My takeaways as a Youth in Data delegate at the 2019 BIG DATA convention
Here is a sneak peek into my experience as a youth delegate during the 2019 BIG DATA convention.
CGIAR´s annual Big Data in Agriculture Convention brings together the international research and development community to discuss how to leverage big data knowledge to empower small-scale farmers and improve food security and sustainability.
This year, the BIG DATA convention, held 16-18 October, was hosted by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), and the theme was TRUST: Humans, machines & ecosystems.
Some of the topics of discussion at the convention included digital agriculture, smart monitoring, and disease detection, all with the primary goal of improving global food security.
There were Q&As with industry experts, an innovations bazaar, more than 50 structured sessions, as well as fun networking opportunities. Youth engaged with the event through the Youth in Data workshop, during which they interviewed the 2019 Inspire Challenge contenders.
The 2019 Youth in Data Meda Bootcamp was the second gathering of youth participants at the annual Big Data in Agriculture Convention. Delegates train for two days on how to use digital media as a powerful tool to communicate about agricultural development challenges. The Youth in Data Delegates are invited to learn, socialize, meet experts, ask questions, and use social media to create more opportunities for both themselves and the agricultural field.
As a student of mass communication and journalism, I had the opportunity to attend this convention as a Youth in Data delegate. It was a great learning experience and the results and rewards were icing on the cake.
Here is a sneak peek into my experience as a youth delegate during the 2019 BIG DATA convention:
Digital agriculture and opportunities for youth
In the smartphone era, what cannot be done with a single click?
From common tasks such as accessing the internet to activities such as fishing, our daily activities are becoming increasingly digital. An example of this movement towards digitization is digital agriculture which includes the detection and treatment of plant diseases, data collection, and estimation of water levels, use of pesticides, and many more important aspects of farming.
Digital agriculture, a newer space within the agricultural sector, has the potential to engage with youth across the globe, as they become the farmers of the next generation and take up agriculture as a profession in careers ranging from farming, agri-business to agritech.
The Inspire Challenge is the BIG DATA Platforms’ signature digital innovation process. It leverages the global footprint and deep food security subject matter expertise of CGIAR with expert industry partners to link digital technologies to impact in developing economies. It encourages students, researchers, start-ups, and companies around the world to identify an agricultural development challenge and put forth an innovative solution that uses big data. At the end of the third day of the Convention, awards and rewards were announced and winners were given funding to implement and expand their ideas.
I had the opportunity to interview Inspire Challenge finalist team from the project: Real-time East Africa live groundwater use database, who explained that water is one of the most needed renewable resources at the moment and how their project approaches this challenge. The team are using big data to regulate groundwater levels to provide farmers with greater access to low-cost solar pumps, allowing them to increase their productivity.
Additionally, the project turns the network of solar pumps developed by Futurepump into IoT devices linked to an open, online water information platform at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI). The system would then be able to provide real-time information on water withdrawal, area irrigated, and energy use.
David Wiberg project lead from IWMI explained:
“Groundwater hasn’t been explored fully. Information from the solar pumps can be used for setting up better sustainable policies for the ground water level.”
Finally, one of my clearest Convention takeaways on the subject of trust came from Senior Research Fellow & Module Lead at the CGIAR Big Data for Agriculture Platform, Medha Devare, “In terms of data, trust is a multilayered entity, and building trust among the data sharers and data consumers is a key element in any sector.”
December 1, 2019
Rangaraju Sai Meghana
2019 Youth in Data Delegate