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Through the creation and application of digital technologies, CABI brings science-based agricultural knowledge to millions of smallholder farmers helping to increase their yields

The challenge

The vast majority of smallholder farmers have little access to agricultural information or public ‘extension’ farming experts. There are just two public extension agents per 10,000 farmers in India and four per 10,000 farmers in Tanzania.

Digital development can help bring practical agricultural knowledge to smallholder farmers and help them grow more healthy, nutritious and profitable crops. Technology also makes the agricultural sector more attractive to young farmers and helps us to target and reach more women farmers.

Plant doctor using tablet to diagnose plant disease

Providing solutions

Using its expertise in digital development, CABI helps transform smallholder farmers’ livelihoods turning data and science-based knowledge into practical information that addresses their real needs.

Our work in digital development includes the creation of knowledge portals such as the Plantwise Knowledge Bank and the Invasive Species Compendium, as well as apps and mobile phone services that bring agricultural knowledge to smallholder farmers.

Our data-driven development work includes the PRISE pest forecasting system, and the creation of tools such as digital data collection to support project work.

Our digital development expertise in more detail

Information and evidence: We provide access to scientific information to farmers, practitioners, and policy makers, tailoring formats and channels for each audience. Access to information is no longer enough – we deliver data and add value and interactivity.

Data-driven development: We develop tools and research partnerships and data-driven approaches to sustainable development. Our core strengths are data-driven decision support tools, geospatial modelling, data policy and linkages to end users.

Tools for data collection and communication: We develop and deploy ICT tools for two-way communication among farmers, extension staff, experts and other relevant groups. We meet users where they are, on the platforms they use, automating our interactions as much as possible.

An estimated 40% of crops are lost to pests. Our data-driven work provides innovative solutions to help farmers manage pests and increase their yields

Lead contact

For more information and enquiries about our expertise in digital development and knowledge management, please get in touch.

CABI In Wallingford

Cambria Finegold

Global Director, Digital Development

T: +44 (0)1491 829305 E:

Related Projects

Explore our recent projects from around the world

Enhancing technology-based agriculture and marketing in rural Punjab

Punjab’s agriculture growth rate has declined over the last two decades because of various challenges. These include the inadequate availability of high-yielding cultivars and lack of diversification in cultivation, inefficient on-farm water management, poor infrastructure for value chain development, weak research and extension services that are largely disconnected from market demands. There is, however, also the lack of advanced agriculture management supported by new technologies and innovations which can support sustainable agricultural growth in Punjab. This project will facilitate the rapid adoption of advanced technologies to strengthen value chains and improve the productivity and profitability of agriculture in Punjab. It will also enable further development and adoption of advanced technologies to benefit the agriculture sector while contributing to higher farmer incomes and improved livelihoods in rural communities.


Improving soybean production in Kenya using digital and extension approaches

In Kenya, soybean is a key crop in helping to improve livelihoods and nutrition. However, production only meets 10% of the market needs due to the effects of poor agricultural practices and pests and diseases. To address these issues, this project will provide a frontier system that integrates Earth Observation technology, pest modelling and best-practice approaches in agricultural extension to increase soybean productivity and quality. The project aims to reach 30,000 farmers, of which support will be given particularly to women farmers in helping them to engage with this high-value commodity, access local markets and improve their livelihoods.

Rwanda Soil Information Services (RwaSIS)

70% of Rwanda’s population rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. However, productivity has been severely compromised by a lack of crop and soil-specific fertilizers and soil erosion. Real-time, reliable, soil and agronomy data can inform farmers, helping them to make the best decisions for their land, but this data is currently not shared between stakeholders. The Government’s Rwanda Soil Information Service will provide a centralised resource for in-country actors to better understand the state of soils in Rwanda at a local level. CABI’s integral role will be to lay the foundations of a modern soil information system that will rationalize the costs of obtaining high-quality soils data. Working on the basis of FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) data principles will ensure that legacy and new investments in soil research maximise their potential and result in better decision-making for Rwandan farmers and their soils.

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