Sylvain Coutu of Swiss Re, also NASA Harvest’s Chair of Public-Private Partnerships, in collaboration with Dr. Inbal Becker-Reshef, Dr. Alyssa Whitcraft,and Dr. Christopher Justice recently published commentary on public-private partnerships to strengthen food security and agricultural sustainability. The Correspondence, “Food security: underpin with public and private data sharing,” released in volume 578 of Nature on 25 February 2020, outlines how cross-sectoral efforts can be mutually beneficial across all parties. The key to fostering these relationships is creating an environment of trust in order to eliminate data sharing concerns, which are shared by academic, government, non-government, and private organizations alike. Dr. Whitcraft adds further that we must simply start by doing and demonstrating successful PPP business models as well.
This builds upon prior work in this vein by the Consortium, including a session at AGU 2018, a panel at the Harvest Conference in June 2019, and a Town Hall panel and invite-only roundtable co-hosted by NASA Harvest, Farm 2050, and Planet during the AGU week in 2020. NASA Harvest has placed an emphasis on partnering with the private sector because industry are critical players in agriculture, from land management through informatics and beyond, who factor into decisions at every stage in agricultural value chains. Progress toward sustainable and regenerative agriculture is not possible without active participation of the private sector and the intelligence and innovation within.
The article particularly highlights that while satellite technology has proven extremely valuable in advancing crop production and forecasting, a lack of ground data has been an impediment across many areas of the agricultural industry. Stronger public-private partnerships could fill a gap in ground data collection where it is often difficult for any one party to provide sufficient statistics. Public-private partnerships have the potential to enhance innovation and agricultural tools by taking advantage of their complementary expertise, resulting in higher productivity and more sustainable agricultural practices.
Read the full article in Nature Correspondence.