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CABI’s unique expertise and global presence around the world allows us to communicate the agricultural knowledge that smallholders need to make lasting change and improve their livelihoods

The challenge

Knowledge and information can help address global challenges like hunger and poverty, but a disconnect often exists between the solutions to global problems and the millions of people living in poor and vulnerable rural communities who need them most.

Development communication and extension (advisory services) are important instruments for encouraging dialogue about science-based farming solutions with communities, helping to stimulate agricultural production. However, they are often under resourced.

Village listening to radio
Farmer reading poster

Providing solutions

We use our on-the-ground expertise in development communications and agricultural extension to help smallholder farmers apply tried and tested agricultural practices that improve their yields. We work with a range of approaches – from SMS messaging to village-based video screenings and ‘demonstration’ plots to communicate in the most effective way.

We are in a unique position to link research outputs with community realities. We analyse and help remove the barriers that exist between knowledge and how farmers use it. We work closely with our donors and partners to understand and minimize the hurdles that hinder communication.

This requires a deep understanding of the science behind the technologies we are transferring to new users; the capacity to find, appraise and use evidence, and the skills to communicate with both specialist and non-specialist audiences.

Our development communication and extension expertise in more detail

Approaches to communicating with smallholder farmers can be overly-simplistic. CABI specializes in curating and transforming content to make it more digestible and understandable to farmers, which, in turn, helps them make decisions about their farming practices.

We support agricultural extension services with programmes such as Plantwise and tools such as capacity building. Through this, we build engagement and ownership, which leads to long-term, positive change.

Technology is an important part of the uptake and adoption process. We combine our understanding of development communication and digital development to reach millions of farmers using mobile phones, radio and video.

More than a million farmers have been reached with Good Agricultural Practice and Integrated Soil Fertility Management information through Africa Soil Health Consortium integrated campaigns in four countries (Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda), and at least 220,000 farmers have applied at least one improved technology (improved seed, fertiliser, inoculant).

Lead contact

For more information and enquiries about our expertise in development communication and extension, please get in touch.

CABI In Kenya

Dannie Romney

Senior Global Director, Development Communication and Extension

T: +254 20 72 24450 E: d.romney@cabi.org

Related Projects

Explore our recent projects from around the world

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.

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.

Enhancing technical capacity for monitoring and managing fall armyworm in Bangladesh

Fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda, is an incredibly highly invasive pest that feeds on over 80 plant species. Favouring maize and wheat, this caterpillar devastates crops and consequently affects the food security of smallholder farmers and the country. In Bangladesh, maize is the second most important crop which is grown on over 500,000 hectares. With the FAW’s ability to spread quickly, if not managed early, it can damage up to 80% of crops. In this project, CABI provided essential support in increasing the resilience of livelihoods in Bangladesh against the threats and crises caused by the FAW invasion in the country.  

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