In this guest post, Ruben Echeverría, director general of the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), with headquarters in Colombia, describes early steps in the application of big data analytics to smallholder agriculture and calls for further action to promote this work on a large scale.
Who would have thought that an obscure climate database would someday achieve science superstar status and help pave the way for a big-data revolution in tropical agriculture? As unlikely as it may seem, this was the destiny of a geek tool called WorldClim. Its story offers important lessons on the value of big data analytics and open-data policies for science-based innovation. And these lessons, in turn, should serve as a call to action for farmers, researchers, policymakers, and others committed to sustainable agricultural development. Continue reading