Climate-smart practices become more accessible for farmers through Farmer.CHAT, a Generative AI assistant from Digital Green and Gooey.AI

NEW YORK, NY – Digital Green has announced a new product that aims to enhance the development of farmer-driven content, research outputs, and policy guidance at scale. This service was developed by generative AI startup Gooey.AI and partnerships with the Governments of India and Ethiopia, FAO, Microsoft, and

Famer.CHAT is a locally responsive farmer advisory service designed to facilitate real-time communication between governments and farmers on the frontlines of climate change and water security issues.

By developing content based on call center logs, transcribed training videos and farmer feedback in local languages, this service provides critical two-way exchange that can benefit both parties.

“The best source of information for farmers is other farmers,” said Rikin Gandhi, CEO of Digital Green. “Leveraging generative AI technology alongside our years of experience in creating accessible agricultural advisory content for millions of small-scale farmers across India, Ethiopia, Kenya—and beyond—has the potential to be life changing for the productivity of not just millions of farmers, but hundreds of millions.”

Over its 15-year history working with national governments around the world, Digital Green has facilitated access to trusted agricultural advisory services that have benefited over four million farmers worldwide.

“We believe that by empowering farmers with more knowledge about climate-smart practices we can help them increase their incomes while also building resilience to climate change,” added Rikin. “Our mission is not only about providing better access to tailored information for productivity, but also helping people adapt quickly as climate and market conditions change rapidly.”

“AI has the potential to aid the productivity of everyone,” says Gooey.AI Co-founder Dev Aggarwal. “In Farmer.CHAT, we’ve combined technologies like GPT and vector databases from Microsoft Azure OpenAI, speech recognition from and the ease of use of Google Docs to create a simple WhatsApp conversational bot. Now any government extension agent or farmer can type or talk in their own language and get clear answers with links to relevant Digital Green videos.”

Transforming Lives Through Self-Help Groups: A Farmer’s Journey to Economic Prosperity

Alimaze Zawuge lives in a small village in Ethiopia. As a wife, mother of five, and farmer, her goal was simple: improve her family’s living conditions. However, her small farm size limited her ability to grow various crops or earn enough income from farming alone.

In June 2023, Alimaze’s situation began to improve when she joined the Muruta Self-Help Group (SHG), an initiative supported by Digital Green and the local government. This group was designed to help community members like Alimaze by providing them with financial and educational support.

By August 2023, Alimaze had saved enough money through the group to secure a loan to start a small business buying and selling spices, which allowed her to earn extra money in addition to what she made from farming. Her husband, Markose, supported her by helping with the business and caring for their home while she worked.

This new source of income has been significant for Alimaze’s family. It has increased her weekly income to 120 ETB and has opened up new possibilities. Alimaze now hopes to provide her children with a better education, including the opportunity to attend tertiary school.

The success of Alimaze and her family is a testament to the impact of community-based initiatives like SHGs. By providing access to financial resources and fostering a supportive community environment, Digital Green and the local government have helped Alimaze and others in her village to improve their livelihoods.

Alimaze’s story highlights the importance of supporting rural communities through education and economic opportunities. It shows how, with the right support, individuals can overcome challenges and achieve their goals, leading to stronger, more resilient communities.

How Video-Based Extension Transformed Wheat Farming in Bonga, Ethiopia

A remarkable transformation is unfolding among a dedicated group of wheat farmers in the lush landscapes of Bonga, Ethiopia. These farmers, who had been tilling the land together for nearly a decade, found themselves at the heart of a revolutionary change brought about by a collaboration between Digital Green, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Ministry of Agriculture—a collaboration that brought video-based extension service to farmers, designed to empower them with practical, actionable knowledge.

Traditionally, these farmers depended on conventional extension services for agricultural guidance. Often crowded and overwhelming, these sessions covered everything from land preparation to harvesting in a single sitting, leaving many farmers feeling lost in a sea of information. The one-size-fits-all approach failed to engage them fully or address their specific challenges, leading to a disconnect between the training provided and its practical application on their farms.

Introducing the video-based extension service marked a new beginning for these farmers. Tailored agricultural videos were introduced covering crucial aspects of wheat farming, like land preparation, row sowing, and urea application. The farmers, now equipped with the knowledge presented in their local language and at their own pace, embraced these new practices with open arms.

Beyond the Fields: A Community Transformed

The videos were more than just instructional content; they were a source of inspiration. By demonstrating best practices in an engaging and relatable format, the videos motivated the farmers to try new techniques and improve their farming practices. The result was a collective cultivation of 17.25 hectares of wheat land, following the best practices showcased in the videos with precision and care.

In July of 2023, fueled by the guidance from the videos, the farmers invested significantly in quality inputs and embarked on a season of farming with high hopes. Their goal was ambitious yet achievable: to harvest 30 quintals of wheat per hectare, translating to a total expected yield of 517.5 quintals. When sold at the market rates, this yield brought them substantial revenue above what they normally received, transforming their livelihoods.

The benefits of Digital Green’s video-based extension went beyond increased yields and potential earnings. The videos fostered a sense of community among the farmers, encouraging collaborative work and shared learning. They provided a platform for farmers to reflect on their technical mistakes and build upon their existing wheat farming experience, enhancing their skills and confidence.

The success story of Bonga’s wheat farmers is a powerful endorsement of the video-based extension service. Ato Alalo Abebe, the local District Agriculturalist, praised the approach for its effectiveness in overcoming the limitations of traditional training methods. The farmers themselves, reinvigorated by their success, are eager for more. They look forward to accessing additional agricultural advisory services and are keen to continue their journey of learning and growth.