Dr. Viola Prifti, Postdoctoral Researcher at HTW Berlin, explores the transformative potential of sensible farming practices and the way open knowledge will help overcome possession boundaries.
Transformation is on the coronary heart of agriculture. Looking, domestication of untamed crops, the Inexperienced Revolution and most not too long ago agriculture 4.0, are all phases of agricultural evolution.
But our meals system stays fragile, and it’s clear that reaching meals safety for all consistent with the Agenda 2030 targets calls for additional transformation in direction of sustainable agriculture.
Smart farming, which makes use of data-driven strategies to higher handle agricultural manufacturing, will help meet this intention. Utilizing massive knowledge paired with rising synthetic intelligence applied sciences corresponding to distant sensing, automated management and yield monitoring, sensible farming applied sciences accumulate, analyse and use knowledge to permit farmers to be extra environment friendly, worthwhile and environmentally pleasant.
This data-driven strategy may also be used to monitor and observe perishable items, and has proved its price in coping with transit delays brought on by Covid-19 counter-measures. Smart farming instruments maintain potential for farmers within the International North and South alike, as proven by the iCow social media platform from Kenya, which connects farmers with stakeholders by way of SMS.
Smart farming is characterised by a posh knowledge system: farmers generate a wealth of uncooked knowledge by way of their assets and private labour; agronomy firms extract further worth from processing this knowledge; sensible farming consultants, authorities companies, retail agronomists and seed firms additionally act as knowledge collectors.
Given the dearth of particular laws on who owns sensible farming knowledge, possession is outlined by way of contracts. However farmers typically lack the negotiating energy and abilities to advance their very own pursuits.
Whereas uncooked knowledge can’t be owned, as soon as it has been processed or organized as a database, it might be given copyright safety and thereby grow to be a managed asset. Mental property rights can also apply to knowledge and associated gadgets, and outline possession to a sure extent.
These and different kinds of mental property rights, corresponding to patents and commerce secrets and techniques, grant unique rights to the homeowners of data-related gadgets. In order they now not personal the information they’ve produced, farmers could miss out on alternatives to capitalise on the information they’ve generated, which is in the end offered again to them.
Because of this, farmers have little incentive to undertake sensible farming practices. To make sure it’s a sustainable answer that advantages farmers alongside these gathering and analysing their knowledge, improvements in sensible farming want to be extra accountable and inclusive.
In direction of open knowledge
The EU’s proposal to modernise its Widespread Agricultural Coverage – a system of agricultural subsidies and different programmes – requires “open, collaborative systems”. Certainly, the complicated digital ecosystem required for sensible farming thrives on knowledge change, openness and inclusivity somewhat than closed proprietary methods.
A shift from knowledge possession to open knowledge is already evident in EU agricultural coverage by way of a wide range of initiatives that assist collaborative networks to entry knowledge, such because the Fispace venture, which permits internet-based options to collaborative agri-food enterprise networks. An analogous initiative within the personal sector is the Yara Worldwide and IBM partnership to create the “Open Farm & Field Data Exchange” data-sharing platform.
But though open collaborative platforms maintain nice potential for sustainable enterprise and profitability, alone they aren’t sufficient to promote the adoption of sensible farming at scale or to assure the safety of public pursuits, corresponding to meals security or biodiversity.
The outbreak of Covid-19 has uncovered the necessity to construct resilient and sustainable agricultural methods, however the regulation remains to be lagging behind. Whereas growing and adapting particular legal guidelines could require extra time, there may be an pressing want for steering on open sensible farming knowledge to assure agri-innovation and sustainability.
Non-public initiatives corresponding to OpenAG Data Alliance and AGGateaway are already growing widespread knowledge protocols, however the focus appears to be on crops developed by the stakeholders concerned, not essentially on the 64 most necessary crops for human consumption.
The function of governments in enabling partnerships and incentivising sensible farming for the general public good is of utmost significance now. Guided by values corresponding to widespread good, inclusivity and transparency, they’ll set the trail for a extra sustainable future.
The writer acknowledges that 4 paragraphs of this put up are primarily based on a working paper on sensible farming and knowledge possession written in collaboration with Dr. Argyro Karanasiou.