The metaphor of data as the new gold runs short, claims Professor Jan Top, as the same data can be shared and used multiple times, by different actors and for different purposes. “You cannot run out of your own data,” Top says. “Instead of data ownership, it would be better to speak of the right to use data and relate it to decision making potential. Data and knowledge are essential to make informed decisions.”
Smart farming to optimise agri-food systems is on the rise. The development of digital innovations in agriculture is phenomenal, offering farmers many new opportunities, such as macro agri-intelligence, market linkages, advisory services and transparent supply-chain management. With these new technologies, farmers can now share their own localised, personal and transactional data in order to receive support or access to services. But the question is how the agri-food sector can safeguard that data, to make sure that the farmer’s privacy is respected and all necessary measures for data protection are taken, especially for smallholder farmers in low and middle- income countries. Jan Top, Food Informatics researcher at Wageningen University & Research, shares his vision.