Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Software Government

Nicaragua Creates Innovative Agricultural Information System With Open Source 78

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the you-couldn't-pick-a-better-color-scheme? dept.
johanneswilm writes "Nicaragua is the second-poorest country of the Americas. It is now also the Latin American country with the most capable web-based information system for agriculture, thanks to open source software. ALBAstryde itself is open source, and it is based on Django and jQuery. It allows the user to play with the data, and its reach is further extended by a net of radio stations which are broadcasting the numbers to remote peasants, who thereby, for the first time ever, get up to date data on prices and general production levels in the country. The implementation for the ministry of agriculture of Nicaragua already contains live data."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Nicaragua Creates Innovative Agricultural Information System With Open Source

Comments Filter:
  • hmmm. (Score:3, Funny)

    by gandhi_2 (1108023) on Friday November 13, 2009 @06:32PM (#30092704) Homepage

    $('plant .coca').harvest('fast');

  • by inKubus (199753) on Friday November 13, 2009 @06:44PM (#30092798) Homepage Journal

    It would be an interesting exercise to check out the U.S. systems and review how they could be improved. Especially the market systems. The USDA does a lot of monitoring of various local markets for everything from cattle to hay to everything in between. Conditions at all these markets contribute to the commodities price at the main trading markets in Chicago. If you look at the USDA data though, it's all still old mainframe stuff with tab delimited all caps formatting. The data is all fairly disjointed and it's not possible right now to mine the data unless you want to collect and translate it all into your own data warehouse. These market reports often contain interesting information about why the price is being affected, such as weather conditions, etc. I think the government should do a better job of making this data available to the public. You know the big trading houses have negotiated direct feeds to this data, and I think that gives them unfair advantage in determining market pricing.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You know the big trading houses have negotiated direct feeds to this data, and I think that gives them unfair advantage in determining market pricing.

      Everything else you said aside, big trading houses determine market pricing because they are big.
      It really is that simple.

      • by inKubus (199753) on Friday November 13, 2009 @07:05PM (#30093010) Homepage Journal

        Everyone determines their own market price, and either you buy or you don't. You are right, big houses do make the largest contribution to the actual pricing, but everyone makes that decision on their own. The small players (consumers), although individually insignificant, together make a huge contribution to the market price. But that usually isn't based on information about the futures market but rather their current economic state. Apples have a price at the grocery store, and what they now cost is what they cost. You have to make the decision at the time you're in the store whether to buy or not. But (and especially for food) this is not a good free market. Consumers should be able to plan when they buy the apples so they will . If you have access to the market information for the next month's apples, and you see that you can get them for half what you could get them for now, you could defer your purchase (if you can) and get more for less. A true free market depends on ALL participants having full access to all the information in the market. Instead, it's largely decided by traders, which means we are subjected to these massive bubbles which are all making a few people a lot of money and its us who suffer. Now, there are fringe benefits to this. In general it smooths out pricing, because the public will constantly over pay which enables higher inventories and that acts as an insurance policy when prices rise (more supply is then dumped). That's fine, I don't care about the public, it's the domination of the market information by a few big guys when there are a lot of people who are interested in investing in this market.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      ...of various local markets for everything from cattle to hay to everything in between....

      I didn't realize there was a market for bovine stomachs and intestines....then again I don't really eat at McDonald's....

      • by pfleming (683342)
        You don't shop at Asian markets then. They sell everything in those places. Cow and pig blood, intestines and even pig uterus.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by TheLink (130905)
          Supermarkets where I am actually sell stuff like liver and gizzards just the way they sell chicken wings, fillets etc.

          I think that's why in my country they often have to import stuff to make sausages, nuggets or patties. The fresh "misc" meat has enough value and actually gets sold in significant quantities.

          Whereas in more "squeamish" countries, they have to disguise the stuff, or convert them to pet food.

          If you eat more of an animal without having to disguise it, it means less wastage and better efficiency
      • Yumm, Haggis [wikipedia.org], you haven't lived until you've eaten haggis!

      • by Abreu (173023)

        You can fry previously boiled bovine or sheep intestines and eat them in tacos... pretty tasty but fattening

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      by citizenr (871508)

      It would be an interesting exercise to check out the U.S. systems and review how they could be improved.

