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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 communication 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

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

CABI staff showing Tuta absoluta with farmer

Demonstrating biological approaches for sustainable management of tomato leafminer in Kenya

Since 2014, the tomato leafminer has become the most serious threat to the sustainable productivity of tomato in Kenya, causing up to 80% yield loss. Almost 98% of farmers’ crop suffer from this pest and when using pesticides as a control method, only 27% of farmers report success. Building on CABI’s expertise in biological control and integrated pest management, in this project, CABI is collaborating with Koppert, a global supplier of biological control products, to demonstrate to farmers, the benefits of biological control within an integrated approach.

Parasitized mealybug by Aenasius bambawalei

Rearing natural enemies to control crop pests in Pakistan

Protecting crops from pests and diseases in Pakistan is still reliant on unsustainable pesticide practices. Between 1980 and 2004 the use of pesticide increased by over 6,600 percent, despite yields remaining stagnant over the same period. Since 2004, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) methods have proved successful for reducing pesticide use and protecting human health and the environment. This project aims to establish 50 Natural Enemies Field Reservoirs (NEFRs) to tackle crop pests directly and train over 31,500 farmers and extension staff on implementing IPM technologies in Sindh province.Protecting crops from pests and diseases in Pakistan is still reliant on unsustainable pesticide practices. Between 1980 and 2004 the use of pesticide increased by over 6,600 percent, despite yields remaining stagnant over the same period. Since 2004, Integrated Pest Management (IPM) methods have proved successful for reducing pesticide use and protecting human health and the environment. This project aims to establish 50 Natural Enemies Field Reservoirs (NEFRs) to tackle crop pests directly and train over 31,500 farmers and extension staff on implementing IPM technologies in Sindh province.

Training session with taxonomists on scale insect collection

Addressing scale insect threats in Kenya

In Kenya, scale insect pests are damaging native trees and crops and, consequently, causing yield losses of up-to 91%. Smallholders’ awareness of the threats posed by these insects is low because they are small and cryptic, whilst local entomologists cannot easily identify them.

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