Hunger and famine are two of the leading indicators of serious poverty. In October 2013 the Global Hunger Index released its latest report, indicating nineteen countries suffer from levels of hunger that are either ‘alarming’ or ‘extremely alarming’, with one in eight people suffering from chronic undernourishment between 2010 and 2012.
Although farmers today produce three times as much food as they did fifty years ago, farmers still have to significantly improve their productivity to help feed a world population of 9 billion in 2050. Leaders of the G8 believe an important step towards solving the problem is to allow farmers, scientists, and entrepreneurs unrestricted access to agricultural big data.
Big data analysis can increase crop yields by helping farmers make better decisions about when to plant, manage and harvest their crops. Beyond broad data sets on topics such as rainfall levels, signs of pests and diseases, and anticipated prices at local markets, there is also the highly specialised and specific data sets such as plant genomics and local weather conditions.