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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

PlantwisePlus

Farmers’ crops are increasingly at the mercy of climate change, pests and diseases. PlantwisePlus will work to help countries predict, prepare for and prevent potential threats and reduce crop losses. We will provide comprehensive support to countries and farmers so they meet the increasing global demand for quality food in a changing climate.

Development of farmer-friendly plant health digital content for smallholder farmers in Kenya

Digital technology has the potential to improve farmer livelihoods through access and utilization of agricultural digital platforms and digital online content across the agricultural value chain. However, despite the rapid global interest and growth of digital services, smallholder farmers face challenges that hinder them from realising the benefits of new and existing digital services, particularly in the areas of crop pests and disease management. Some of the challenges which farmers face include a lack of knowledge, poor mobile internet connectivity, limited finances and skills gaps, especially among women. In this project, CABI developed farmer-friendly, digital plant health content for six main crops with the aim of improving access and encouraging the use of digital resources to enable sustainable agriculture production and food security.

Investigating technological risks in development and food security

Food insecurity, caused by increases in the global population and the loss of arable land due to climate change and conflicts, pose a major risk to human lives and well-being, especially in the Global South. While technologies have been introduced to tackle food insecurity, it is understood that unintended risks, such as loss of biodiversity and environmental pollution, have surfaced for local communities as a result. To maintain and improve food security, it is necessary to ensure that agricultural production is effective, efficient and sustainable. This project seeks to investigate how technologies that have been introduced as solutions to food insecurity have contributed to the creation of new technological risks, and how these technologies should be governed.