      Burn down all Fast Food chains, that should do it.

  • by KarmaOverDogma (681451) on Friday November 13, 2009 @06:45PM (#30092810) Homepage Journal

    If small time farmers can prosper using this system in one of the poorer country in Latin America, this could bode very well for fair-trade types of practices and businesses, as well as micro-lenders, all over the world.

    Good luck, amigos!

  • Good Job (Score:5, Funny)

    by royallthefourth (1564389) <royallthefourth@gmail.com> on Friday November 13, 2009 @06:48PM (#30092852)
    So Nicaragua comes out and does something really interesting and in response we subject their 400 mhz K6-2 server to the Slashdot Effect. Whose idea was this? Henry Kissinger?
  • So... (Score:5, Funny)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday November 13, 2009 @06:50PM (#30092870) Journal
    How long before Microsoft announces "Microsoft Hinterland ShareCrop Server 2010" to compete?
  • They're hiding something. Since the Japanese ministry of agriculture is not responsible for Gundam, it must be some other ministry of agriculture responsible for it. And this is but one sinister sign of which one exactly it might be...
    • by Qu4Z (1402097)

      Actually, Gundams are programmed in Visual Basic... (At least, they were in Gundam Wing, IIRC)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...if they didn't intermittently keep electing the communist Sandinistas to wreck and loot their country.

  • Vaporware (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mi (197448) on Friday November 13, 2009 @07:20PM (#30093120) Homepage

    It is now also the Latin American country with the most capable web-based information system for agriculture [...] already contains live data.

    Shut up and report back, when agricultural output in the country increases by, at least, 50%...

    For benchmark, this source [nationsencyclopedia.com] reports: During 1990-2000 the agricultural output grew by a yearly average of 5.7%. In 2001, the agricultural trade surplus was $85.2 million. But that was when the Sandinistas were out of power [wikipedia.org]. They are ruling the country again since 2006, when Daniel Ortega returned to the presidency with 37.99% of the vote.

    In 2007 they were afraid of a famine [highbeam.com] blaming a hurricane. Unless their policies [wikipedia.org] are drastically different now, they aren't going to achieve much good, even if they use Linux for their command-and-control implementation of economy — for the Greater Good (TM).

    • by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Friday November 13, 2009 @07:56PM (#30093406)

      Yeah, those hurricanes never do as much damage as those Third World socialist creeps try to claim (cough) Katrina (cough). If they weren't socialists, there wouldn't be a problem.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mi (197448)

        Yeah, those hurricanes never do as much damage as those Third World socialist creeps try to claim (cough) Katrina (cough).

        There was no famine in New Orleans. There was a major break down in law and order and other failures of the local government. A Socialist needn't be from "Third World" to be a disaster — the US is hit by hurricanes regularly, but you don't get reports about shots fired at rescue helicopters [bbc.co.uk] from low income housing... You can blame Bush all you want, but I think, the mismanagement o

        • Re:Vaporware (Score:5, Informative)

          by DavidShor (928926) <supergeek717 AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday November 14, 2009 @07:44AM (#30096464) Homepage
          With all due respect, I invite you to compare to stop cherry-picking and do an actual comparison of the living standards in states run by democrats vs by republicans. See admittedly partisan http://www.vaughns-1-pagers.com/politics/red-blue-states-summary.htm [vaughns-1-pagers.com] , http://blog.lib.umn.edu/cspg/smartpolitics/2009/09/red_states_have_higher_crime_r.php [umn.edu], and FuckTheSouth.com .

          To sum up the data: Per Capita Income in "Blue" states is 20% higher then in Red States and Graduation rates are 5.4% higher. Violent and Property crime are 11.1% and 10.1% higher respectively in states controlled by Republican Legislatures. In terms of taxation, "Blue" States overwhelmingly pay far more in taxes then they receive in federal outlays, with the money going to "Red" states. Interestingly, under pretty much every measure of administrative efficiency, Democratic governments do better then Republican ones, by a sizeable margin.

