GFAR announces webinar series on Farmers’ access to data


As part of our work on farmers’ rights to data and following up on the face-to-face course on Farmers’ Access to Data organized in Centurion in November 2017, GFAR announces two live webinars and two recorded lessons to make the content of the course available to everybody. The webinars will be co-convened with GODAN and CTA and will be conducted by some of the trainers who so successfully handled the course in Centurion.


The two live webinars will be held respectively on 22 and 28 February at 4pm CET, while the recorded webinars will be made available at the beginning of March.

Below are the descriptions and registration links for the two live webinars. More information about the recorded webinars will be published later.

Register fast! Our webinars are limited to 100 participants and the available “seats” are often taken in a matter of days. We encourage participants to actively engage in our webinars with feedback, questions, and sharing of their own experiences.

Webinar 1. Data-driven agriculture overview

Presenter: Dan Berne
Thursday 22 February, 4pm CET

Webinar already held: watch video recording here:


Precision agriculture is a promising set of technologies that is data intensive, but which has limited adoption by small holder farms in Sub-Saharan Africa. Concurrently, current trends in sustainability, traceability, and compliance reporting demand that an ever-increasing amount of data be gathered as part of everyday operations in modern production agriculture.

The use of farm management information systems (FMIS) for decision support has shown great promise for improving farm yields and profitability. However, growers are often unsure of the value of the data that they are providing and/or receiving. How does this data help them make the right decisions to improve their yield and profitability? How do growers and service providers work together to simplify the design and use of farm data? How can smallholder farmers take advantage of data in a mutually valuable relationship with data providers?

Webinar Goals

Provide attendees a foundation for understanding the use of data for farming and across the agricultural value chain. Attendees should be able to apply the core concepts of using data for field operations, as well as how data is used across the value chain. Attendees will be introduced to the opportunities and challenges of using data, especially for smallholder farmers.

About the presenter

DanDan Berne is a highly regarded professional business growth strategist with over 30 years’ experience. Dan led the effort to create an Ag Irrigation market strategy for the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA). He also conducted grower experience studies to help identify barriers to grower adoption of energy saving practices. Dan wrote or co-wrote many of the NEEA Ag Irrigation reports. Dan serves as the Project Manager on AgGateway’s Precision Ag Irrigation Language data standards project. He is an affiliate of the Chasm Institute, and a certified practitioner of Innovation Games.

Dan started the “Lagom Ag Initiative” within his company to help accelerate the adoption of precision farming practices and improve the use of digital agricultural methodologies. Lagom is a Swedish word that means “just enough.” It is also used to mean “simply perfect.” It fits our philosophy of helping farmers use just enough water, just enough fertilizers, just enough energy to be profitable while increasing or maintaining yield.

Webinar 2. Key data for farmers

Presenter: Stephen Kalyesubula

Wednesday 28 February, 4pm CET
Duration: 1 hour, with 15 minutes for questions
Registered participants will receive the webinar link and instructions a few days before the webinar.


Data becomes significant if it can be linked to information, knowledge and wisdom. Once processed it can be used to generate detailed insights into farm operations and the environment.  It assists big and small holder farmers in making data-based operational decisions to optimize yield and boost revenue while minimizing expenses, the chances of crop failure, and environmental impact.

For data driven agriculture to happen we have to distinguish the data streams in the food chain from pre-planting to consumption, for example: data collected and managed from the farm by farmers which can be either static or dynamic; data coming from external sources like market prices and data that is exported for aggregation by other farm service providers. However, farmers may not be in a position to realize those streams and possibly what data and information is required to answer the food chain questions, for example: What produce can I grow where I live? When should I sow/plant/harvest/market it? How should I sow/plant/harvest/market it? All these questions can be answered if the factual data or information is used or made available to the farmers.

Webinar Goals

Make the participants understand the different key data streams, flow and sources that are vital to agricultural value chains. Participants will be in position to identify the data they own or collect on their farms and its usefulness, understand the difference between human and machine farm data, identify the part in the agricultural value chain where data, and which data, is needed most.

About the presenter

StephenStephen Kalyesubula is a Computer Engineering and an agri-preneur from Makerere University. He is a graduate researcher at iLabs@Mak Project – Makerere University and his key technological interests include: Data science, robotics, Internet of things, AI and design thinking. He is among the directors of Youths In Technology and Development Uganda whose mission is to create tech communities of practice where appropriate use of technology promotes sustainable development in agriculture, health and education.

Stephen has conducted various base line surveys to identify the key data required for small holder farmers in Mukono district, Uganda and his focus is on unlocking the potential of key data to allow growers make informed decisions. He is also working as a Country Director in Uganda for AgriGroomers, South Africa and his responsibility is to extend data analysis skills to the open data team through using open source technologies.  He is also part of the GODAN Capacity Development Group and GODAN Action Network of Trainees.

Webinar 3. Crossing the Donga – Accelerating Market Adoption and Use of Data by Smallholders

Presenter: Dan Berne

Monday 26 March, 4pm CET
Duration: 1 hour, with 15 minutes for questions
Registered participants will receive the webinar link and instructions a few days before the webinar.
More details on this webinar available from 15 March.

About the GFAR webinars

Our webinars are open to partners in GFAR as well as other nonprofit organisations or individuals working in the area of agriculture, ecosystems and sustainable development. They are attended by scientists, students, communications staff as well as agricultural practitioners.

The webinars present the work of GFAR partners and show how our partners are working together towards shared GFAR goals. If your organisation is not a GFAR partner yet, join now!

We do not ask for a webinar participation fee, but request all participants to actively engage in the online discussions during the webinars.

The webinars are moderated via BlueJeans, an online tool running within any internet browser. It only requires participants to have a good and reliable Internet connection and a computer running any browser.


Photo credit: Ajit Maru

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