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The importance of developing a data set repository: a case study for Senegal

Within the framework of The Digital Tools, Geospatial and Farming Systems Consortium (DGFSC), funded by Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sustainable Intensification (SIIL), Mr. Nathan Fortner, student of the program Doctor of Plant Health at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, in coordination with Luciana Nieto, Ph.D. student of the program of Agronomy at Kansas State University, and with the supervision of Dr. Ciampitti, Professor of Agronomy at Kansas State University and Director of the DGFSC, are conducted a project entitled “Synthesizing agriculture datasets for developing research inventory focused on Senegal”.

The purpose of this project is to develop a repository for all relevant-agricultural datasets in Senegal. According to Nathan, ”the main work is to explore what information is available, collect all the data that can be used, classify the information in extensiveness, quality, richness, location, and relevance, and then, detect what information is missing, and finally identify those areas that researchers can work on.

Nathan explained that working on this inventory is very useful to find certain gaps of information and to avoid replicating work that has been already done. He emphasized, as there is plenty of information available, sometimes some investigations are duplicated, uncoordinated, and the geographical inference and scale of the data is not enough.

In order to carry out this project he is utilizing specific keywords focused in Senegal and using scientific relevant search engines (e.g., Scopus, Google Scholar) to perform the search. For example, some of the keywords used in the search were crops, livestock, weather, soils, fertility, human capital and social contacts to look in different data sources. He focused on collecting open access and freely accessible data.

Nathan values this project because a lot of information is getting “overlooked” most of the time. Thus, his interest is to connect that gap of information he found with the microdata. He highlighted the fact that there is so much information available that can be used, but at the same time, there are still gaps that still need to be looked into and finalized.

To conclude, Nathan wondered whether or not the amount of data it’s been utilized correctly, because as it is known statistics can be manipulated. Therefore, this project is quite relevant to Nathan since he has developed the ability to contextualize the data and provide via his classification a new repository for relevant-agricultural data for many countries around the globe, including here Senegal as his first and main focus .

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