How might open data in agriculture help achieve food security?

zunia.org - The launch of Godan is the latest sign of momentum in the idea of open data in agriculture. Last year, the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition agreed upon at the G8 summit included a commitment to share agricultural data with African partners, and to hold an international conference on Open Data for Agriculture, which happened in April this year. The policy support is there, but how might open data actually help achieve food security?
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."