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Improving lives by solving problems in agriculture and the environment

Mobile technology: case study

Mobile technology: case study

The growth of mobile use in developing countries, rural regions in particular, provides an opportunity to deliver critical, information-based agricultural services directly to smallholders. Access to the right information, applied correctly, can increase productivity and improve livelihoods in many farming households.

We work with farmers, mobile operators, content providers, extension services and industry bodies to provide mobile services across the whole agricultural supply chain.


Woman using mobile phone

Using mobile technology to help farmers make better agricultural decisions

Smallholder farmers are often unable to access information or public advisory services on a regular basis, but mobile technology is providing an answer. With a growing number of people in the developing world now using mobiles (already up to 40%), CABI is enabling farmers to get timely and targeted agricultural advice. We are bridging the information gap that conventional public extension services cannot span.

Theni Jakhammal using her mobile phone

Reaching 1.9 million smallholders by phone

Agriculture is key to the economy of developing nations, so it is important that farmers here can acess public advisory information. We aim to reach even the most remote smallholders with useful information and are already reaching 1.9 million farmers through our mKisan project. The benefits of using mobile phones to deliver agricultural advisory information is that the data can be updated easily, so the information being passed on to farmers is as current as possible.

Mobile phone connecting seller and buyer

20% of rural customers fall below the poverty line

We provide content and quality assurance through the Direct2Farm database, as well as providing advice on seeds, soil and different markets. By reaching the poorest smallholders, the CABI team are maximizing the incomes of the people who need it the most.


67% of users younger than 29 

The majority of users are under the age of 29 which suggests that young people are more open to receiving agricultural advice via mobile. A survey also showed that around 30% of these customers did not own land and were either students or labourers. These statistics highlight the importance of us providing information on starting up a smallholding and which product and market is best for each smallholder.