The purpose, according to USDA Chief Scientist and Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics Catherine Woteki, is “to make our agriculturally-relevant research and statistical data accessible to users in Africa and around the world.”
Woteki explained in a USDA blog post.
What is open data and why is it important to agriculture? In this internet age, information from all corners of the world is accessible in ways like never before. Quite simply, open data means liberating data in machine and human readable formats – it is a 21st century way of sharing information. By sharing data and the tools to analyze it, people can develop new insights and applications to help themselves. For agriculture, shared research can move us all closer to addressing the global food demands on the horizon.
Our food and agricultural challenges have no borders and neither should our research. At USDA, we recognize the importance of collaborative, scientific research and encourage international collaboration. Open data in agriculture allows us to pool our existing resources while pioneering fresh, new approaches to tackle the global challenges that lie ahead.
The conference, which is set for April 29-30, will bring together entrepreneurs, innovators, policy makers and thought leaders to discuss how open agricultural data increases food security, improves access to research for developing countries and provides new opportunities for private/public partnerships.