National Agriculture Data Infrastructure: Malawi

Cover image of CCA Policy Brief - Malawi
Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda Policy Briefs

Data could be the conduit for boosting intra-Commonwealth trade and investment as enshrined in the ‘Declaration on the Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda for Trade and Investment’. The sharing of data according to the Open Data Institute (ODI), can create social and economic value for people, organisations, and the wider economy. Ensuring data sovereignty including maintaining a secure, trusted data environment, governments have an important role to play in laying the foundations for a flourishing data-driven economy by pursuing policies that improve the flow of data and ensuring that companies who want to innovate have appropriate access to high-quality and well-maintained data.

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In its quest to achieve Malawi 2063 objectives, the country must adopt inclusive digitalisation processes across all sectors. Digital agriculture innovations, technologies and services rely on a robust agricultural data infrastructure and good agricultural data management practices. Quality data provide the basis for digital advisory services to farmers, provide the basis for policy decision-making and inform investment decisions by investors. Although several organisations are already engaged in agricultural data management, a dialogue with national stakeholders confirmed the existence of fragmented databases, an unwillingness to share data, operational inefficiencies, data collection fatigue, unsuited policies and a data power imbalance. There is a lack of co-ordination for managing agricultural data as an important resource in the country.