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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

Bacteria, microbiome

The European MICRObiome Biobanking (RI) Enabler

Microbiomes are communities of microorganisms that include bacteria, archaea, protists, fungi and microalgae, their structural elements, metabolites, signal molecules, mobile genetic elements and surrounding environmental conditions. They are essential for maintaining ecosystems and the health of plants, animals and humans. The EU-funded MICROBE project will cooperate with research infrastructures to create and develop methodologies and technologies to enable access to microbiome samples and associated data. The project objectives include technical solutions for microbiome preservation, propagation and functionality assessment, as well as data infrastructures. MICROBE will also address issues associated with standardization, ethical and legal requirements, and business opportunities.

Biocontrol of papaya mealybug in East Africa

Papaya mealybug invaded East Africa between 2015 to 2020. The pest causes 57%- 91% yield and £2,224/ha household economic losses annually and severely impacts the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. As a means of control, nearly 51% of farmers manage the pest using pesticides which harm insect biodiversity in addition to other non-target effects. Biological control is an ecologically friendlier approach that has controlled papaya mealybug elsewhere around the globe. This project aims to introduce Acerophagus papayae for classical biological control of papaya mealybug. Through this initiative, the project intends to improve the capacity of farmers and extension services to adopt climate-smart conservation biocontrol practices that interface with biodiversity conservation efforts and ultimately enhance food security.

Market scene in Nairobi, Kenya

Managing scale insects in fresh fruits in East Africa to enhance market access

Trade in mango, avocado, papaya and citrus within the East African Community region, the European Union and China at import and export levels have been rising. However, meeting the increasing demand is being affected by a number of crop pests and diseases. In East Africa, scale insects – mealybug pests such as Papaya mealybug and fruit tree mealybug – are impacting cultivation and yields. To tackle these pests and increase trade, CABI is working with partners to increase compliance with sanitary and phytosanitary requirements through improved surveillance and management of scale insect pests in East Africa.

Featured Publications

Papers and other publications that we hope you find enlightening

PlantwisePlus Annual Review 2023

Type Annual review

Language English

Year 2024

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