Unleashing the Power of Technology and Data in Agribusiness

In Ethiopia, where agriculture is a key economic driver, a significant change is underway. With the global population rising and the demand for food increasing, Ethiopian agriculture is turning to technology and data-driven methods. This shift is crucial as agriculture represents 40% of Ethiopia’s GDP and employs about 75% of its workforce. The country is focused on transforming its agricultural sector from traditional methods to more productive and industrialized processes. Emphasizing a comprehensive farming approach, Ethiopia is working towards sustainable agriculture by integrating social, economic, and environmental factors.

For over two decades, Ethiopia has championed a holistic farming approach, weaving together the social, economic, and environmental threads into a tapestry of sustainable agriculture. The fields of Ethiopia are more than just plots of land; they are the foundations of entrepreneurial ventures and the pillars of agripreneurship. This new wave of agribusiness is fueling local economies, bolstering food security, and seeding jobs across communities.

Yet, in this fertile land, agripreneurs face daunting challenges. The foremost among these is the barrier to critical information. This gap in knowledge affects their ability to navigate market trends, understand climatic changes, and adopt best agricultural practices.

Our Game-Changing Partnership with FAO

Digital Green joins forces with the FAO to bridge this information divide in a groundbreaking partnership. Together, we’re crafting a digital haven – a data-sharing platform that promises to be the compass for agripreneurs navigating the complex agricultural ecosystem.

This platform is more than just a repository of information; it’s a gateway to empowerment. It equips agripreneurs with the tools and insights needed to enhance digital advisory services and bring innovative solutions to the fore. Imagine a world where an AI-powered Telegram bot serves as your personal agricultural advisor, offering customized access to a treasure trove of data – from market insights to soil health, from financing options to cutting-edge research, and even images to identify crop diseases.

Revolutionizing Agribusiness with Technology and Data

Ethiopia’s combination of technology and agriculture is a significant shift, marking a new chapter in agricultural practices. Facing challenges like a growing global population and environmental concerns, adopting innovative technology is essential. This approach aims to create sustainable and efficient farming practices, making them a practical reality rather than just an aspiration.

With the introduction of digital tools in agriculture, Ethiopia is poised to experience substantial improvements in farming. We are at a point where these changes can lead to notable advancements in agricultural productivity. We invite you to be part of this journey as we move towards an era where modern technology and traditional farming methods work together to transform Ethiopian agriculture.


Growing Smarter: Embracing Site-Specific Fertilizer Recommendations in Ethiopia

In the rolling wheat fields of Ethiopia, a digital revolution is taking root. In a country where traditional blanket fertilizer recommendations have long governed farming practices, a pioneering initiative is breaking new ground, promising not just higher yields, but a brighter future for farmers. Digital Green, in partnership with the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, is blending technology with traditional farming practices to revolutionize how farmers nourish their crops by tailoring fertilizer recommendations to the unique needs of each location. 

A Tailored Approach to Farming

Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all fertilizer recommendations. Imagine a world where farmers receive personalized advice as unique as the soil they till. That’s the vision brought to life through the Decision Support Tool (DST) developed by CIAT. This innovative tool generates site-specific fertilizer recommendations, ensuring every grain of wheat reaches its fullest potential. The results? A remarkable 24% increase in yield per hectare per season compared to local recommendations and a 16% rise over national blanket recommendations.

The journey from data to field is facilitated by Digital Green’s cutting-edge digital technologies. Our video-based extension and a pioneering Telegram Bot serve as conduits, delivering these golden nuggets of advice directly into the hands of Development Agents and, ultimately, the farmers. Initially, farmers received advice through printed maps and videos. However, as the number of participating farmers grew, the need for a more scalable and sustainable solution became evident. Enter the Telegram bot, a game-changer in agricultural advisories, enabling frontline workers to effectively share vital information with farmers.

Reception and Adaptation

Frontline workers have embraced the Telegram bot, praising its user-friendliness and the ease it brings in dispensing advice at both village and individual levels. Their feedback is a testament to the tool’s effectiveness in making a real difference on the ground. This digital transformation has not just boosted crop yields; it’s changing lives. Over 50,200 farmers, including a significant 25% female representation, from 16 woredas have been reached through these advisories. What’s more, 38,810 farmers have accessed information directly from the Telegram bot, embodying the success of this digital leap. 

