Landscape News reports that digitization is taking too long to reach fields and farms. Feeding the world byte by byte
“Somehow there is a missing link in getting data sets to make sense to the policymaking processes,” said Sara Mbago-Bhunu, director of the East and Southern Africa Division at the International Fund for Agricutltural Development. “There is a very deep analytical gap.”
Mbago-Bhunu was speaking at the CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture virtual convention that took place 21–23 October on computer screens all over the world.
While she acknowledges the contributions of GIS-type mapping and national agriculture investment programs, Mbago-Bhunu is not alone in seeing fragmented research divorced from practical application.
Ana Castillo Leska, senior specialist at the Inter-American Development Bank, agreed: “At least in Latin America, we don’t see agricultural research transform into solutions that are user friendly for farmers.”
While other economies have increased food yields by employing technologies such as hybrid seeds and precision agriculture (which uses comprehensive soil, water, and topographical data to guide planting), India has fallen further behind. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that India’s yield per hectare is half that of China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. Raising yields to levels seen in other Asian countries might assist 125 million poor and vulnerable Indians achieve a minimum acceptable quality of living, according to our estimates.
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