Development communications can reach out to smallholder farmers with vital information on how to maximise yields from their crops

CABI is hosting a one-day conference to highlight the vital role development communications in agriculture plays in helping the world’s smallholder farmers maximise their profits and contribute towards ensuring global food security.

Donor and partner agencies are invited to attend the event, entitled ‘Dialogue in Agriculture: Inclusive and demand-driven communication in smallholder agricultural systems’, to see how sharing information can help farmers grow more and lose less to crop pests and diseases amidst challenges including climate change.

Attendees to the conference, which is being held at the Royal Society of Chemistry in London on Friday 29 November 2019, will bring together thought leaders from organizations with extensive experience in implementing communication programmes with smallholder farmers in developing countries in Africa and Asia.

Among the major extension programmes to be highlighted will be the Africa Soil Health Consortium (ASHC) – which has reached more than a million farmers with good agricultural practice and soil fertility management information in Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda. At least 220,000 farmers have applied at least one improved technology – such as better seed, fertilizer or inoculant – as a result of ASHC’s intervention.

Another initiative that will be showcased is the Plantwise programme which has reached an estimated 31 million farmers – through its network of plant clinics, plant doctors and mass communication campaigns.

The conference will consider the role ICT, gender, language, culture and the public sector plays in development communications as well as the family’s place in making decisions regarding pest and disease management strategies in smallholder farming.

Dannie Romney, CABI’s Global Director, Development Communication and Extension, said, “Being a smallholder farmer in a developing country is tough. Challenges, such as climate change, new pests and diseases, the need for sustainable agricultural intensification, fluctuating global markets and shifts in what the market demands, all conspire to make profitability and food security harder.

“Expert and timely information is critical to overcoming these challenges. Agencies need to present knowledge that enables farmers to make more informed decisions, alongside programmes that make the markets function to support smallholder farmers much better.”

Nick Ishmael-Perkins is the Learning and Communication Lead for the £30 million UK Department for International Development (DFID)-funded Commercial Agriculture for Smallholders and Agribusiness (CASA) programme which aims to improve the livelihoods of 565,000 smallholder farmers and their families in Uganda, Malawi and Nepal by stimulating investment in emerging agri-markets.

He will deliver an introductory speech at the event and serve as moderator for a session on campaign delivery.

Nick said, “There is a lot of good work going on in development communication across the globe and CABI is playing its part along with so many other donors, NGOs, businesses and academics.

“This event will be a showcase of development communication in agriculture based around a series of conversations which will focus on campaign development and delivery, the role of ICT and impact and learning – all with the world’s smallholder farmers at the very centre of the extension process.”

You can book your place at the ‘Dialogue in Agriculture: Inclusive and demand-driven communication in smallholder agricultural systems’ event on Eventbrite.


Additional information

Find out more about how CABI’s expertise in Development Communication and Extension is making a difference to the lives of smallholder farmers around the world.