Data from plant clinics is contributing to Trinidad and Tobago’s agricultural database

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Roshni Ramsingh (left) and Gayatri Singh-Ramlogan identify the Cushiony Cotton Scales pest on a plant specimen (Photo: MoALF)

Home gardening enthusiasts and farmers from as far as Rio Claro seized the opportunity to have their plant sicknesses diagnosed at a plant clinic hosted by Trinidad and Tobago’s Ministry of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries (MoALF) at its Farmers’ Training Centre in Centeno. After a in-depth one-on-one discussion with Ministry representatives from the Extension, Training and Information Services Division (ETIS), participants were each given a prescription sheet which captured a host of valuable information, including a description of the plant problem and the recommended control measures.

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Game changers: digital agriculture and new technologies

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Tablets being used at a Plantwise plant clinic in India. Photo: CABI

ICTs play a pivotal role in facilitating solutions for smallholder farmers and the markets they are trying to access. For GLOBALG.A.P., the world’s leading farm assurance program, the only way to make the auditing of the 160,000 farms it covers economically viable is through technological solutions. CABI’s Plantwise programme also relies on ICTs for collecting data from plant clinics and to share plant health knowledge via the Knowledge Bank. Similarly, the provision of micro-finance and insurance services for smallholder farmers has only been made possible through advances in mobile technology.

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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.”

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Who owns open agricultural data?

This is an edited re-blog from an Open Data Institute (ODI) blog post published under Creative Commons BY-SA 2.0 UK license

by Martin Parr, Head of Open Data at CABI. Follow Martin on Twitter.

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Plantwise plant doctor gives advice to a farmer and delivers it by SMS. Credit: Holly Wright, copyright: CABI.

The Plantwise programme has developed a knowledge bank to share Good Agricultural Practice and a very high level of anonymised data about incidences of plant pests and diseases.

Success of the CABI Plantwise programme is measured by the extent to which it provides advice to farmers, agencies and governments in tackling pests. Increasingly it’s moving away from solely giving advice at a local level, to also understanding national, regional and global trends.

Through our partnerships with governments, extension workers, NGOs and others on the ground, we’ve collected data through thousands of recorded consultations with farmers. To date, we’ve documented 150,000 cases globally in 34 countries which highlight the everyday concerns of small- and medium-sized farms around the world.

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Open Data & Farming 101

GODAN-Logoby Ben Schaap, Tim Davies and Ana Brandusescu, GODAN

What is open data?

We all make decisions everyday based on different sources of information. Much of that information ultimately starts out as digital data. Open data is about changing the default, so that instead of being locked away for the benefit of a few, data is accessible as widely as possible.

Open data is data that anyone can access, use and share. In practice, that means making data accessible online, putting in standard digital forms which are machine-readable and having terms or licenses that allow anyone to reuse the data for anything [1]. Continue reading

Plantwise knowledge bank wins Open Data Award for Social Impact

Plant doctors in Kenya help advise farmers about sick crops at a local plant clinic with the help of the Plantwise knowledge bank Factsheet Library app. (Photo Wright/CABI)
Plant doctors in Kenya help advise farmers about sick crops at a local plant clinic with the help of the Plantwise knowledge bank Factsheet Library app. (Photo Wright/CABI)

On 4 November, the CABI-led Plantwise programme was announced as the winner of the Open Data Award for Social Impact. This is the latest accolade for this innovative open access platform for knowledge to help farmers lose less of what they grow to crop pests and diseases. Plantwise knowledge bank Global Director Shaun Hobbs accepted the award from Open Data Institute Chairman and Co-founder Sir Nigel Shadbolt at the ODI Summit gala dinner at the Museum of London.

Also nominated for the Social Impact award category were communications development consultancy Internews and the UNHCR Data Portal.

With this award, the Open Data Institute celebrates ‘innovation and excellence in the ways open data are used and published,’ as judged by a panel of industry experts, influencers and leaders in the field of open-access technology. It is hoped that recognition of Plantwise knowledge bank will continue to drive other public and private organisations to collaborate for the benefit of rural communities and global food security.

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