Strategic Foresight Uses Big Data to Think Ahead
Farming can be a gamble. There are many variables that can determine success and some of them, like climate, are outside a farmer’s control. But an innovative approach to agricultural research may help tip the odds in the favor of smallholder farmers. Strategic foresight modeling is a research method that examines how farming systems interact with climate change and other factors. The resulting data can help predict outcomes on farms—and help make agriculture less a game of chance for farmers.
Foresight modeling produces high volumes of new data that could be relevant to research outside of the agriculture sector and CGIAR. The CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture, an initiative that aims to capture and analyze large data sets to identify trends that can inform farmers and decisionmakers, could improve the impact of CIAT DAPA’s work by providing a clear channel for sharing information. “Basically, the Platform could improve the impact associated with the results of research,” says Steven Prager, Senior Scientist for Integrated Modeling at CIAT DAPA.