03 December 2020


Who owns agricultural and environmental data?


In recent years, we have witnessed a huge increase in the amount of data generated on farms and their uses and users. This raises daily questions about the ownership, use and sharing of data, along with the value creation emerging from this new economy.

This situation also occurs in the field of environmental monitoring.

An optimal, balanced management of this data demands a legal framework. Since European strategy is aimed at openness and data sharing, it is essential to address the issue of intellectual property.

Regulations concerning the access and transfer of data are already evolving (GDPR - General Data Protection Regulation, PSI (Public Sector Information directive), Open data, etc.). There are no specific provisions for the Walloon region.



Following an initial project, OpEnAgro 4.0 (2017-2019), launched by the CRA-W and the ISSeP www.issep.be , the OpEnAgro 4.1 project (2020-2022), coordinated by the CRA-W, is an unprecedented project that unites public research organisations and key players in the agricultural industry (CRA-W, ISSeP, Elevéo, WalDigiFarm and REQUASUD), with specialists in new technology law (CRIDS-UNamur), the objectives being as follows:

  • to provide strategies and tools for the utilisation of agricultural and environmental data, along with platforms and decision support tools built on this data;


  • to identify the legal structure for a whole series of data and databases according to their origin, “sensitivity”, context, conditions and reason for processing;


  • to ascertain the existing knowledge base in Wallonia in terms of platforms and decision support tools intended for the agriculture and livestock sectors, as well as environmental monitoring;


  • to analyse the relevance of associated legal provisions and environmental data in order to ensure optimum access to users from the agricultural sector, while maintaining the recognition of "data creators";


  • to train those responsible for research and development in public bodies, who are key participants in the project, to enable them to understand and respond appropriately in matters of contracting and awareness of the legal aspects when establishing the utilisation of data, databases and platforms/decision support tools .



In practical terms, this will lead to:


  • the definition of good practices necessary for the development of tools (platforms, decision support tools).
  • a range of effective Walloon tools that conform to data ownership : interoperable platforms, Decision Support Tools, etc.
  • the training of researchers who develop decision support tools in the areas of Smart Farming, sustainability assessment, etc.





CRA-W : Dominique Vrebos, Viviane Planchon, Gilberte Thiry

CRIDS (UNamur) : Manon Knockaert

Elevéo (Awé): François Riga, Carlo Bertozzi, Sandra Mention

ISSeP : Isabelle Simons, Eric Hallot, Gérard Swinnen, Guy Scroyen

REQUASUD : Florence Ferber

WalDigiFarm : Sébastien Weyckmans

Press feedback

À qui appartiennent les données? Un large partenariat autour du projet OpEnAgro4.1 - Sillon belge - 14/12/2020

Le numérique creuse plusieurs sillons - Le Vif - 20/05/2021 - La numérisation implique aussi de mettre en place un cadre pour la protection des données.