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Communicating knowledge to make lasting change and improve livelihoods

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.

Village listening to radio

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.

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.