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Through the creation and application of digital technologies, CABI brings science-based agricultural knowledge to millions of smallholder farmers helping to increase their yields

The challenge

The vast majority of smallholder farmers have little access to agricultural information or public ‘extension’ farming experts. There are just two public extension agents per 10,000 farmers in India and four per 10,000 farmers in Tanzania.

Digital development can help bring practical agricultural knowledge to smallholder farmers and help them grow more healthy, nutritious and profitable crops. Technology also makes the agricultural sector more attractive to young farmers and helps us to target and reach more women farmers.

Plant doctor using tablet to diagnose plant disease
Satellite

Providing solutions

Using its expertise in digital development, CABI helps transform smallholder farmers’ livelihoods turning data and science-based knowledge into practical information that addresses their real needs.

Our work in digital development includes the creation of knowledge portals such as the Plantwise Knowledge Bank and the Invasive Species Compendium, as well as apps and mobile phone services that bring agricultural knowledge to smallholder farmers.

Our data-driven development work includes the PRISE pest forecasting system, and the creation of tools such as digital data collection to support project work.

Our digital development expertise in more detail

Information and evidence: We provide access to scientific information to farmers, practitioners, and policy makers, tailoring formats and channels for each audience. Access to information is no longer enough – we deliver data and add value and interactivity.

Data-driven development: We develop tools and research partnerships and data-driven approaches to sustainable development. Our core strengths are data-driven decision support tools, geospatial modelling, data policy and linkages to end users.

Tools for data collection and communication: We develop and deploy ICT tools for two-way communication among farmers, extension staff, experts and other relevant groups. We meet users where they are, on the platforms they use, automating our interactions as much as possible.

An estimated 40% of crops are lost to pests. Our data-driven work provides innovative solutions to help farmers manage pests and increase their yields

Lead contact

For more information and enquiries about our expertise in digital development and knowledge management, please get in touch.

CABI In Wallingford

Cambria Finegold

Global Director, Digital Development

T: +44 (0)1491 829305 E: c.finegold@cabi.org

Related Projects

Explore our recent projects from around the world

Strengthening food security systems in Pakistan

Thirty-seven percent of Pakistan’s population is already vulnerable to food insecurity. This figure will soon exacerbate given the effect of recent external challenges including the rapid spread of Covid-19 and its subsequent Government restrictions, and Pakistan’s largest locust infestation in 25 years devasting large areas of agricultural land, including cotton, wheat, maize, and other crops. Adding to this turmoil is recent extreme weather events which have demonstrated that Pakistan’s food security and agriculture are critically exposed to the adverse impacts of climate change. In this project, CABI will support the Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFSR) and four provincial agriculture departments in adopting technologies and advanced practices to manage these impacts, disseminating technologies and practices to stakeholders and recommending measures for building long-term resilience and sustainable food security.

PlantwisePlus

Farmers’ crops are increasingly at the mercy of climate change, pests and diseases. PlantwisePlus will work to help countries predict, prepare for and prevent potential threats and reduce crop losses. We will provide comprehensive support to countries and farmers so they meet the increasing global demand for quality food in a changing climate.

Development of farmer-friendly plant health digital content for smallholder farmers in Kenya

Digital technology has the potential to improve farmer livelihoods through access and utilization of agricultural digital platforms and digital online content across the agricultural value chain. However, despite the rapid global interest and growth of digital services, smallholder farmers face challenges that hinder them from realising the benefits of new and existing digital services, particularly in the areas of crop pests and disease management. Some of the challenges which farmers face include a lack of knowledge, poor mobile internet connectivity, limited finances and skills gaps, especially among women. In this project, CABI developed farmer-friendly, digital plant health content for six main crops with the aim of improving access and encouraging the use of digital resources to enable sustainable agriculture production and food security.

Featured Publications

Papers and other publications that we hope you find enlightening

Assessment of the use and benefits of the Plantwise Knowledge Bank

DOI https://dx.doi.org/10.1079/CABICOMM-62-8168

Type Working paper

Published in Working Paper 30

Language English

Year 2022

PlantwisePlus Annual Report 2021

Type Annual review

Language English

Year 2022