Plantwise showcases open access Knowledge Bank at global open data summit

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Dr Nicholls addressing the GODAN Summit; © Diana Szpotowicz

Last week, CABI and Plantwise representatives attended the GODAN Summit in New York, the largest event ever planned for open data in agriculture and nutrition. It brought together key stakeholders from around the world to consider how open data can help achieve Zero Hunger – one of the key Sustainable Development Goals (SDG2).

Speaking at the opening session of the Summit on the 15th September, CABI CEO, Dr Trevor Nicholls, called for action. “As a GODAN partner and donor we know the importance of building core GODAN principles into what we do as well as what we say. We cannot remain still. Innovation is essential.”

Dr Nicholls set out CABI’s open data commitments, including advocating for increased openness of data and information to help the world lose less of what it grows.

“It is a shocking fact that on average 40 per cent of crop yields are lost due to pests, diseases and invasive species, pre- and post-harvest worldwide. For every percentage point reduction we can make in these losses, we can feed another 25 million people”

In his presentation, Dr Nicholls drew attention to two of CABI’s innovative programmes –Plantwise and the Invasive Species Programme – both of which help smallholder farmers improve their livelihoods and food security. The plant health data gathered at the 1,800 Plantwise plant clinics that take place around the world give unparalleled early insights into the emergence and spread of crop pests on the ground. On Invasive species, CABI has collaborated to develop the Invasive Species Compendium – the world’s largest open access compilation of scientific information about invasive pests. By the end of 2016, CABI will make this a unique open data resource.

Also speaking at the event was Dr Shaun Hobbs, Global Director of the Plantwise Knowledge Bank. Dr Hobbs presented on how the Knowledge Bank links all actors in the plant health system and how the data collected at plant clinics can be used for tracking pest outbreaks and checking the quality of advice given at a national level, for monitoring and evaluation at a programme level and for the prediction of pest movements due to climate change at a global level.

GODAN – the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition initiative – has more than 350 global partners, including CABI, which hosts the initiative’s international secretariat at their headquarters in Wallingford, in the United Kingdom.

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