OPEN DATA AND ITS RELEVANCE IN AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH: THE CASE OF KENYA AGRICULTURAL AND LIVESTOCK RESEARCH ORGANIZATION (KALRO)
Open data has the ability to strengthen research management systems, link agricultural scientific information and knowledge to developers, enable new sciences such as data visualization and business analytics for sustainable development. Thus, there is need for more advocacy for open data policies, principles and practices at institutional and national level to cope with challenges such as; reduced funding, population growth, climate change, pests, diseases and agricultural trade tariffs. A qualitative and quantitative research was conducted to; assess readiness, implement and document impact of open data in Kenya`s premier research organization KALRO. The main objective of the research study was to implement and evaluate an open data initiative at the Arid and Semi-Arid LandsAgricultural Productivity Research Project (ASAL-APRP) managed by the KALRO. The data collected, experiences and lessons learnt were documented and published. The ASAL knowledge Hub and three mobile applications were innovatively developed. These developed platforms promote data sharing and have capabilities of data management, business analytics and visualization. The platforms serve to facilitate learning and increase the capabilities of ASAL stakeholders who include; farmers, policy makers, national agricultural extension, research and academic institutions, relevant government institutions, development partners, private sector and NGOs amongst others. The data and information on the developed platforms has attracted interests locally and international. Food security in Kenya and beyond can be achieved through implementing an indispensable open data ecosystem. Raising awareness of open data, providing the necessary tools and policies in agriculture research has the potential to contribute to food security in the Kenya.