Initially skeptical, farmers have also gradually recognized the benefits of site-specific recommendations. Despite challenges like fertilizer shortages and high prices, many are eager to adopt these new practices, drawn by the promise of higher yields and better livestock feed.

Looking Ahead

Frontline workers are not just users but innovators, suggesting integrations for comprehensive advisories covering diverse crops and farming practices. The vision is to create a digital ecosystem that supports every aspect of farming, from sowing to harvest. As we stand at the intersection of tradition and technology, it’s clear that the future of farming is digital. By personalizing agricultural advice, empowering farmers with knowledge, and leveraging the power of digital tools, we are not just growing crops; we’re nurturing a new era of sustainable and prosperous agriculture.

Read the full assessment reporthere.

Reviving Soil, Transforming Lives


Beneath the vibrant tapestry of our rural landscapes lies an unsung hero – the soil. This living, breathing foundation is not just dirt beneath our feet; it’s the bedrock of our existence, pivotal in feeding the ever-growing global population. Yet, its silent cry for help often goes unheard. This World Soil Day, join us in unearthing the story of soil – a tale of neglect, revival, and hope.

Rural agriculture, the backbone of many economies, thrives on the health of its soil. It’s a delicate balance – managing the chemical, physical, and biological aspects that constitute healthy soil. This balance is critical, not just for sustainable farming practices, but for our very survival.

At Digital Green, we’re pioneering a movement to restore soil fertility and health. Our approach? A blend of traditional wisdom and modern technology. We champion sustainable agricultural practices, from soil and water conservation to the use of organic fertilizers like compost and vermicompost. Our methods go beyond enhancing soil’s nutrient availability; they rejuvenate its very essence, improving water retention and structure – keys to a resilient soil ecosystem.

Meet Emuye Muche, a 40-year-old farmer from Korata Kebele in Ethiopia. Her journey with Digital Green transformed not just her farm but her life. “My soil was acidic, and growing maize was a challenge,” she shares. “But after attending Digital Green’s video sessions on vermicompost, I saw a dramatic change. My backyard, once barren, now flourishes with vegetables, fruits, and maize.”

Kefelegn Tariku’s story is no less remarkable. Residing in Amhara, Ethiopia, this father of five faced the challenge of overusing inorganic fertilizers. Through our partnership with Alliance Bioversity and CIAT, and a customized Telegram bot, Kefelegn discovered the power of location-specific fertilizer recommendations. “I tried it on a small plot,” he recalls. “The results were so promising that I expanded it to a hectare. My yield skyrocketed in just a year.”

This World Soil Day, Digital Green reaffirms its commitment to nurturing soil health. By equipping farmers with knowledge and tools, we’re not just promoting sustainable practices; we’re empowering them to be guardians of their land and our ecosystems.

Together, we hold the power to safeguard soil health, champion sustainable agriculture, secure food supplies, and foster a healthier planet for generations to come. As we commemorate World Soil Day, let’s pledge to be active participants in this vital mission. The health of our soil reflects the health of our world. Join us in this crusade, for the earth beneath our feet holds the key to our future.

Nurturing Knowledge & Growth: Supporting Extension Agents & Small-Scale Farmers with AI

Together, we can help farmers grow more crops using the power of community, knowledge, and digital technology. Join us on #GivingTuesday by donating at https://givebutter.com/digitalgreen

In our 15 years of experience creating impactful work, we’ve learned that boosting productivity and incomes for smallholder farmers is crucial for improving rural livelihoods. But here’s the catch – many of these farmers face a major roadblock. They often lack easy access to timely and targeted knowledge that could help them increase productivity and adapt to changing weather patterns. 

Tailored Insights for Chilli Farmers

Small-scale chilli farmers in Andhra Pradesh, India, like many others across the country, faced the dual challenges of unpredictable climate and market conditions. To give them tools to face these challenges, we developed a practical solution leveraging digital technology designed for their unique and diverse needs. Through digital platforms and AI-powered crop assessments, farmers received tailored advisories around sowing, input use, and harvesting, aimed at improving chilli productivity in their specific location. These digital insights did more than improve productivity and incomes; they empowered them with collective wisdom and built community knowledge. 

