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Food security group, Linux Foundation working on crop data standard

'Sharing of agricultural data can help develop solutions to some of the food system's most pressing challenges'

Food security group CGIAR is working with the Linux Foundation to standardize data sharing about agricultural fields on a global scale.

The partnership aims to unify data standards and operating procedures to support the sharing and use of field boundary data, which they suggest could deliver benefits for the 500 million smallholder farmers that produce about a third of the world's food.

Sumer Johal, exec director of The AgStack Project at the Linux Foundation, said: "CGIAR and the Linux Foundation are natural partners. Both are trusted intermediaries with global partner networks, facilitating pre-competitive collaboration and products for the public good. Together we can help remove the blockages around working with field data in a community-driven way."

According to the AgStack Project website, it "seeks to improve global agriculture efficiency through the creation, maintenance and enhancement of free, re-usable, open and specialized digital infrastructure for data and applications."

Food security is a growing concern in the face of climate change, population growth, and events like Russia's war in Ukraine, one of the world's top three grain exporters, upending the "breadbasket of Europe."

As a result, the agriculture sector is increasingly looking at digitalization for the sake of optimization and efficiency, though CGIAR and the Linux Foundation note that "adoption and use of data-enabled applications is still fragmented and crop specific."

CGIAR's Digital Innovation and Transformation Initiative (DI/DX) hopes to support the development of cost-effective digital innovations in agriculture, of which field data is a central component.

Such data is important because it can be used to calculate yields and efficiently guide inputs like fertilizer and seeds. Financial services providers could also refer to the data in order to tailor loans and insurance for smallholder farmers.

On a global scale, the data could help researchers predict shifts in the suitability of crop growing zones and prepare food systems for climate change.

"Global agriculture is increasingly driven by data. The sharing and exchange of well-described, reusable agricultural data can help develop solutions to some of the global food system's most pressing challenges," said Jawoo Koo, lead of the DI/DX Initiative at CGIAR.

"Despite growing demand, poor adoption of standards and fragmentation in the digital agriculture sector have hindered access to the data needed to drive innovation. Our new partnership with the Linux Foundation aims to change this and serve a new generation of digital agri-food services with the speed and scale to revolutionize food, land and water systems."

Headquartered in Montpelier, France, CGIAR was founded in 1971 and aims to reduce rural poverty, increase food security, improve human health and nutrition, and sustainable management of natural resources.

It has an annual research portfolio of just over $900 million with more than 9,000 staff working in 89 countries around the world and is funded by its members. ®

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