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2018 Winner

Revealing informal food flows through free WiFi

The Inspire Challenge is an initiative to challenge partners, universities, and others to use CGIAR data to create innovative pilot projects that will scale. We look for novel approaches that democratize data-driven insights to inform local, national, regional, and global policies and applications in agriculture and food security in real time; helping people–especially smallholder farmers and producers–to lead happier and healthier lives.

This proposal was selected as a 2018 winner, with the team receiving 100,000 USD to put their ideas into practice. 

Revealing informal food flows through free WiFi

Despite of being the main source of food for the poor and also of food safety hazard, food flows at traditional and informal markets are largely invisible. This means that informal flows are mostly ignored in urban food planning and programming.

This project proposes to characterize and monitor food flows between traders, retailers and consumers in Hanoi, Vietnam by providing free Internet to a series of wholesale and markets around the city. Project partners CIAT and GSO will survey actors and track in space and time all the devices (connected or not) in the range of the router and signal amplifiers. By crossing the data gathered the initiative aims to model food flows and linked actors at key markets

Unraveling informal food flows will contribute to identify better policy and planning options to upgrade distribution channels in a way that benefits the poor.


Nguyen Cong Thang | Email
Agriculture Department Vice-Director, General Statistics Office (GSO) of Vietnam

Stef De Haan | Email
Senior Scientist at CIAT

Louis Reymondin | Email
Scientist at CIAT

Dharani Burra | Email
Data Scientist at CIAT

Huong Pham Thi | Email
Research Assistant at CIAT