CABI’s innovative use of technology, data, and knowledge transfer to reduce crop losses in the developing world
Published: August, 2017
CABI is a not‐for‐profit, knowledge‐based organization with a mission to improve livelihoods by solving problems in agriculture and the environment. It aims to achieve impact at scale by combining modern ICTs with knowledge management skills and the ability to bridge the gap between research and the practical application of scientific knowledge. The global Plantwise program, led by CABI, aims to reduce crop losses by focusing on improving plant health information services throughout the developing world, where up to 80% of the world’s food is produced. Its aim is to “lose less and feed more” by providing appropriate, authoritative, and practical information to farmers through a network of face‐to‐face plant clinics, backed up by a vast Knowledge Bank of factsheets, distribution maps, images, and pest management toolkits. Introducing simple Android tablets into the Plantwise plant clinics, backed up by mobile phone advisory services, has built capacity in farmer communities, increased the speed with which new pests and diseases can be identified and improved the quality of the diagnoses and advice provided by the Plant Doctors. As the Plantwise network grows, the data collected and held in the Knowledge Bank can be analyzed and combined with other sources to provide new insights and tools to address the challenges of increasing productivity and adapting to climate change. As a partner in the GODAN initiative, CABI is also collaborating with other data providers to seek solutions to the world’s agricultural challenges and to build the digital skills needed to drive the data revolution.