This paper looks at the challenges and principles that must be addressed in in building a global data ecosystem for agriculture.

Agriculture would benefit hugely from a common data ecosystem. Produced and used by diverse stakeholders,from smallholders to multinational conglomerates, a shared global data space would help build the infrastructures that will propel the industry forward.

In light of growing concern that there was no single entity that could make the industry-wide change needed to acquire and manage the necessary data, this paper was commissioned by Syngenta with GODAN’s assistance to catalyze consensus around what form a global data ecosystem might take, how it could bring value to key players, what cultural changes might be needed to make it a reality and finally what technology might be needed to support it.

These begin with building incentives and trust – amongst both data providers and consumers – in sharing, opening and using data. Key to achieving this will be developing a broad awareness of, and making efforts to improve, data quality, provenance, timeliness and accessibility. We set out the key global standards and data publishing principles that can be followed in supporting this, including the ‘Five stars of open data’ and the ‘FAIR principles’ and offer several recommendations for stakeholders in the industry to follow