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PRESS RELEASE: Kenya Government & GODAN Champion Comprehensive Open Data Collaboration at the 4th AGRITEC Africa Exhibition



Ministerial Conference on Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition and 4th Agritec Africa Exhibition

14th – 16th June 2017, Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi, Kenya

The Global Open Data for Agriculture & Nutrition (GODAN) initiative, launched in 2013 and led by the UK and US governments to propagate for open data in agriculture and nutrition to scientifically combat world hunger and food security, is the co-host of the Ministerial Conference on Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition and 4th Agritec Africa Exhibition, with the Government of Kenya and Radeecal Communications, taking place on 14th – 16th June at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi, Kenya.

Touted as the largest worldwide event to convene business leaders, governments from several G77 nations and at large the Global South, for the singular and unified cause of technologically and scientifically revolutionising agriculture through sharing of vital data which are currently hidden or inaccessible, the Conference will be attended by 1,000 high level participants, led by Ministers for Agriculture from 100 countries, private sector, academia, think-tanks, civil society, youth organisations, research networks and development practitioners, the United Nations and multilateral institutions especially the African Development Bank (AfDB), UN Economic Commissions for Africa, Asia and Latin America, the African Union Commission, Africa’s Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and international organisations.

Kenya is a fitting host for the conference, representing Africa, which as a continent has huge potential for Agricultural growth due to its abundance of Land and Water Resource. In Africa, the Agriculture sector employs 65% of the labour force with the sector accounting for 32% of Africa’s total GDP. Yet, land and agricultural productivity are found to be one of the lowest in the world. The economy of Kenya is the largest by GDP in East and Central Africa with the agriculture sector contributing 24% in the total GDP of Kenya in year 2011.[1] Periods of high economic growth rates have been synonymous with increased agricultural growth; however the economy is affected by several untapped crops cultivation such as Tea, Coffee, Sugar, Horticulture, Floriculture, Cotton and Macadamia Nuts.

Less than 8% of the land in Kenya is utilised for crop and food production and under 20% is suitable for cultivation. Considering this, the Government of Kenya is implementing the Strategy for Revitalizing Agriculture (SRA) with the intention of optimising the profitability of Kenyan Agriculture.

The Conference comes as a result of a commitment made by Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Mr. Willy Bett at the GODAN Summit in 2016. During the Summit the Cabinet Secretary accepted a call by GODAN to champion the principles of collaboration and use of open data for agriculture and nutrition within G77 nations and its support for the Comprehensive Agreement on Agriculture and Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) in Africa.

Core areas the conference will therefore focus on “Catalysing Agricultural Transformation for Inclusive Growth” under the theme “Harnessing the demographic dividend through investment in food and nutrition data.” 

The Conference program will include high level panels on concrete proposals and actions by government that will catalyse agricultural transformation. It will also look to improve Data Coordination across the agricultural value chains and ecosystems, Agricultural Productivity, the Capacity for production, analysis and use of data and Financing for Smallholders.

André Laperrière, CEO, GODAN will participate in the official opening of the Conference, focusing on issues of food security and food price volatility and the role of data. He will be joined by Ms. Annie Nyagah, Youth Rep., AfDB – President, Willy Bett, EGH, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, H.E Hon Uhuru Kenyatta CGH amongst others. André Laperrière will also participate in the closing session, alongside Ms Susan Imende, MoALF/Kenya Fisheries Service, and H.E Hon William S Ruto, Deputy President, Republic of Kenya to present the outcomes of the conference.

GODAN representatives will also participate in other panels such as:

  • Harnessing the potential of youth through Open Data for economic growth & prosperity with Sicily Kariuki, Ministry of Public Service, Gender and Youth Affairs;
  • International Collaboration on a Minimum Open Data Package for Agricultural Transformation with Andre Jellema, GODAN

Other high profile speakers at the Conference include:

  • Jo Kabatsi, Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, Government of Uganda and Hon. George Boahen Oduro,  Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, Government of Ghana will  join Willy Bett, Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries, Republic of Kenya in delivering the keynote remarks respectively for the panel Opportunities of Data Driven Agricultural Growth for Prosperity;
  • Remarks will be provided by Ambassador Dr Anima Mohammed, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Republic of Kenya and Hon. Senzeni Zokwana, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Government of South Africa for the panel South-South Dialogue: How Data Is Enabling Innovations in Agricultural Value-Chains with an address delivered by Hon. Faruk ÇELİK, Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock, Government of Turkey;
  • Minha Rajput-Ray, Cambridge University will deliver the keynote address for the panel Mobilizing Stakeholders to Improve the State of Nutrition Data in the Global South;
  • Dr Richard Leslyampe, Principal Secretary, Agriculture – Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Government of Kenya will deliver the keynote address for the panel Strengthening Agricultural Statistical and Data Systems in Kenya;
  • Erick Towett, Spectroscopy Scientist, World Agroforestry Centre, will deliver the keynote address for the panel Improving Productivity Through Better Crop Nutrition Data;
  • Mr Joseph Mucheru, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Information Government of Kenya, will deliver the keynote address for the panel Creating an ICT paradigm shift using Open Data with closing remarks by Abdel Monelm Ali Mahboub, Chairman of the Steering Committee of the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal and Marine Resources, Government of Libya;
  • Sangita Dubey, Senior Statician & Team Leader, Economic Statistics, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), will deliver the keynote address for the panel Investing in Agriculture Data for Growth and Development with closing remarks by Henry Rotich EGH Cabinet Secretary, National Treasury, Kenya;
  • Dr Mary Mathenge, Director of Tegemeo will deliver the keynote address for the panel on Improving Coordination in Data for Agricultural Transformation with closing remarks by Sonigitu Ekpe-Aji, Cross River State, Nigeria.

Speaking about co-hosting the conference alongside the Government of Kenya, André Laperrière, CEO, GODAN said: “What we are undertaking with the Ministerial Conference on Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition at the 4th Agritech Africa Exhibition, is probably as big as the Paris Climate Change accord for the field of agriculture. We are bringing together several nations from the G77 and working towards substantively mobilizing efforts in Africa and the broader Global South to ensure every country is producing the data needed to achieve the agriculture and nutrition security related goals in local, continental agendas and the 2030 Agenda. This is in the efforts to bring together a collective action in ensuring food security is achieved by active and voluntary sharing of vital and critical data pertaining to the field of agriculture and nutrition.”

Speaking about the multi-layered efforts undertaken by GODAN, André added “Our initiative has been continuous and meticulous, working in tandem with governments, corporates and farmers to engage a dialogue and discussion around the possibilities we have in scientifically addressing the shortcomings in the field of agriculture. GODAN has been continuously engaged with all the stakeholders through the years right from the UN General Assembly in New York to the very recent GFIA 2017 conference in Netherlands a month ago. This is because available data remains largely inaccessible to players along the Agricultural value chains world over, including for farmers, processors, traders and consumers. We are working hard to make it an open and level playing field for the benefit of all.” 

The Ministerial Conference on Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition and 4th Agritec Africa Exhibition takes place on 14th – 16th June 2017 at Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi, Kenya. The event is hosted by the Kenyan Government, GODAN and Radeecal Communications.

[1] as per the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics 2012.