          Brush it off as the price of hedonist sin? 9 out of 10 of the states with the lowest divorce rates are blue states, while all 10 out of 10 of the top 10 states are red states. All of the top 16 states with the highest abortion rates voted for Bush, while 9 out of 10 of the states with the lowest rates voted for Kerry.

          Unlike you, I'm not going to be a dick and assume Correlation-->Causation, but for what it's worth, the evidence is on my side, not yours.

          Other nitpicks:

          1) When my home state, Florida, got hit by Hurricanes in 2004, crop yields fell by 40%. But unlike Nicaragua, we were part of a large country, most of which was not hit by a Hurricane, that was able to carry us through for our eating needs. Nicaragua meanwhile, is roughly the size of Miami-Dade county. When it gets hit by a hurricane, the entire country gets hit. And so without importing food from elsewhere, famine is inevitable. It's a little inexplicable that this didn't occur to you in your analysis.

          2) "There was no famine in New Orleans. There was a major break down in law and order and other failures of the local government."

          Don't rewrite history. I remember when it took days and days for the government to get *anybody* to the Superdrome as 20,000 people were in dire need of food and water. We spend more on our military then literally every other country combined, but we couldn't air drop food and water onto a large stationary target on our territory? (And don't mention security. Our National Guard manages to run humanitarian efforts in Fallujah under heavy weapon fire). It was a terrible display of incompetence, and voters saw it too, with the disaster triggering a huge structural decrease in Bush's approval ratings.

          3) Unless the pre-Katrina government of New Orleans engaged in policies that nationalized the means of production, then calling them "Socialist" makes you look like a dumbass.

          • by hyades1 (1149581)

            Thanks for picking up the ball and running with it, my friend. I was just reading the guy's response, and my mouth was hanging open from the assumptions he was making and the cherry-picked situations he was trying to mis-apply. I could maybe add a couple of other angles (such as US economic and diplomatic measures routinely used to make things harder for South American "socialist" countries), but why guild the lily? Your response was about as comprehensive as it gets.

            Cheers!

          • by mi (197448)

            To sum up the data: Per Capita Income in "Blue" states is 20% higher then in Red States and Graduation rates are 5.4% higher.

            Easily attributable to the Democratic politicans being better at siphoning the federal pork.

            In terms of taxation, "Blue" States overwhelmingly pay far more in taxes then they receive in federal outlays

            Per person? Anyway, I'm not going to bother with statistics, which even you admit to be partisan. There are many ways to misrepresent data like that — by, for example, excluding ce

            • by DavidShor (928926)
              Easily attributable to the Democratic politicans being better at siphoning the federal pork.

              1) Using http://www.cagw.org/site/PageServer?pagename=reports_pigbook2008porkpercap [cagw.org] as a source, an anti-spending organisation that most would consider right-wing as a source, some quick math (email me and I'd be glad to send you, otherwise, import it into excel...): The average pork per capita is $46.30 in states won by Obama, and $88 in states won by McCain. That's a 90% difference.

              2) Of course, pork spending i

              • by mi (197448)

                Plugging this into excel and comparing with election08 data (Feel free to email me asking for the data if you don't trust me), the average Blue state gets $0.96 in spending for every dollar it pays in taxes. The average Red state receives $1.40 in spending for every dollar in taxes it pays.

                These tables don't specify, what the money was spent on — a union-entrenching public-works project? Public housing? Paying off farmers to grow less food? One could make a case, that the Democrats are charging the pr

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Xveers (1003463)
      But would you expect ANY sort of technological improvement like this to boost output by 50%? Such infrastructure improvements can take years to properly pay off dividends, so we may be waiting for some time before we get real results. That of course will be attributed to other inputs (either because cause/effect cannot be determined, or because it serves a political master better to have something else as the cause).
      • by mi (197448)

        But would you expect ANY sort of technological improvement like this to boost output by 50%?

        Yes, why not?

        Such infrastructure improvements can take years to properly pay off dividends, so we may be waiting for some time before we get real results.

        I'm not even asking for the improvements to pay off — this is separate from an actual output increase. I just want an appreciable increase — regardless of whether it has (yet) paid for the software — before I get excited.

        • by Xveers (1003463)

          But would you expect ANY sort of technological improvement like this to boost output by 50%?

