Launching the Data Driven Farming Prize

10 Feb 2017

How can data help Nepali farmers produce higher yields? That is what we are hoping to find out through a Feed the Future Data-Driven Farming competition.

On February 9, 2017, we convened a prestigious panel of movers and shakers in the world of data and agriculture in Nepal to open the competition through an impact-driven engagement on how Data-Driven Farming can help pave the way for stronger and lasting impacts for Nepali farmers.

“Data should no longer reside on computer servers at research institutes.  We must make it open and accessible to Nepal’s farmers, agribusiness owners, and all stakeholders across the agriculture value chain,”

remarked USAID Nepal Mission Director as he opened the Prize and invited participation from a broad range of innovators in Nepal.

Also speaking at the event, Digital Development Advisor Brian King from the U.S. Global Development Lab, shared,

“Industrialized agriculture production is increasingly driven by information. Researchers and private firms have begun to demonstrate that geospatial data, climate data, and data on yields and crop management can be gathered and analyzed over successive seasons to generate timely and localized farming guidance.How this data is best sourced, packaged, delivered to farmers, and sustained is still very much an open question.”  

The challenge is to find tools and approaches that source, analyse and translate data into action and help Nepali smallholder farmers improve productivity. The competition will incentivize a broad range of local and global innovators to catalyse the development of data tools that are tailored for Nepal’s varied terrain. The application deadline is on the 6th of April.

With the collaboration of CIMMYT, ICIMOD, Microsoft innovation Center-Nepal and GODAN as partners of the initiative, the competition will provide a range of capacity development and professional support to enable innovators to effectively develop their prototypes, and interact with Nepal’s farmers to understand their needs.

The event, held at the Yala Maya Kendra, in Patan Dhoka, Nepal, was attended by over 100 participants invested in the agriculture sector in Nepal, including the Ministry of Agriculture, private companies as well as as range of social entrepreneurs and innovators. Discussions reinforced the need for better aggregation, packaging, and dissemination of open data.