Dutch government backs Ghana in open data policy formulation on agriculture and nutrition

The Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality has resolved to support Ghana and other five regions in the world to develop a policy document on open data system that enhances agricultural and nutritional values within Ghana and other regions globally.

The initiative aims to support national ministries of agriculture, in achieving sustainable and equitable agricultural development through advancing of their policies on open data.

Speaking at a day’s stakeholder engagement organized by the Dutch embassy and Open Data and Internet Research Foundation in Accra on Thursday at India Kofi Annan Center of Excellence in ICT, Mr. Bram Wit, the agricultural Councillor for west Africa at the Dutch ministry of Agriculture, Nature, and food Quality, said the open data would afford the participating regions the opportunity to have full access to information sharing in the agriculture sector.

This he said would go a long way to improve the country’s agriculture sector.

The theme for the accelerating open data policies in agriculture was “linking agricultural development priorities to opportunities offered by open data’”.

Mr. Bram Wit

According to him, Ghana has been singled out for the pilot project, where the Dutch government will collaborate effectively with the ministry of food and agriculture to begin the open data policy processes.

The aim of this project is to support Ghana’s food and agricultural development priorities through assisting MoFA to advance their policy and strategic planning on open data that promotes sustainable agriculture and improve food security, employment opportunities and reduce poverty, he said.

What is Open Data?

Open Data seeks to make information readily available for sharing.

The purpose behind the policy formulation on open data is to link up Ghana’s food and agricultural development priorities to open data policies, strategies, or investment plans across the entire agricultural value chain.

Mr. Bram believes that the coming into force of this policy document on open data will provide timely information for improving efficiency in agriculture value chain.

It will also bridge the huge gap between the farmer and extension officers, and support women in agriculture to source for relevant information about agricultural practices.

Dr. Jeanne Nel, a science policy expert at Wageningen University in her presentation said the Dutch Ministry has made available resources to support Ministries of Agriculture in other partner countries in Africa, South-East Asia and Eastern Europe where Ghana is at the forefront of open data in Africa, with appropriate political will and existing expertise.

The Dutch government has provided open data experts in agriculture to work with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture in Ghana.

“We hope to use the work in Ghana as a showcase to assist our partner countries in Africa, South-East Asia and Europe, she hinted.

Dr. Jeanne said the Ghana project runs initially for 6 months, from now until December 2019.

Most importantly, Knowledge sharing and collaboration will be facilitated by: Stakeholder scoping workshop National Forum [Regional/Global knowledge exchange and information sharing] next year.

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