Announcing DiCRA - A Digital Public Good that Harnesses Open-Source Tech to Boost Climate Resilient Agriculture

Posted July 14, 2022

The impact of climate change on agriculture is multifold, affecting crop yield, nutritional quality and livestock productivity

UNDP India

New York –  The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in partnership with India’s State Government of Telangana, announced Data in Climate Resilient Agriculture (DiCRA) as the latest addition to the Digital Public Goods Registry. Powered by Artificial Intelligence, the platform is geared towards strengthening food systems and food security.

The impact of climate change on agriculture is multifold, affecting crop yield, nutritional quality and livestock productivity. Using remote sensing and pattern detection algorithms, DiCRA is able to identify farms that are resilient to climate change and those that are highly vulnerable. In particular, it harnesses open-source technologies to facilitate analysis and insights sharing on climate resilience, based on empirical inputs crowdsourced from hundreds of data scientists and citizen scientists on best performing farms.

As co-host of the Digital Public Good Alliance, UNDP is accelerating efforts to surface new technological frameworks required to drive climate adaptation and mitigation to achieve the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement on climate change. DiCRA now joins more than 100 digital solutions that adhere to privacy and other applicable laws and best practices to help attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“UNDP is working with governments and innovators to create the digital public goods of the future. That includes open-source software and open data sets that help tackle acute challenges like poverty and inequalities while driving progress across the Sustainable Development Goals,” says UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner. “The latest of these digital public goods, the DiCRA platform, will put vital data and analytics into the hands of farmers in India, enabling them to mitigate the effects of climate change on their crops and livestock -- boosting the resilience of their livelihoods and wider food security.”

As a member of the Digital Public Goods Alliance, India is pioneering open data systems and making them widely available to other countries. Kalvakuntla Taraka Rama Rao, the State Government of Telangana’s IT Minister, says:

“DiCRA becoming a digital public good is an important milestone in our commitment to open data policy, service delivery to farmers and anticipatory governance to combat the global challenge of food security. In partnership with the vibrant innovation ecosystem in Telangana, DiCRA provides intelligence on climate resilience at the farm-level. With UNDP Accelerator Labs and partner organizations, we are proud to facilitate this first-of-its-kind digital commons to drive climate action not only for Telangana State but for the entire world!”

Within a three-month period, DiCRA gained more than 500 citizens and scientists from local digital ecosystems to support climate action in 112,077 square km of land in the state of Telangana.

DiCRA exemplifies how a multi-stakeholder collaboration for data sharing – involving governments, research organizations, citizens and data scientists across the world – can promote open innovation to strengthen climate resilience in agriculture. As highlighted in this report authored by the Digital Public Goods Alliance, International Telecommunications Union and the World Meteorological Organization, a number of different yet interconnected stakeholders are the holders of climate data. Existing data-sharing infrastructure is based on linear flows – not a distributed, integrated ecosystem. DiCRA goes a step further by providing open access to both data as well as analytics derived through open software, allowing it to be replicated across the world.

With its inclusion in the Digital Public Good Registry, DiCRA is now available to a range of practitioners and will help promote global cooperation and collaborative action.

Sharing India's experience on open innovation, UNDP Resident Representative in India Shoko Noda says, "Digital technologies hold immense potential in building resilience as we fight climate change. With DiCRA, we are happy to combine new-age data-driven technology for informed decision-making to boost agricultural productivity. We look forward to scaling the use of the platform across India."

As part of UNDP’s Digital Strategy, digital public goods such as DiCRA are part of the next frontier of digital public infrastructure, which will drive sectoral transformation and the concerted effort towards achieving the Paris Agreement goals on climate change.