Hacking Agriculture

Kathleen Murphy | FoodTank | January 30, 2015

For farmers in parts of Asia, where open access to knowledge is limited, a new wave of agriculture information and resources is aimed at making their jobs easier and more profitable. Wellsprings of information exist internationally and within places like China, but because of language barriers and lack of structural support, some of this knowledge has yet to reach the people who need it most.

The Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR), partnering with the Agricultural Information Institute of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), has strengthened the information capacity of Chinese forestry and agriculture institutions through workshops, conferences, and even hackathons. As a result of GFAR’s work in China, a new movement of knowledge sharing has reached that country. The ability of agriculture professionals and service providers to share expertise and research is crucial to fulfilling development goals in places like China.

The Coherence in Information for Agricultural Research for Development (CIARD) is a web-based movement directing specific agricultural information to development organizations to reduce poverty and hunger. CIARD has expanded its program to include a bank of services offered by registered institutions. This network, known as the CIARD RING, collects a wealth of information, makes it searchable, and provides it to those who need it most. CIARD states, “Enhanced openness of this knowledge by all actors is essential to enable effective decision-making and empower those concerned with agricultural production and food security.”...