You are here: Home / About CABI / Food security

The global challenge

Too many people worldwide lack access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food. As many as 828 million people still go hungry.

Many of these people are either smallholder farmers or they depend on their output - 80% of food consumed in developing regions is grown by small-scale farmers.

With food demand expected to grow by more than 70% by 2050, there is a need to put in place sustainable food systems that work for smallholders.

Supporting the integration of smallholders into these systems and minimizing their crop losses (up to 40% of which are currently caused by crop pests) can help reduce hunger and increase rural incomes.

SDG 2: Zero Hunger aims to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.

CABI is a leader in empowering farmers with knowledge, skills, tools and technology that can help them grow more and lose less to pests and diseases, increase their incomes and improve their livelihoods.

CABI helps smallholder farmers to improve their crop yields, tackle pests and diseases, and find alternatives to pesticides. With our help, farmers are gaining access to better planting materials and seeds and adopting sustainable agricultural practices.

We work with governments and other stakeholders to influence policies and practices to support farmers’ access to markets, finance and nature-positive solutions. We also apply our expertise in food value chains, trade and digital development to create employment opportunities and improve livelihoods.

Our action

To deliver change, we:
  • Support sustainable food production by strengthening the links between plant health system components, including advisory services, research, input supply and regulation
  • Predict and prevent pest threats to crops through co-ordinated prioritization and response plans that employ digital technology, including earth observation data and modelling
  • Improve farmers’ market access, incomes and welfare by increasing the use of low-risk plant protection products and Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies that enable safer production of higher-value produce
  • Mobilize agro-input dealers as advisors on, and suppliers of, sustainable crop solutions
  • Provide research to support investment in SMEs serving the needs of smallholder farmers

Examples of our work

Building on CABI’s earlier Plantwise and Action on Invasives programmes, PlantwisePlus works to improve the food security and livelihoods of smallholder farmers through three “impact pathways”: (1) pest preparedness – improving the prediction and prevention of, and preparation for, pest threats to crops; (2) farm advisory – providing farmers and advisory service providers with better information to support sustainable and climate-resilient agriculture; and (3) pesticide risk reduction – moving towards safer approaches to crop protection. We aim to reach 50 million farmers.

CABI helps farmers improve the quality and safety of what they grow, helping them access domestic and international value chains and markets. For example, Ghanaian and Ugandan producers faced challenges in accessing the European Union market because their produce did not meet the EU’s high SPS standards. CABI’s work helped Ghanaian and Uganda farmers improve the quality and safety of their produce. The EU lifted its ban on imports of Ghanaian produce (worth US$ 15m) and the number of interceptions of Ugandan products was reduced from 36 to zero.

The Pest Risk Information Service (PRISE) is an early warning system combining earth observation technology, pest models and real-time field observations to deliver tailored pest alerts and actionable advice to farmers. Tailored messages are delivered to farmers through our Plantwise network and other extension services, giving clear advice on how and when to apply appropriate practices to minimize crop damage. PRISE has helped farmers in Africa reduce crop losses and decrease chemical pesticide applications, leading to higher yields, increased incomes and a healthier environment.