Chinyunyu Plant Clinic in Rufunsa district, Zambia. Plant doctors Obedience Sibale (blue shirt) and Bwalya Mulenga (green lab coat) advise farmers.

Smallholder farmers at this plant clinic in Zambia receive advice on how to detect, diagnose and deal with pests and diseases which threaten their crops and livelihoods (Copyright David Ng’ambi for CABI)

CABI’s Plantwise programme, which helps farmers grow more and lose less to crop pests and diseases, has become a Vanguard member of the Million Lives Club – an initiative that celebrates innovators and social entrepreneurs who are scaling impact in improving the lives of those living on less than $5 a day.

The Million Lives Club (MLB) seeks to nurture innovation ecosystems by recognizing innovators and social entrepreneurs whose programmes have scaled to serve 1 million customers, or are rapidly approaching this milestone.


Million Lives Club logo


Plantwise is one of 31 Vanguard programmes whose social innovations have reached and already impacted a transformative number of beneficiaries. Each member of the Million Lives Club has lessons to share and will continue to act as powerful advocates for the uptake and scaling of innovations for global good.

Since its launch in 2011, the Plantwise programme, which is funded by a range of donors including those that are also members of the the Million Lives Club has reached over 30 million smallholder farmers in more than 30 countries.

The programme works closely with national agricultural advisory services to run a global plant clinic network which is staffed by trained plant doctors where farmers can find practical plant health advice. Farmers can also receive help in the field where necessary.

This farmer in Zambia is able to help ensure local and regional food security by drawing upon the very latest plant health advice from plant doctors and the Plantwise Knowledge Bank (Copyright David Ng’ambi for CABI)

Plant clinics are reinforced by the Plantwise Knowledge Bank which is a gateway to practical online and offline plant health information, including diagnostic resources, best-practice pest management advice and plant clinic data analysis for targeted crop protection.

Phil Abrahams, CABI’s Business Development Director, said, “We are honoured to have been selected and look forward to both learning from other organisations who have brought their innovations to scale, as well as sharing our experience of scaling the Plantwise programme.

“Innovations such as Plantwise serve to help farmers improve their knowledge and skills, resulting in higher crop yields and incomes, which in turns helps them become more resilient to climate and financial shocks.”

Every year, an estimated 40 percent of crops are lost to pests. This includes the fall armyworm which has spread to more than 40 countries and, according to CABI’s 2018 fall armyworm evidence note, has seen maize farmers suffer average losses of 26.6% in Ghana and 35% in Zambia due to the pest.

Other CABI innovations that work to help smallholder farmers tackle pests and diseases alongside the Plantwise programme include the Pest Risk Information Service (PRISE) – which uses satellite data to track and monitor pests – and the newly-launched Pest Risk Analysis Tool that helps National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPOs) carry out risk assessments on plant commodity imports.

The Million Lives Club is an initiative inspired by members of the International Development Innovation Alliance (IDIA) and supported by a growing partnership of leading development organizations. CABI, along with other successful organisations, had their membership of the MLC confirmed on the first day of the Social Capital Markets (SOCAP 19) Conference in San Francisco, USA, which runs until Friday this week.


Additional information

Find out more about Plantwise, including the full list of partners, donors, resources and impact stories, research and reports from

The donors contributing to Plantwise are: the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the Directorate General for International Cooperation (DGIS, Netherlands), the European Commission (EU DEVCO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Irish Aid, the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA).

Discover extra information concerning the Million Lives Club from the website

Leave a Comment