We have reached over 63,000 farmers across five chilli-growing districts in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, bringing tangible change to their lives. Evaluations unveiled a remarkable increase in productivity and a substantial rise in net income per acre. Beyond the numbers, it was about securing a better future for the farming community.

AI Empowerment Bringing Change for Small-Scale Farmers

At Digital Green, we’ve been enhancing public extension systems in India, Ethiopia, and Kenya by leveraging digital technologies to provide farmers with timely, locally tailored advisory videos. However, a significant gap in the agent-to-farmer ratio poses challenges that extend beyond the average capacity of extension agents. To bridge this gap, we’ve introduced a multi-lingual AI Assistant for extension agents, aiming to nurture knowledge and growth for smallholder farmers.

The AI assistant delivers customized videos to extension agents, offering prompt solutions to farm-level problems and needs. It not only empowers extension agents by expanding their on-the-job knowledge but also builds confidence and saves time, enabling them to serve more farmers with a higher-quality service. The feedback mechanism ensures the AI assistant evolves based on farmers’ and extension agents’ needs. Agronomists can also utilize this data to create gender-sensitive and climate-smart agricultural models, providing localized recommendations for fertilizers, seed selection, and pest mitigation. 

Join us in creating more stories of transformation. Your support will help equip extension agents with AI-driven chatbots delivering real-time, localized advice through popular messaging platforms, making advanced agricultural knowledge as accessible as a message on the phone. Your generosity is more than a donation; it’s an investment in a future where every farmer has the tools to thrive, contributing to a collective vision for sustainable agriculture.

This #GivingTuesday, support this noble cause by harnessing the power of AI as we continue to make a real impact in the lives of farmers. 

DONATE: https://givebutter.com/digitalgreen


Farmer.CHAT by Digital Green – Making Vetted Farmer Knowledge Accessible


An AI Assistant created by Digital Green to make vetted farmer knowledge accessible.

Woman in a Field

Experience the power of Farmer.CHAT!

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Background and Focus

Raising small-scale farmers’ productivity and incomes is critical to improving rural livelihoods. However, most farmers lack access to relevant and actionable information that could help them to improve their productivity and respond to climate changes.

Traditional farming relies on public extension systems, often delivered one-to-one through in-person training by frontline extension agents. Extension workers face many challenges in this system, such as reaching remote farming communities, providing timely information for critical farmer needs, and gender-specific guidance.

Since 2008, Digital Green has tackled these challenges of increasing the effectiveness of extension workers with our core approach – videos produced and for farmers – which leverages peer-to-peer, video based learning and existing social networks. We’ve ensured sustainability by partnering with Ministries of Agriculture in India, Kenya, and Ethiopia, securing co-funding and integrating our approach into daily operations of their extension systems.

Randomized controlled trials have found that, compared to those traditional extension services, our video-enabled extension approach: is 10 times more cost-effective than on a cost per adoption basis (from $35 to $3.50); reaches 30% more farmers; and delivers a 43% gain in practice adoption rates.

Core Approach

Digital Green aims to utilize our insights gained in agricultural extension and recent developments in artificial intelligence and large language models and achieve an even greater scale of strengthening the public extension system.

Our approach is based on our Theory of Change (TOC), which outlines three key elements. Firstly, we aim to create a user-friendly and low-cost AI chatbot to enable advisory delivery. Secondly, gender and climate-smart agricultural content will be collected and made available through the chatbot. Finally, we will build the capacities of extension agents (EAs), including women, to access and deploy the chatbot.

This will lead to EAs engaging with more farmers and delivering increasingly more relevant and customized advisory to them, EAs expanding their on-job knowledge, building their confidence, saving time, and agronomists and other experts using farmer data and famer/EA feedback to build gender-sensitive and CSA-models (i.e. fertilizer, seed, etc.) to continuously enrich advisory delivered by the chatbot.

