Bihar Convergence Platform for agriculture since being established in October 2019, is consistently working to accelerate the interventions in improving the lives and capacity of small and marginal farmers in the state.
The Convergence Platform chaired by the Vice Chancellor Bihar Agriculture University, with key members from Bihar Rural Livelihood Promotion Society known as Jeevika, Bihar Agriculture University, Dr Rajendra Prasad Central Agriculture University, Agriculture Technology Application Resource Institute, ICAR-RCER, Cereal Systems Initiative for South Asia (CSISA) along with private groups like IFFCO, Bayer, and ITC, is a synergistic partnership to innovate and initiate targeted interventions that help farmers to have informed choices with proven scientific recommendations.
Data Ecosystem: Out of the many activities jointly implemented by the platform, “Data Ecosystem” is the key arena where the platform works together in strengthening the impact of data, and incorporating them in accelerating quality interventions for farmers.
Recently, a six-day virtual interactive training for convergence members on the theme ‘creating impact through wider data sharing’ was hosted by CSISA in association with CAB-International and ODI in September (16-23 September). The thematic areas of the training aimed at strengthening technical expertise of the participants; creating an enabling environment to unlock the benefits of data sharing and developing space for participants to discuss, brainstorm and co-design initiatives to be implemented together by the convergence platform members in coming days.
23 participants attended the training from Bihar Agriculture University, Jeevika, Dr Rajendra Prasad Central Agriculture University, ICAR-RCER, Agriculture Technology Application Resource Institute and IFFCO. On the first day, sharing the objective of the training with participants Dr Ram Kanwar Malik, Senior Scientist and Sugandha Munshi, Senior Specialist, from CSISA emphasised on the need and importance of sharing data for larger benefits to farmers. Dr David Torrent from Open Data Institute led the training, with Arun Jadhav from CABI and CSISA team coordinating the proceedings of the day.
The training was divided into six sub-themes – 1) Data sharing: Strategies for change and barriers to succeed; 2) Building data sharing agreements; 3) Dealing with personal data; 4) Minimising harmful impacts from data; 5) Improving the quality and interoperability of data and, 6) Building healthy data ecosystems. During each of the sessions under the six sub-themes participants engaged in a series of interactive discussions and group activities focused on shared goal and partnerships.
On the sixth day, the training came to an end with a common understanding about the challenges and constraints in agriculture existing due to the data being in silos. Furthermore to accelerate the pace of development in agriculture in the state, the participants mutually agreed on the need to relook at the existing data with a broader lens. Sharing the data under set norms with standardised licensing could act as a catalyst to increase the benefits for smallholder farmers, expressed participants.
To deal with the challenges in agriculture constructively and together, the platform members stressed strongly on the need to start seeing and analysing existing data from a wider perspective and on sharing data as the key for designing fact-based interventions for larger good and impact.