The idea of providing agricultural information freely is not entirely new. Data has been made available in the past by various agencies and research organisations, but the amount of data being generated now is increasing, as is our ability to share it effectively. This is leading to a growing interest in making good use of it.
There's a global refocusing on agriculture, which is positive and necessary," says Johannes Keizer, the information systems officer at FAO. "And we are producing enormous amounts of data. But what are we doing with it? How can it be used to produce useful services? These streams are coming together. Open access to data in agriculture is one of the key issues that we consider important if you want to combat hunger and poverty."