Ultimately, this will enhance advisory quality as well as speed and scale of distribution, granting more farmers, especially women, access to knowledge. As a result, gender and climate-smart farming practices will see increased adoption, promoting higher productivity and incomes for farmers, and reducing gender disparities while enhancing climate resilience.

On-Demand Tailored Advisory

We have built a multi-lingual AI powered chatbot which acts as both a content retrieval and delivery mechanism to both receive and push messages for customized content and query the database on demand for EAs to triage issues they see in the field with location-specific nuance. This chatbot is multilingual and overcomes technological literacy barriers with multi-media inputs and response messages including text, audio and video.

Real-Time Content Improvements

Core to the platform is a protocol enabling seamless and secure data sharing which allows for ongoing improvement to localized advisory services, adapting to diverse agricultural needs. This protocol allows for external data sources such as vetted research, local weather, and soil databases to be dynamically updated, bringing the most up-to-date information to the field. Building off best practices in conversational UI we are creating an advisory delivery and feedback channel which actively collects and incorporates EA feedback to bot interactions, ensuring that the content it delivers remains relevant, up-to-date, and effective.

Reporting and Analysis

In support of our government partners’ data-driven decision-making processes, we have developed a system of automated dashboards which enable analysis and real-time tracking of usage behavior and other relevant metrics to improve the bot’s performance and design. To assess cost per farmer reached and practice adoption metrics we are developing a cost analysis component. Additionally, data dashboards and a farm-level report generator assist EAs to understand farmer needs and plan their activities, and to assist extension system managers to view reports of EA and service provider activities, and evaluate EA and content effectiveness.


Farmer.CHAT as featured at the

United Nations 77th General Assembly

Farmer.CHAT on Telegram

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Impact of video advisories dissemination on Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) practices using digital tools

‘The use of videos for community training is helping me reach more farmers at a time, it made my work easy and effective too. I am also observing more farmers coming to the training now,’ says Beena Devi, a Front Line Worker (FLW) from Ranchi district in Jharkhand, India. She is one of the FLWs trained for video dissemination using digital tools under the Digital Empowerment to Enhance Productivity (DEEP) project. 

These trained FLWs are disseminating videos on Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) and allied practices among farmers’ groups in their respective villages for skilling farmers and for improved adoption of practices. Meena Devi, a farmer from Bundu block of Ranchi, shared that  ‘adopting the natural farming practices will not only improve our health, but it will also improve the soil fertility. By adopting these practices, I am observing better crop growth and yield as well. There is no pest attack in the crops, and the produce is also tastier than before.’

In pursuing sustainable agricultural practices amidst the challenges posed by climate change, the video-based extension has emerged as a powerful tool. With the integration of community video approach in the training, the farmers are presented with an unprecedented visually engaging medium to absorb the information, which stands as a distinctive experience for them, thus increasing participation of the farmers in the training. 

To cater to the requirement at the field level, video advisories on NPM practices, pigeon pea and paddy cultivation, and strengthening collectives like PG/FPC and Non Timber Forest Products (NTFP) are being disseminated amongst the farmers during the ongoing kharif season. The videos not only enhance the overall learning experience but also allow the participants to revisit the content, reinforcing their understanding. Moreover, the skilled facilitation by the FLWs contributes significantly in maintaining participation, engagement, and attentiveness. As witnessed, there is an encouraging rise in male participation through video dissemination, which is programmatically designed for women groups. This results in increasing household-level discussion and agreement to adopt new practices in farming. 

FLW Sunita Devi from Simdega district shares, ‘the male counterparts are also interested in attending the dissemination as they found the videos interesting and useful. They are also getting motivated to adopt the practice of ‘lime application in farmland,’ which they watched during the recent dissemination session in the village. They appreciated the dissemination conducted by me and also the video-based advisories’. This inclusive approach is not only promoting gender equality but also increasing the overall impact of the dissemination initiatives. Among farmers, there is a demand for new videos on crop practices related to millets, Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFP), honey, and vegetables. This growing demand highlights the farmers’ active interest in acquiring knowledge tailored to their specific needs and preferences. As this demand continues to grow, incorporating more video content is assumed to be central to empowering farmers with the knowledge necessary for informed decision-making and optimizing farming practices.

