Big-data project aims to transform farming in world's poorest countries

Multimillion-dollar programme will gather data on small-scale farms in an effort to reduce hunger and promote rural growth.

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A coalition including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and national governments has launched a US$500-million effort to help developing countries gather data on small-scale farmers to help fight hunger and promote rural development.

The programme, which will run through 2030, aims to fill a yawning information gap about what an estimated 500 million farmers living in poverty are doing across 50 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. It will do so by expanding the reach of surveys developed separately by the FAO and the World bank gather information on factors such as livestock holdings and crop yields. Those surveys have been piloted in eight countries over the past decade.

By Jeff Tollefson, Nature News 


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