CGIAR Big Data

The Consultative Group on International Agriculture (CGIAR) comprises 15 centers worldwide with the collective mission to “achieve sustainable food security and reduce poverty in developing countries through scientific research and research-related activities in the fields of agriculture, forestry, fisheries, policy and environment.”  The CGIAR has launched a relatively recent BigData initiative funded by the Gates Foundation.

The CGIAR BigData Intiative has partnered with the G.E.M.S platform in order to tackle problems such as interoperating diverse datasets that require linkage on private information. This may not be challenging when that private information is a name, social security number or protected plant variety ID (i.e., substitute with an integer and keep the key secure). But significant challenges arise when that information is a precise geo-location that links farmer’s yields to detailed soil measurements and weather data for a third party to view without revealing the farmer’s identity.