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Creating impact through wider data sharing

Platform in Bihar, India uses data to design interventions to help smallholder farmers.

Farmer speaks on mobile phone in field.
Farmer speaks on his mobile phone in Bihar, India. (Photo: M. DeFreese/CIMMYT)

The Bihar Convergence Platform for agriculture, a synergistic partnership to innovate and initiate targeted interventions that help farmers to have informed choices with proven scientific recommendations, has been consistently working to accelerate interventions and improve the lives and capacity of small and marginal farmers since its establishment in October 2019.

The Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA), in association with CABI and the Open Data Institute, hosted a six-day virtual interactive training in September for platform members on the theme “creating impact through wider data sharing.” The training aimed at strengthening technical expertise of the participants, creating an enabling environment to unlock the benefits of data sharing and developing space for participants to discuss, brainstorm and co-design initiatives to be implemented together by the platform in coming days.

The training ended with a common understanding about the challenges and constraints in agriculture because data is in silos. Furthermore, participants agreed on the need to look at the existing data with a broader lens to accelerate the pace of development in agriculture in the state. Participants expressed that sharing the data under set norms with standardized licensing could act as a catalyst to increase the benefits for smallholder farmers.

To constructively deal with the challenges in agriculture together, the platform members stressed the need to start analyzing existing data from a wider perspective and data sharing as the key for designing fact-based interventions for larger good and impact.

Platform members interact during virtual training.
Platform members interact during virtual training. (Photo: Sugandha Munshi/CIMMYT)

The platform is chaired by the Vice Chancellor of Bihar Agriculture University, with key members from Bihar Rural Livelihood Promotion Society known as Jeevika, Bihar Agriculture University, Dr Rajendra Prasad Central Agriculture University, Agriculture Technology Application Resource Institute, ICAR-RCER, and the CSISA project, along with private groups like IFFCO, Bayer, and ITC.

Out of the many activities jointly implemented by the platform, the Data Ecosystem is the key arena where the platform works together in strengthening the impact of data and incorporating them in accelerating quality interventions for farmers.

This story was first published on the CSISA website.