Thomson Reuters published an in-depth report on " How will we fill 9 billion bowls by 2050?" The report raises the big issue of how the world will feed the 90 billion or more people predicted to be living on earth by 2050.
Dr. Woteki, Chief Scientist and Under Secretary at the U.S. Department of Agriculture says that governments have vast amounts of valuable data that need to be made more available and transparant. That is why the U.S. Government was one of the founding partners of the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) initiative.
GODAN is an initiative that seeks to support global efforts to make data relevant to agriculture and nutrition available, accessible, and usable for unrestricted use worldwide. The initiative focuses on building high-level policy and public and private institutional support for open data. We encourage collaboration and cooperation among existing agriculture and open data activities, without duplication, and brings together all stakeholders to solve long-standing global problems.
Dr. Woteki believes this type of data will be instrumental to feeding more people. She gives two examples: "Farmers in the developing world are already using cell phones to help them market their crops and find the best prices." She says farmers can check where others are marketing competing crops on a given day, and quickly find a different market where no one is selling the same goods. It can also help plant breeders to be better informed. "We believe data will help speed up the development of locally adapted crops that are going to be resilient to climate change", she said.