During the field visits and interaction with the FLWs and farmers, it was evident that there has been a considerable increase in the adoption of recommended practices amongst the farmers. By leveraging the visual medium, the videos effectively communicate the intricacies of CSA methods, making them accessible and relatable. The awareness and understanding of practices that could withstand the vagaries of climate change have notably increased among both FLWs and farmers. FLW Beena Devi mentions: ‘By watching the videos, practice adoption has become easier for the farmers, and almost more than 80% of the farmers are adopting the recommended practices.’ She is also preparing Neemastra, Jeevamrit, and other organic formulations for fertility and pest control and selling them to the farmers so they can get them handy when required. Being a farmer as well, she adopts the practices in her field too.

 Notably, as the transplantation of paddy has experienced delays due to late monsoon, to counter this challenge, farmers are diversifying their cultivation by prioritizing seasonally appropriate vegetable crops, both to align with changing patterns and to generate income. Millets, at present, have gained prominence as they can thrive in less water, as there is demand in the market. The farmers are now adopting water-saving practices in irrigation by avoiding overwatering and appropriate scheduling of the same, soil conservation approaches, inter-cropping strategies, and other related practices as the videos function as a bridge, simplifying these approaches and offering practical steps for their successful application. Farmers are now better equipped to navigate the complexities of contemporary agriculture while simultaneously addressing the challenges presented by a changing climate. They are leaning towards climate-friendly techniques like seed treatment using bio-formulations, line-sowing, bio-fertilizers, pesticides, and inter-cropping. This collective effort signifies a trajectory toward resilience and sustainability in agriculture.

To complement the video-based advisory sharing, WhatsApp-based chatbot is also being implemented during the current kharif season, where farmers could access real-time specific crop advisories on paddy and pigeon pea based on their need. The bot is now live for farmers, where the agriculture extension workers are taking the lead to spread this service among all the farmers in their respective villages, helping them get the videos on the required crop and crop stages. They are also demanding additional crop advisories, which reflects their interest and usefulness of the digital tools.

Project DEEP is being implemented for the small & marginal farmers of Jharkhand in collaboration with Jharkhand State Livelihood Promotion Society (JSLPS) under Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana (MKSP) and with the generous funding support of Accenture Solutions Pvt. Ltd. The project incorporates Digital Green’s highly acclaimed video-based approach (VBA) for developing appropriate content based on formative research, producing short videos to demonstrate the application of new methods, and disseminating the videos to farmers. After successful completion of year 1 implementation of the DEEP project in 33 blocks of 8 districts, reaching 50k+ farmers during 2022-23, the project is now being scaled to additional 20 blocks, altogether covering 53 blocks from 13 districts with a target to reach additional 50k farmers in the year 2023-24.


Launching a Data Sharing Network in Kenya

12 September 2023, Kenya – Along with The Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO), we are proud to announce the launch of the Kenya Agriculture Data Sharing Platform (KADP), powered by FarmStack, an innovative data exchange platform designed to revolutionize the agricultural sector’s collaboration and innovation. Originally supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Ethiopia, we are excited to work with KALRO to expand it to Kenya. 

The agricultural sector faces many challenges that prevent the effective use of collected data. Private organizations do not want to share their data, local and national government agencies do not have access to comprehensive and accurate data to inform policy priorities and allocate subsidies, and farmers often do not have control or ownership over their own data.  This is where KADP comes in, as it aims to drive positive change and create prosperous farming communities in Kenya. 

As a digital public good that empowers organizations across the agricultural landscape to seamlessly share, integrate, and leverage valuable data for the greater good, KADP offers more customized services to farmers, fosters collaboration, enhances data accessibility and promotes sustainable agricultural practices. The establishment of this platform will reduce the barriers to organizations (government, private sector, and NGOs) to share data by providing the tools to do this securely with data usage controls and in line with the Kenya Data Protection Act and KALRO data sharing framework. When agricultural service providers are able to access insights from farmer data, farmers receive better services that are more tailored for the farmer organizations and farmers themselves.

