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By sharing science-based knowledge about crop health, CABI helps smallholder farmers to grow more and lose less, increase their incomes and improve their livelihoods

The challenge

With global challenges like climate change making it increasingly difficult for smallholder farmers living in poor rural communities to grow and sell food, sharing knowledge about crop health has never been more important.

The world’s 800 million smallholder farmers produce most of the world’s food, but the majority live in poor and vulnerable rural communities where they often lack access to science-based information about crop health.

Farmer with plant doctor advising on apple crop
Family in field with plant doctor giving advice

Providing solutions

Working with our donors and partners, we help share knowledge about integrated crop management and plant health with smallholder farmers to help them grow more and lose less.

For example, the CABI-led Plantwise programme improves farmers’ yields and incomes while reducing the use of toxic pesticides. Through the programme, we also help countries improve their plant health systems, so that they can prevent and manage pest outbreaks more effectively.

We have successfully increased plant health knowledge and helped farmers across the world grow healthier crops using natural solutions such as biopesticides and biological control of crop pests, helping them to use fewer chemical pesticides and implement more agricultural best practice.

Our crop health expertise in more detail

The CABI-led Plantwise programme increases food security and improves rural livelihoods by reducing crop losses. Since its launch, Plantwise has supported over 30 million smallholder farmers around the world with crop and plant health knowledge.

We work with donors and partners to deliver projects in integrated crop management (ICM), combining a variety of practices in, for example, pest and soil health management, helping farmers to grow better crops.

Access to healthy seeds and soil is essential for smallholder farmers in developing countries. We help make high-quality seeds available and share information about organic fertilisers and good soil health practices or Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM).

The CABI-led Plantwise programme has reached over 30 million smallholder farmers across the world, sharing the knowledge they need to lose less of what they grow to crop pests and diseases

Key contact

For more information and enquiries about our expertise in crop health, please get in touch.

CABI In Switzerland

Ulrich Kuhlmann

Executive Director, Global Operations

T: +41 (0) 32 4214882 E:

Related Projects

Explore our recent projects from around the world

Wheat Blast: Earth observation and climate forecasts for risk management

Wheat Blast (Magnaporthe oryzae Triticum or ‘MOT’) is a plant disease of global concern, threatening crop production and biosecurity. Known to favour humid, warmer climates, the disease is a severe problem in Bangladesh and South America. However, the consequences of climate change pose the risk of the disease infecting other wheat-growing areas. Coupled with its ability to spread rapidly through the air and seeds, Wheat Blast’s devastating effects and limited control options are leading to heavy yield losses and it is now a threat to global food security. This project brings together a project consortium, formed of experts in Earth observation, remote sensing, pest and disease modelling, datasets and information dissemination to produce Wheat Blast risk maps and actionable advice as part of a framework. The framework will be used by key stakeholders as part of a targeted management approach to the disease.

EU-China joint action to increase the development and adoption of IPM tools

The persistent threat of invasive agricultural pests and their chronic re-emergence underlines the importance of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) tools and their implementation. Pest management typically relies largely on chemical pesticides, increasing the risks to humans and wildlife. Despite European Union and Chinese policies promoting the use of IPM, widespread adoption by farmers is limited. This project will utilize existing knowledge and techniques to adapt and optimize future IPM tools and practices. The project will further develop high-potential IPM tools and design cost-effective, environmentally safe IPM packages for economically important crops. Together with partners, CABI will lead the development of a web-based IPM tool performance demonstrator. CABI will also make valuable contributions to the development and efficacy of IPM tools against fall armyworm and develop a biocontrol agent for common ragweed.


Earth observation to improve critical datasets for pest risk modelling

Rising temperatures have led to pests, diseases and weeds establishing in areas of the world that were previously uninhabitable. Furthermore, growth in global trade and new trade pathways increase the risk of accidental movement of pests. Earth Observation (EO) and climatic data can help by improving predictions about where potential agricultural pests and diseases may be a threat. Information produced by models can help decision makers understand and prepare for future risks. Working with a consortium of researchers, this project will use EO data to improve the data layers used in models that predict where pests can establish, including irrigation, areas under protected agriculture and climatic canopy conditions, demonstrating the improvements made to species distribution estimations for key pests and biological control agents.

Featured Publications

Papers and other publications that we hope you find enlightening

Sustainable Improvements in Diagnostic Capabilities of Plant Health Practitioners through Short In-Service Training

Many growers rely on good agricultural extension servic…


Type Journal article

Language English

Year 2023

Use of plant clinic advice among farmers in Ethiopia: implications for sustainable pest management service

This study examined the use of crop health advices that…


Type Journal article

Published in International Journal of Pest Management

Language English

Year 2021