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The global challenge

Despite the wealth of data available about agriculture and the environment, major gaps remain.

Further effort is needed to curate, synthesize and make more accessible existing data and evidence, to turn it into useful knowledge that is available to different stakeholders who are working to solve problems in these fields.

SDG 4: Quality Education seeks to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

CABI uniquely combines original scientific research, scientific publishing, independent journalism on science for development, and practical expertise in using digital and other tools to reach farmers and other stakeholders with scientifically proven approaches.

We create, curate and share high-quality evidence that is relevant to policy and practice, for different stakeholders, from farmers and their advisors to policymakers, researchers, students, industry actors and investors.

Our work seeks to increase the reach, application and impact of science that can benefit agriculture and the environment, with an emphasis on ensuring science is user-focused, needs-driven, and co-created with partners, customers and end users.

Our action

To deliver change, we:
  • Translate scientific research in agriculture and the environment into policy and practice, evaluating how best to deliver positive social and behavioural change in different contexts
  • Collaborate with Member Country governments and other institutions to promote the expansion of local scientific and technical capacities and international co-operation in the agricultural and environmental arenas
  • Enhance, expand and extend the reach of CABI’s Publishing and Knowledge products and learning resources
  • Increase the output and reach of SciDev.Net’s independent coverage of science for development
  • Transform the support for evidence-based approaches to agriculture, food, climate and development
  • Champion the application of FAIR principles in the governance of development data to ensure data generated from development projects is "findable, accessible, interoperable and reuseable"
  • Contribute to the global evidence base through conducting and publishing our own high-quality scientific and social scientific research

Examples of our work

Our publications in the applied life sciences – including world-leading databases, books, eBooks, case studies, open-access journals and repositories, such as the Compendium and Collections – help scientists discover credible and authoritative data and research outputs from around the globe. Our tools add insights to data and help people apply science to real-world problems. Our expertise and skills in publishing help put knowledge into context and put it into the hands of those who need it most. Our learning resources build the capacity of farmers, practitioners and scientists to improve agricultural practices.

We use our on-the-ground expertise in development communication and agricultural extension services to help smallholder farmers apply agricultural practices that improve their yields. A project supported by CABI in Tanzania and Uganda aimed to improve banana farming practices by commissioning farmer intermediaries to share banana farming information with thousands of smallholders. The project reached 47,650 farmers, and the farmers who participated increased their yields by 64% – worth an extra US$8.15m annually in total.

We use technology to enhance and make more accessible knowledge that already exists. For example, we enhanced chat groups used by plant doctors when providing advice to farmers at plant clinics. We used chatbot technology and artificial intelligence-driven computer vision to enable plant doctors to directly connect with the CABI diagnosis team so they can receive timely expert assistance when they need it. The technology also guides the plant doctors to provide better images of the crop problems they are seeing, making the process more efficient.

CABI works to make data and evidence that already exists more findable by, and accessible to, different stakeholders. In Ethiopia, it was found that data in the National Soil Information System was not easily available to all the key stakeholders who needed it, including the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture, in part due to the lack of a national data sharing policy. CABI facilitated the co-creation of a data policy based on the FAIR data principles, as well as implementation plans. These have now been approved by the Government of Ethiopia.

SciDev.Net reports frequently on trigger stories in prominent mainstream media outlets. For example, when a SciDev.Net article on the unequal burden borne by women during the COVID-19 pandemic was shared in a tweet by Melinda Gates it was then retweeted by representatives from global health institutions, such as the United Nations Population Fund, CARE and Jhpiego. SciDev.Net responded by convening a follow-up debate on the subject, attended by academics, representatives from non-profits, and those with policy roles. A follow-up article found that various countries that had never reported sex-disaggregated data before had recently started to do so.

Researchers need the know-how and tools to develop rapid evidence synthesis at short notice, and coordinated networks need to be able to translate, communicate, and share evidence at a moment’s notice so that policymakers can use that evidence. The Juno Evidence Alliance will be a cutting-edge global platform that empowers evidence-based policy in agriculture, food systems, and climate adaptation. By utilizing artificial intelligence and proven research methodologies, the aim is to streamline the synthesis of diverse data sources, providing timely, relevant, and high-quality conclusions for governments, funders, and policymakers.