Through this partnership, we aim to utilize KALRO’s estimated 4.8 million agricultural data to provide customized advisories adjusted according to weather forecasting from Tomorrow.io, KMD, and other partners. One of the ways FarmStack is already being used is by enabling better advisory services delivered by SMS by tailoring messages to farmers’ locations, crop/livestock mix, and sending them directly to their phones. As more service providers share their data, this will allow for improved financial and market services, as well as the targeting of government programs such as input subsidies that can help farmers. 

By leveraging the data-sharing features of FarmStack, our hope is that organizations can leverage data in ways that were previously not possible. We are excited about the promises of this novel approach to drive innovation, informed decision-making, and sustainable growth in the agricultural sector in Kenya.

Changing Lives by Empowering Women

Teguaded Yehunie is a 38-year-old single mother of three living in Dendegeb Kebele, Baso Liben Woreda, of the Amhara region in Ethiopia. She makes a living by selling tea and other beverages in a rented home. Despite her being illiterate, she gives her kids the chance to go to school and manages to save 100 ETB per week from her sales. 

Due to her low earnings, Teguaded was chosen by the kebele level committee to become one of the 25 members of Yabebal Self-Help Group. Following the selection process, Digital Green offered training to all members, assisted in choosing leaders, and established bylaws. They were provided with additional materials, like cash boxes and financial documents, to facilitate the group functioning. In their weekly meeting, Digital Green staff members and woreda partners coach and teach about the benefits of self-help groups, including how they foster social cohesion, a culture of saving, and loan availability for income-generating activities. Initially, each member saved 25 ETB and 5 ETB for social funds each week. Thus, their capital amounted to 30,275 ETB, and a matching fund was given to the group. 

As a result of her participation in the group, Teguaded planned a business to buy Teff, the grain used to make “Injera,” an Ethiopian staple, so that she can cook meals for sale in addition to serving tea and local beer. She received a loan for 4,000 ETB with a 10% interest rate for two months, from which she made a 2000 ETB profit in less than two months and was able to pay back the loan.

She later applied and was approved for a 7,000 ETB loan for three months and expanded her business using the loan and her own capital. She used to serve tea and local beer only, but now she has also managed to serve Injera, meals, and soft drinks. Prior to joining the self-help group, she could only save 100 ETB, and now she is saving 1000 ETB every week. She was able to pay back the loan again and is encouraged by Kebele leaders who regularly support her business by ordering meals when there is a meeting in the area.

As success continued, she applied for a third loan and was granted 10,000 ETB. Before, she always had the ambition of working on a large scale but had trouble getting loans. With the solution provided by the self-help group, she was able to realize her vision. She now advises others on the importance of using loan access and the difference that being in the self-help group has made in improving her livelihood. Today, she is a role model and inspiration for her group and community, and her success has inspired other women to want to join the group. 

What works to empower women farmers?

Roundtable Dialogue on Innovations and Lessons on what works to empower women farmers.

29th March 2023 | New Delhi, India
What works to empower women farmers? What are the methodologies, innovations, strategies that have worked to empower them?  What are the lessons and challenges encountered in the pathway to enable women farmers to become agents of their own transformative change? Driven by these questions, in March 2023, Digital Green organized a roundtable dialogue in New Delhi; a day of deliberations with experts and development professionals from organizations that engage with women farmers. The dialogue was anchored around deconstructing ‘empowerment’ alongwith strategies, framework and pathways that various organizations have been using to empower women farmers. Additionally a session was dedicated to the discussion on digital innovations used by the participating organizations to empower women collectives.

The dialogue, organized into three thematic sessions, began with context setting by Krishnan Pallassana (Managing Director, Digital Green) with chief address by Mr. Chiranjit Singh, IFoS, Additional Secretary at the Ministry of Rural Development. Krishnan Pallassana in his welcome note emphasized on the primacy of women farmers in the agricultural ecosystem – who are responsible for ensuring employment, food and nutrition security.  While Mr. Chiranjit Singh highlighted the need to contextualize and tailor solutions to build capacities of rural women; striving for innovative solutions with an intersectional lens to harness the power of social media and digital technologies to boost capacity building at scale. The speaker foregrounded the need for collaboration and convergence among ecosystem players, expressing that “the government is keen to explore and utilize the power of digital technologies to empower women farmers through the expansive network of community resource people and grassroots infrastructure.” The session concluded with a screening of a short film of women farmers (that Digital Green has been working with) elaborating on what empowerment meant for them.

