Food systems for times of crisis: upcoming conference shares how big data can help

Innovations in digital tools and technologies, particularly ‘big data’ collection and management, provide fresh opportunities to(re)build systems and address food security issues more effectively across the globe.

[15 October 2020] – The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for agile, dynamic food systems that can adapt quickly to changing circumstances and manage or avert future crises. Supply chain issues are increasing food prices in many countries, while job losses and falling incomes further affect people’s access to nutritious food: the UN World Food Programme estimates that an additional 130 million people could be faced with acute food insecurity by the end of this year.

Innovations in digital tools and technologies, particularly ‘big data’ collection and management, provide fresh opportunities to(re)build systems and address food security issues more effectively across the globe.

The CGIAR convention on Big Data in Agriculture 2020: Digital Dynamism for Adaptive Food Systems, aims to help enable data analysts, programmers, agripreneurs, policymakers, food companies, civil society organizations and local actors to connect, level up, and co-create the resilient and adaptive food systems of the future.

“In a very short period the industry–worldwide–recognized the value of the agile, adaptable capabilities that only data and digital tools can enable,” said Brian King, coordinator of the CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture.

“Over the past few months, we’ve seen accelerated forms of market intermediation, new methods for monitoring the unfolding food security challenges, transformed innovation processes, and a surge in new digital collaboration between diverse actors. The global food system became more digital; it became more dynamic. This is our chance to come together, consolidate that progress, take stock of what we have learned and translate it into action for resilience in global food.”

The event, to be held online from 19-13 October, will be the first One CGIAR hosted convention and will feature insights from each of the CGIAR’s global research Centers.

“Innovation at the intersection of digital and life sciences is one of the most potent tools we have for addressing humanity’s most pressing challenges to help transform food, land, and water systems”, said Claudia Sadoff, Managing Director, Research Delivery and Impact, CGIAR System Organization.

“During this pandemic, on the ground digital projects from CGIAR provided high-frequency data, leveraged novel channels for disseminating information, and mechanisms for getting support like microcredits out quickly to vulnerable farmers to weather the crisis, demonstrating how digitally dynamic technologies can transform food systems to be agile and resilient in the face of crisis.”

The conference will explore four key themes: examining the promise of agile digital technologies, including the role of analytic frameworks and big data computation; exploring the interactions between natural and digital ecosystems; measuring and building food system resilience in times of crisis; and considering how to ensure that digital transformation in value chains is as inclusive as possible.

In order to be as accessible as possible, the event is free of charge. To request more information and acquire a media pass, please email m.mcdade@cgiar.org and include your media credentials.

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About the CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture
The CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture embraces the power of big data analytics, supporting CGIAR as it becomes a leader in generating actionable data-driven insights. It builds capacity throughout CGIAR to generate and manage big data, assisting CGIAR and its partners’ efforts to comply with open access/open data principles to unlock important research and datasets. It also empowers researchers to strengthen data analytical capacity, developing practical big data tools and services in a coordinated way, and it addresses critical gaps, both organizational and technical, expanding the horizon of CGIAR research. The Platform is co-led by the Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

CGIAR is a global research partnership for a food-secure future dedicated to reducing poverty, enhancing food and nutrition security, and improving natural resources. The Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT and IFPRI are CGIAR Research Centers.

October 15, 2020

BIG DATA Team


CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture
Cali

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