In an effort to harness the power of data to boost the productivity and livelihoods of the world's five hundred million smallholder farmers, a coalition of donors and the governments of low-income countries have launched an initiative to collect agriculture statistics in fifty countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
Launched by the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data in conjunction with the United Nations General Assembly, the 50 X 2030 initiative will mobilize funding for regular surveys of farming households and make the data, combined with other information sources, widely available to governments looking to increase agricultural productivity. Key partners in the initiative include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Germany's Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the World Bank, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and the International Fund for Agricultural Development. The fifty countries likely will include thirty from sub-Saharan Africa, ten from Asia, and ten from Latin America and the Caribbean.
Among other things, it is hoped the effort will launch a new era of targeted solutions in response to food production challenges and accelerate the world's progress toward "zero hunger." The commitment, one of the largest ever in support of data collection for agricultural development, comes in the wake of alarming new reports which find that hunger levels in low-income countries have risen for three consecutive years.
"We're witnessing today a fundamental transformation of food systems in developing countries, with rising incomes, changing consumption patterns, and the emergence of more business-oriented small- and medium-scale farmers," said Laura Tuck, vice president for sustainable development at the World Bank. "By making agricultural data more readily available in fifty low-income countries, we can help accelerate this transformation, to boost sustainable food production and allow farmers to thrive."