USAID Announces New Open Data and Technology Tools at G-8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, April 30, 2013
USAID Press Office
202-712-4320

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, at the G-8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced the release of exciting new datasets and tools that increase transparency and provide the fuel for innovators and decision makers to solve problems. The conference, hosted by the United States Government, convened countries from the G-8 and New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition to discuss the potential of open data for agriculture and develop action plans to open and apply food security relevant datasets. To demonstrate the power of open data to deliver solutions, the conference also featured technologists and entrepreneurs who use USAID and U.S Government data to develop products to bring real solutions to the developing world.

Global development is one of the six focus areas of the Open Data Initiatives projects developed by the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House. The Open Data Initiatives focus on liberating government data and voluntarily contributed corporate data to fuel entrepreneurship, create jobs, and improve lives. This is also part of the Obama Administration’s Open Government Initiative, and the announcements yesterday are representative of how government agencies are exploring the ways that citizens can benefit from the increased availability and application of public information. 

At the conference, Todd Park, Assistant to the President and U.S. Chief Technology Officer offered, “big kudos to everyone attending the G8 Open Data for Agriculture conference who has committed to making their troves of data open and available to the public.  By liberating data from the vaults of government and the private sector, we can accelerate the use of open agriculture and nutrition data to advance global food security while also fueling the growth of new businesses and jobs."

USAID made the following announcements at the G-8 International Conference on Open Data for Agriculture:

- New pathway to engage the tech and developer communities and fuel entrepreneurship

USAID announced the launch of www.usaid.gov/developer, a website with tools specific to technologists and developers which will serve as a resource for major USAID data sets and a central location for Agency APIs (Application Program Interface)

- Making U.S. Government assistance data more accessible than ever before

USAID has developed an API for the Greenbook dataset that covers all U.S. Government foreign assistance financial data since the Marshall Plan. We hope that this will spark developers to utilize this information in new and innovative ways

- Release of the first two major surveys for Feed the Future

USAID announced the release of two large and robust baseline household surveys related to poverty, nutrition, and food security for Ghana and Bangladesh.   This is part of USAID’s contribution to Feed the Future, the United States Government's global hunger and food security initiative. These datasets provide information for policymakers, researchers, NGOs, corporations, and startups and individuals to understand the context of poverty and hunger in a country, make better decisions to improve food security, and track progress

The G8 Conference also featured three USAID related projects that are showing real impact in food insecure countries. 

- MFarm: M-Farm’s mobile application allows farmers to receive accurate, real-time crop price information from five major markets in Kenya via text message daily, six days a week. This service allows farmers to make informed decisions on what to plant when, how to price produce, and where to sell to make the largest profit.

- Toto Agriculture: A smartphone interface for village specific agricultural data. Users can use this free app to access localized information on soil, pests, climate, and planting tips in over 100 languages.

- Digital Green: Digital Green trains rural communities in four countries to produce freely accessible videos that are by farmers, of farmers, and for farmers to exchange agricultural practices that can boost their productivity.

These announcements and projects are a major step forward in USAID’s efforts to make information and data public and online in accessible and shareable formats, and build on the work done by many at USAID to make development transparent, effective, and accountable, and spur entrepreneurial growth in the developing world.

For more information about USAID and its work in inclusive development, please visit http://www.usaid.gov.

For more information about Feed the Future please visit: http://www.feedthefuture.gov/

For more information about USAID’s Open Data Initiative and previous events, please visit: http://blog.usaid.gov/2013/01/at-datajam-innovators-and-entrepreneurs-unleash-open-data-for-global-development/

For more information about the G-8 Conference on Open Data and Agriculture, please visit: https://sites.google.com/site/g8opendataconference/home

Additional Reading: http://blog.usaid.gov/2013/04/shared-ag-data-is-a-secured-future-for-vulnerable-populations/

Last updated: August 28, 2014

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