 With this, the first round of deliberations were rooted in examining ‘empowerment’ from the lens of women farmers’ lived experiences. The participants explored the fluidity of the term itself and the difficulty to capture the subjective experience of being empowered. The participants underlined that women’s identities are relational and contextual, thus they should not be perceived as homogenous entities. Interventions for empowerment need to be designed to challenge gender inequities and power asymmetries, by facilitating conducive conditions for women to be able to challenge systems and structures to ensure they can thrive in both public and private spaces.  With a concept as fuzzy as empowerment, the participants agreed that it presented its own set of challenges when it came to evaluation or measuring it. Thus a lot of interventions and efforts oscillate between economic development and economic empowerment. 

Another participant highlighted that empowerment, like the woman herself, is a composite of different elements, including identity, agency, autonomy, and literacy, that are critical elements in the pathway to empowerment. The discussants associated choice, negotiation, and decision-making intrinsically with empowerment. The floor agreed that empowerment could mean differently for different women – for some women taking up leadership roles could be empowering; while for another to be able to attend meetings and share their opinions could be empowering. Various organizations concluded that it would be best to continue in their attempts anchored around letting women farmers define what empowerment meant for them, while working on creating better measurement tools and program designs that truly shifts and equalizes power.

The second round table highlighted the deep and expansive work being undertaken with women farmers and women’s collectives in the realm of empowerment. The practitioners elaborated the challenges they faced while working on interventions rooted in empowerment. The challenges led the organizations to rely on economic indicators in their respective interventions. Insights from practitioners highlighted the need to build capacities of women farmers to undertake data-backed business planning and decision making as well as devise strategies to enhance collective agency and critical consciousness to scale empowerment. The floor acknowledged that the content and interventions for women farmers should be mindful of diversity in their contexts and languages with a focus on human mediated delivery while at the same time focussing on simplifying solutions and products. Further emphasis needs to be placed on closing the gender gaps in access to digital resources with creating women centered products that are conscious of women’s unique needs and capabilities. Digital access is a right, and safe spaces should be created to increase technology adoption among women farmers.

For the third roundtable session, research organizations such as ICRISAT, IFPRI, IRRI, and ISST  deliberated on the frameworks and indicators that they have developed to measure women farmers’ economic empowerment. The panel discussed the critical need to view women farmers as a heterogenous group wherein empowerment can not be prescriptive. They acknowledged that measuring empowerment, given its complexity and subjectivity, relying only on quantitative indicators alone posed a critical challenge. The panel highlighted the use of PRO-WEAI & ANEW tools that measure empowerment through intrinsic, instrumental, and collective agency channels. The panelists emphasized the importance of robust qualitative studies to complement quantitative tools based on field experiences. The panel agreed that measuring empowerment requires a mixed-method approach that combines qualitative and ethnographic insights to strengthen quantitative indicators and provide nuanced insights.

The day concluded with an agreement that the grassroot level networks and collaborations must be tapped in to reach the last mile to provide women farmers with access to technology, resources and knowledge. This further requires a convergence among eco-systems including practitioners, experts, researcher organizations as well as private players for collaborative solutions and interventions devised for women farmers.

Digital Green envisioned this event as an ongoing co-learning space that will enable us to hold regular deep dialogues and form an expert group with like-minded organizations. These dialogues will be geared to build a shared vision and strategy for empowerment of women farmers; a space for collaborative learning to use collective power towards making a sincere shift in the lives of the women farmers.


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 Apurva.ai.

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 Bhashini.in 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.” 



About Digital Green

Digital Green has institutionalized farmer-to-farmer videos to enhance public extension with Ministries of Agriculture in Ethiopia, India, and Kenya, enabling 54,000 government extension agents facilitate screenings and capturing farmer feedback & data, producing 7,000+ location-specific, videos in 40 languages.

About Gooey.AI 

Gooey.AI works to simplify generative AI for organizations everywhere through its platform of reusable, low-code workflows and strategic consulting.