Skip to content

You are here: Home / What we do / Digital development / Digital advisory tools

With agricultural systems facing a changeable environment, it can be difficult to access reliable crop and plant health information.

The opportunity

CABI develops digital advisory tools that can help users make informed decisions.

By providing farmers, practitioners and policymakers with the tools to support evidence-based choices, we can support better responses to farming challenges.

With easier access to rigorous scientific knowledge, end-users can respond more effectively to problems and take suitable preventative and proactive measures. We use a range of targeted digital channels to reach users and deliver insights that help improve decision making.

Providing solutions

Digital advisory tools have never been more important in agriculture and the environment. A significant increase in food production will be required by 2050, yet 40% of the world’s crops are lost to pests and diseases every year. In order to help farmers to grow more and lose less of what they produce, combat threats from pests and diseases, protect natural habitats from invasive species and improve access to scientific knowledge, we must harness the power of digital tools to support evidence-based decision making.

Reactive and uncoordinated information sharing limits the capacity of farmers, extension workers and policymakers to make informed decisions about how and where to target efforts. This might include, for example, interventions to manage crop pests and diseases and improve agronomic practices to maximize yields.

Digital advisory tools developed with and for end-users can help people make more informed decisions. They enable advisory services to reach more farmers at a much lower cost than traditional approaches. Farmers can now access a wealth of scientific information gathered by experts worldwide, peer-reviewed and shared on easy-to-use, communicative platforms, which complement existing agricultural extension services.

CABI develops digital advisory tools to help stakeholders make decisions based on scientific evidence. Drawing upon our broad data sources, including CABI data, citizen science and third-party datasets, we generate tailored insights, providing users with easy-to-understand information and practical advice specific to their situation.

By providing this support, we provide stakeholders with information, skills and tools built on actionable evidence-based data for identifying problems, assessing risk and critical thinking. When knowledge is communicated effectively and tailored to each audience, it helps smallholders living in poor rural regions to support themselves and improve their livelihoods through farming.

Our digital advisory tools expertise

We develop tools and data-driven approaches for sustainable development. Our core strengths in developing digital advisory tools such as apps, mobile services, web portals and digital learning help stakeholders tackle complex problems by making it easy to understand the science behind their challenges and offering best-practice options for tackling them.

Quality content

High-quality content

The most effective digital advisory tools rely on high-quality content. CABI's proven track record in developing and managing first-class content means we have produced a wide range of scientifically rigorous content, presented in accessible and digestible ways to specific target audiences working in agriculture and the environment.

Human-centred design

Human-centred design

We use human-centred design to understand the user’s needs and help overcome potential challenges. We have excellent reach into different communities and groups, putting people front and centre and co-designing from the outset of each tool’s development.

Policy development

Designing for sustainability

Too many digital tools for sustainable development go unused. We focus on a pragmatic, context-based approach to understand the problem and the best approach to solve it. By focusing on the product lifecycle, we design high-impact applications for long-term, sustainable use, moving through design to development, to ongoing management and maintenance.

Contact us

Using our expertise in digital development, we turn data and science-based knowledge into actionable, practical information that addresses real needs such as helping to prevent and tackle invasive crop pests. This helps to transform smallholder farmers’ livelihoods and helps agricultural and environmental professionals be more effective in their work.

To find out more about working with us on digital advisory tools, contact us.

CABI In Wallingford

Katherine Cameron

Head of Digital Advisory Tools

T: +44 (0)1491 829307 E:

Examples of our work

"Nankafo Mwabahinzi, farmer holding soil_6168437037_o.jpg

Sustaining healthy soil, nurturing healthy people"

Fertilizer Optimization Tool

Soil fertility across much of sub-Saharan Africa is poor, which is a major constraint to improving farm productivity and farmer livelihoods. The Fertilizer Optimization Tool (FOT) contributes to improved efficiency and profitability of fertilizer use within the context of Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM) practices by allowing users to calculate optimal fertilizer use on a farm-by-farm basis. Across Africa, over 3,000 extension workers have already used the FOT to advise farmers on how to maximize their profits from investments in fertilizers.

Pest Risk Analysis tool

Pest Risk Analysis Tool

The CABI Pest Risk Analysis Tool (PRA) helps users identify, assess and manage the risks of plant pest introductions in countries and ensure safe transportation of plant products. It is driven by the CABI Crop Protection Compendium and provides a framework for conducting pest risk analysis in accordance with international standards for phytosanitary measures. Since its launch, the PRA tool has been used by over 20 National Plant Protection Organizations worldwide.

Related Projects

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.

Establishing a digital plant health service in Malawi

Pests and diseases contribute to 40% of food loss leading to food insecurity. Synthetic pesticides are the predominant control method but these are associated with negative environmental and health concerns. The extensive use of chemicals has sparked a renewed interest in Integrated Pest Management (IPM) – an effective combination of control methods and the need for new innovative ways to manage pest and disease outbreaks. There are many digital systems that have been developed to identify, monitor, manage, control and predict outbreaks of a large number of pest and disease species. These systems provide useful information to aid decision-making and timing of integrated pest management strategies. By building on the successes of existing systems and data assets, this project aims to establish a digital agricultural plant health service for efficient pest and disease management in Malawi that will benefit over 100,000 farmers.


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.