          Yes, why not?

          Because pulling percentage growth numbers out of thin air is PHB at its finest. Set the bar at an unrealistic level and you won't get any motivation or progress. Goals have to be at least somewhat realistic and attainable in some manner for them to be actually useful. Otherwise you get something out of a dilbert cartoon.

          Such infrastructure improvements can take years to properly pay off dividends, so we may be waiting for some time before we get real results.

          I'm not even asking for the improvements to pay off — this is separate from an actual output increase. I just want an appreciable increase — regardless of whether it has (yet) paid for the software — before I get excited.

          Fair enough on that. :) With this however, only time will really tell however.

      • Project Cybersyn (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        About boosting output, have a look at what Chile did with Project Cybersyn [wikipedia.org] during the Allende reign.

        Of course, when the CIA-backed coup [wikipedia.org] took place (Project FUBELT/Track II [wikipedia.org], the first thing the USA-installed puppet dictator Pinochet did was to dismantle the project.

        The Cybersyn project itself was not a reason for the coup. It was collateral damage. But having a more efficient way of governing and routing around damage such as outside-sponsosred strikes in this little leftist country was obviously anti-busine

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Shut up and report back, when agricultural output in the country increases by, at least, 50%...

      To an individual farmer, if they can double their price by selling where there is a shortage then they have effectively doubled their crop. This is better market information, the politics of those who paid for the development is irrelevant. Software works according to maths, not politics.

    • by grrrgrrr (945173)
      You are reading the facts and the article thru a extremely right wing ideological glasses. You have distorted the facts from the article beyond believe. Also I hope that you are not in anyway a supporter of a Fascist regime like that of Somoza, that regime was more to blame for the revolutiuon than the sandinistas . As you can read in the article the revolution (not only the sandinistas where fighting like you seem to think) was bad for agricurtiral development like fighting and war in general is but whe
    • by grrrgrrr (945173)
      Also I object to you spewing your extremist political bullshit in a forum that is not about that please go elsewhere with your propaganda.
    • by KazW (1136177)
      Something like this is unlikely to happen, from their websites, they are extremely anti-GM crops... When will people learn that GM crops will most likely save the world(from hunger)?
      • No voy a comer ese maiz mutante, hombre! No quiero convertir en algun tipo de monstruo, como en las peliculas!!! Prefiero morir de hambre!!!!!1!uno
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Something changes for the better in Nicaragua (from almost no agricultural information to some publicly available agricultural information). You start throwing shit at the Sandinists and their 1980's agricultural policies. Man, this was over twenty years ago. Why not just be happy that something changes for the good?

      And if you refer to back then, you should do it properly. Did you know that:
      * a major (but never realised) 1980's Sandinist priority was feeding the population, more than increasing the agricult

  • by future assassin (639396) on Friday November 13, 2009 @07:27PM (#30093192) Homepage

    and show that giving poor countries technology so that their people can learn, grow and prosper will work out better then just throwing food and money at them just too keep their miserable, go nowhere lives going.

    Give a man a fish he eats for a day, teach a man to fish he eats for a lifetime.

    On the other hand it would be in best interest of big corporation that these poor countries don't move up and prosper as this kills cheap labor.

  • Ronnie Reagan and Ollie North were right! all the Nicaraguans are damned communists! Open Source?! this would never have happened if the USA had continued to fund the Contras! [wikipedia.org]

  • If I read well, Senator Feinsten clearly said: "“Today across the United States, there are not enough agricultural workers to pick, prune, pack or harvest our country’s crops. With an inadequate supply of workers, farmers from Maine to California, and from Washington State to Georgia, have watched their produce rot and their farms lay fallow over the years,” Lean Muscle X [goarticles.com]
  • These peasants are going to get used to looking at data and making decisions, and then what? It's a slippery slope to scientific habits and secularism. We'd best send in the Marines to set things right before it gets too far. Nicaraguans need to accept their place: illiterate, undernourished, and working obediently and QUIETLY for American business.
  • What % of Nicaragua farmers are connected to Internet?

If money can't buy happiness, I guess you'll just have to rent it.

Working...