Decoding the Data Ecosystem

The CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture is where information becomes power: power to predict, prescribe, and produce more food, more sustainably. It aims to democratize decades of agricultural data empowering analysts, statisticians, programmers and more to mine information for trends and quirks, and develop rapid, accurate and compelling recommendations for farmers, researchers and policymakers.

The data ecosystem for global food security is complex. It is nothing less than all information infrastructures, enabling policies, data sources, modeling and analytic approaches, applications and tools used to capture, store, analyze and apply data for impact in society and in the natural world.

The data ecosystem for food security is also incomplete. The data sources, communications, and connections for food security must bridge scientific disciplines, market and food systems, social and political realities. Data must integrate with natural ecosystems worldwide, from the global to the local, across public, private, and non-profit goods, if humanity is to build the food secure future.

This year’s Convention will take place at the campus of the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF) and will be co-hosted by ICRAF and the International Livestock Research Institute. It is a great opportunity to highlight data-driven approaches to multi-scale food systems analysis, landscapes, ecosystem services, and the special role of animal science in building resilient food systems worldwide.

Three days of focused, action-based discussion to find commonalities across research institutes, governments, and private organizations set the stage for a productive and data-driven year ahead.

We look forward to you joining us for a lively week on this year’s theme: “Decoding the Data Ecosystem.” We’ll dive into ways the data ecosystem for food security can integrate with real ecosystems worldwide, from the global to the local, across public, private, and non-profit goods.


The Platform is led by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).


We are expecting at least 300 members of the scientific community and digital agriculture practitioners to join us in Nairobi to participate in an exciting round of sessions, dynamic discussion groups, an interactive innovation bazaar, and our Inspire Challenge awards night. We are also offering a unique opportunity for industry experts to host their own Q&A session on key topics in their area of expertise. For those who cannot attend in person, we will be streaming the event live online.

Register to join us in Nairobi, Kenya

Join us online via livestreaming


Apply to host a Q&A session

Learn more

We invite industry experts, attending the convention, to apply to host a Q&A session to spearhead discussion on a current topic under their area of specialization. Attendees will receive the application form once registered.


You can expect to hear from more than 60 speakers and industry experts during more than 45 sessions over the course of three days.

We’ve structured the program to be dynamic and interactive, hosting, in addition to structured panel sessions, deep-dive breakout sessions and intimate Q&A’s where you will have direct access to get your burning questions answered by experts who are leaders in their field.

Like last year, will be closing the event with a bang by announcing the winners of the 2018 Inspire Challenge in a special awards ceremony.


60+ Industry expert speakers


Innovations bazaar


Q&A with industry experts


45+ Structured sessions


Inspire Challenge awards ceremony


Fun networking opportunities


Learn from the best

Learn from leading industry experts and scientists, from across the globe, as they discuss current issues and cutting-edge solutions and share their knowledge and expertise.

Expand your network

We are focused on getting people together to connect thought leaders and change-makers in the technology and agriculture world to catalyze impactful new partnerships

Industry Insight

The themes and topics discussed and the innovations presented, are at the frontier of the agricultural transformation. This is your chance to get ahead of the curve and participate in the conversations that will help shape the future of digital agriculture.



Don’t take our word for it – see what our 2017 Convention attendees had to say.

“My biggest takeaway was expanding my network of people doing really interesting things in agriculture research. Specifically identifying areas where that research can be applied to our company.”

Jehiel Oliver

CEO, Hello Tractor

“I’m inspired by the vision of what the group is trying to do. There are 400% more people here than expected. I believe this group has the power to change the world.”

Robin Lougee

Research Industry Lead for Consumer Products & Agriculture, IBM

“We have CGIAR centers and, on the opposite end of the spectrum, for-profit companies like Amazon and IBM, bringing together a diverse community of practitioners using ICTs to fundamentally transform industries. I think this is a first for agriculture.”

Ram Dhulipala

Strategy & Operations Officer, ICRISAT Innovation Hub (iHub)

“The convention is focused on getting people together and opening the conversation. It is a great opportunity to get the big data in agriculture revolution really moving.”

Elwyn Grainger-Jones

Executive Director, CGIAR System Organization


We’ve put together some FAQs and recommendations to help make your travel as smooth as possible.


We have reserved rooms at the Tribe hotel at a reduced rate for event attendees. Bookings must be made using the link below and between September 28 – October 9. Alternatively, you can contact the hotel direct with reference to the event.


To assist you with your visa application, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to help you with the process. We do, however, recommend that you carry out your own additional research and apply well in advance of your travel date.


For additional information about accommodation, event location, local currency and other event information, please check out our FAQ page.