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Improving lives by solving problems in agriculture and the environment

Improving communication

Improving communication

Improved use of agricultural technology and improved farming practices depends on the successful dissemination of research evidence to smallholder farmers, advisors, suppliers, market agents, governments and others.

Often there is a disconnect between research and development. To bridge that gap, organizations need to bring scientific rigour and expertise in communications to bear, and very few can do both.

CABI is in a unique position to support the uptake of ours and others' research. We analyse barriers between knowledge and how farmers use it and we work with partners to understand and minimize them. 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 communication in practice

Increased use of good quality seed by smallholder farmers

We manage a programme known as the 'Good Seed Initiative' which builds the capacity of farmers to improve the quality of seeds saved for future sowing. The programme also makes new seed varieties available. We use discovery learning methods to communicate this knowledge, as well as train representatives to pass it on. This programme is currently focused in East Africa.

Technology transfer: Integrated Crop Management

To improve crop production in a wide range of countries, we support the creation of crop protection guidelines and other policy tools with international agricultural standards. To do this, we must communicate with many different audiences (extension officers, researchers, education workers, input supplers, farmers etc.) within very different policy environments around the world.  

In many cases, long-term involvement has led to Integrated Crop Management becoming embedded, leading to reduced pesticide use.

Development Communications

Development partners will often ask us to support the development of communications strategies, plans and materials tailored to the needs and learning styles of carefully targetted audiences. This demands the identification of effective communications channels, audience segmentation and tailored communications designed for and tested upon diverse and challenging end-users.

We work with partners to reach a very large audience successful technologies and practices.