Data gaps across food, agriculture and nutrition pose a challenge to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG2) by 2030. Simply put, we cannot achieve what we do not measure- whether that’s tracking weather patterns to protect crop yields, identifying what people eat and who has been left behind. A few initiatives are working to fill this data gap by encouraging data collection but more needs to be done if we are to measure progress against and eventually achieve SDG2.
One of the challenges facing SDG2 is a lack of data. Across the food, agriculture and nutrition sectors, there are gaps in data that limit our understanding and thus ability to design interventions or craft policy decisions to build a sustainable food future. In agriculture, $239B is invested each year in low and middle-income countries without good and recent data (1). The data gaps in agriculture are widespread, affecting 800 million, or 78% of the world’s poorest. (2)
Greater data collection is also required to better understand the global problem of nutrition, diagnosing its root causes, designing interventions and tracking progress to end all forms of malnutrition. However,only 74 of 193 countries have sufficient data on which to make a meaningful assessment of progress on five global maternal and child nutrition targets (3).Identified as a key barrier to improving nutrition, the 2017 Global Nutrition Report calls for better information to identify who is being left behind.
Better collection and utilisation of data can help us to better feed the world. Providing farmers with weather or market updates, data can help farmers to predict when to plant and harvest their crops as well as secure a fair price for their produce. One way to achieve this is to encourage data collection at an individual level with innovative strategies. The Fishcoin Network is one such example.
The Fishcoin Network creates a data ecosystem for the seafood industry by leveraging blockchain to incentivise data capture and sharing at all stages of seafood supply chains. By encouraging fishers and stakeholders in seafood supply chains to gather data, the stories behind the seafood in our shops and on our plates are known to governments and consumers. Seafood not only becomes traceable but, with this data, the seafood industry as a whole can work more sustainably to better protect the ocean’s biodiversity and reduce food waste. With 90% of fish species on the verge of collapse but half of all fish caught going to waste, the seafood industry must better collect data for a sustainable future (4).
The Fishcoin model is one way of leveraging technology to enable incentives for data sharing that can help to improve sustainability, reduce waste and support the livelihoods of sourcing communities. Seafood is just the start. Eachmile technologies, a company looking to transform global seafood and agricultural supply chains, and the SDG2 Advocacy Hub plans to apply the Fishcoin model to other commodities and their respective supply chains.
(2) World Bank