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New routes open up data for Jamaican farmers


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Farming is a sector where access to information has the power to make or break livelihoods. Information on weather forecasts, market prices, crops, tool prices and countless other issues underpin the decisions farmers make.

In Jamaica, farmers are particularly vulnerable to natural disasters and climate change as well as volatile markets, so access to meaningful information is vital, says Matthew McNaughton, executive director of the digital design-focused SlashRoots Foundation. In this audio interview, McNaughton discusses the information barriers facing farmers in Jamaica today, and how governments and agencies should adapt to make data not just open but available in a form that is meaningful for them.
As a ‘civic tech’ organisation based in Kingston, Jamaica, SlashRoots designs digital services to make government services more responsive to the needs of people. The team is working on a portal to pool data from different ministries and organisations, and to open up this data to farmers. This takes creativity and imagination, McNaughton says. Getting information to the people who need it most is no mean feat: the average age of Jamaica’s 200,000-plus farmers is 60, and they live, inevitably, in some of the most rural parts of the country.
So how does SlashRoots break down these barriers? Tune in to find out.
The interview was recorded at the Open Data Institute’s 2015 Summit, on 3 November, in London, United Kingdom. 

Watch a video about the SlashRoots Foundation


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