equipment that a single farmer is not always capable of acquiring
  • save human resources and money by sharing the equipment. Saved resources can be used to improve other cultivation steps
Although the specific showcase focuses on private sector it clearly shows to governments that the opening of such information has financial impact as the sharing of specialised machinery can reduce the cost of cultivation and make the Greek products more competitive. Existing catalogues of agricultural assets owned by governments could be opened under specific legal framework to growers’ groups such as cooperatives to enable the set up of applications that will enhance a community.
Agro-Know is also exploring with Stevia Hellas Coop the possibility of opening additional information about Coop’s stevia product such as the product identity (origin, grower, processes and standards followed during the cultivation) that could make more transparent the path from farm to fork and subsequently enhance the trust of the consumer. More on this to come soon…

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