As the number of digitally enabled agricultural products and services continues to grow in regions across the globe, most of the data collected by the digital service providers developing these tools remain locked within each entity’s systems. Due to incomplete, fragmented, or non-existent data sets on agri-food system stakeholders, such as farmers, digital service providers often take on the cost burden of collecting the information they need to develop products and services for their target users. This results in multiple actors holding fragments of information on agri-food system actors, decreasing incentives for data sharing across organizations and increasing the burden placed on food system actors to repeatedly provide their data to numerous researchers, companies, and development organizations. This dynamic has led to several missed opportunities for all stakeholders, including government agencies, the private sector, and the development community, to have a common and complete picture of the state of agricultural communities and the needs of individual actors therein.

Issues of data fragmentation and strategies to address them have been well studied, including through the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Digital Farmer Profiles: Reimagining Smallholder Agriculture study. What is less well understood is what models exist—or could exist—to put the subjects of agriculture-related data (i.e. farmers) at the center of its governance and ownership while avoiding any further data fragmentation.

To help address these challenges, the USAID Bureau for Resilience and Food Security and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s (BMGF) Agricultural Development program are working with the Digital for Resilience and Food Security buy-in to the Digital Frontiers project to provide USAID, BMGF, partners, and local stakeholders with a better understanding of different farmer-centric data governance and ownership models, the benefits and limitations of each, and guidance for implementing these models.

CoverPhoto-9180c8.JPGPicture taken by CABI during the Fall Armyworm competition.

Digital Frontiers has released a request for applications (RFA) to conduct this assessment and provide overarching recommendations on how to attain more farmer-centric models of data governance and ownership.

Who Should Apply?

DAI is looking for qualified organizations with:

  • Experience in digital technologies relevant to the agriculture sector in developing country contexts.

  • Regional or country experience in USAID Feed the Future priority countries and BMGF focus regions.

  • Prior experience successfully implementing assessments and providing practical guidance and recommendations.

More information on qualifications and how to apply can be found here (RFA), here (RFA Modification 1), and here (RFA Modification 2: Q&A). Applications are due December 1, 2021 to [email protected]. Questions regarding the request for applications are due November 9, 2021 to [email protected]. If you are interested in receiving updates and further communications regarding this RFA please email [email protected].