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Farmers' data rights - Some findings

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Presentation prepared for CTA, for the CTA/AgriCord/PAFO workshop on "Building the next generation of farmers 
Supporting capacity-development of African Farmers Organisations through improved Policies, Technologies and Capabilities", Brussels, 6-7 November 2018 .

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Farmers' data rights - Some findings

  1. 1. Farmers' data rights Some findings CTA/AgriCord/PAFO - Building the next generation of farmers Supporting capacity-development of African Farmers Organisations through improved Policies, Technologies and Capabilities Brussels, 6-7 November 2018
  2. 2. Why "farmers' data rights"? Data-driven agriculture is expected to increase agricultural production, help adapt to climate change, improve sustainability, reduce risk in farming, make agri-food systems more efficient and ensure traceability. This requires that: - farmers access all the necessary data for efficient farm management - farmers share relevant data along the data value chain There are important ethical and legal aspects affecting farmers' capacity and willingness to do both. We summarized these dimensions in the phrase "farmers' data rights".
  3. 3. What rights exist Copyright - Technological Protection Measures - Sui Generis Database Rights - Patents and Plant Breeders’ Rights - Confidential Information - Personal Privacy - Licensing Contracts - Traditional Knowledge Who exercises the right? (e.g. the person about whom data pertains, the person who provided the data; the entity that made investments in the collection) de Beer J. Ownership of Open Data: Governance Options for Agriculture and Nutrition [version 1; not peer reviewed]. F1000Research 2017. https://f1000research.com/documents/6-1002
  4. 4. Rights affect all streams of data from / to farm • First, farmers are challenged to gain access to relevant data and services provided by other actors (so called ‘imported data’). • Second, sharing their own data (‘exported data’) opens farmers up to potential risks. Data rights affect both types of challenge. Maru, A. et al. Digital and Data-Driven Agriculture: Harnessing the Power of Data for Smallholders. F1000Research, 2018. https://f1000research.com/documents/7-525
  5. 5. Ownership: protection / obstacle Business sensitivity vs. social responsibility E.g. farm data: Farmers are entrepreneurs and their competitiveness should not be harmed by sharing business-sensitive data BUT farmers have a key role and responsibility towards society in providing essential tracking data for food safety, sustainability of production, land use >> farm data should be considered as any other business data and the same legal data protection should apply, >> BUT ownership and rights-based approaches can undermine sharing and cooperation and clog the flow of data
  6. 6. Contractual approach: US and EU Codes of conduct • Focus on contracts • Farmers continue to be the owners of non-aggregated farm data • Responsibility of service providers to inform farmers that their data are being collected, and how they are used; do nothing without the consent of farmers • It is unclear who owns the aggregated data and what rights that ownership im plies • Focus on agreements • Originator continues to be the owner of the data and can determine who can access data and use it • Right to know the purpose of data collection and sharing • right of the originators to benefit from their data and to retrieve their data down the line Simone van der Burg. Framing the issues; ethical, legal and policy aspects of data sharing affecting farmers. Presented at the Bonn meeting, July 2018.
  7. 7. Benefit sharing, transparency, social responsibility This requires fair data governance... Farmers share data farmers have access to better data and services service providers and govt reuse farmers' data to build better services data is shared along the agri-food value chain traceability, accountability societal goals, SDGs data used only for agreed purposes trust data is shared also by other actors
  8. 8. Main governance recommendations so far 1. Self-regulatory governance: trust centers and self-governed platforms at different levels, across the agri-food value chain - social responsibility mechanisms (certifications), benefit sharing mechanisms, business models that enable equitable data flows 2. Key role of aggregations of farmers and creation of "data cooperatives" for data shepherding and collective negotiation of data rights 3. National and international policies, international agreements and treaties that enable fair data flows and counter power imbalances 4. Evaluate the application of existing relevant law (privacy, business data, database copyright), avoid new specific laws 5. Governance models that enable “equitable transactions” (a balance of individual interests in transactions, guided by the overarching societal goal.
  9. 9. Collective action vision document "We believe that a crucial issue is the balance between legal assertions of data ownership and the enabling of fair and equitable data sharing and exchange that benefits farmers and, at the same time, supports the efficiency of agri-food systems." "The core of our vision for the collective action is that farmers can be empowered to harness data-driven agriculture through inclusive data ecosystems that nurture equitable sharing, exchange and use of data and information by all and for all participants in agri-food value chains, with special consideration of smallholder farmers, the most vulnerable to inequitable data flows."
  10. 10. Thank you! For more info valeria.pesce@gfar.net CTA/AgriCord/PAFO - Building the next generation of farmers Supporting capacity-development of African Farmers Organisations through improved Policies, Technologies and Capabilities Brussels, 6-7 November 2018

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