Digital Farmer Registry and Tailored Extension and Advisory Services in Ethiopia


In Ethiopia, Digital Green, in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), is piloting the digital farmer registry which aims to empower the country’s agricultural extension capacity and impact by facilitating demand-driven extension and advisory services. Digital Green created a user-friendly application and web portal that allows government functionaries, mainly development agents (DAs), to—among other parameters—collect demographic and farm-level data from the farmers in their communities, participation in extension meetings, practice adoption, and even demand for agricultural inputs. The application also offers a wide range of features that allows DAs to generate and automate reports and is expected to significantly reduce the DAs’ effort spent on data collection and report writing, which accounts for up to 20% of their time (Berhane et. al, 2018). 

Digital Green trained about 60 development agents who went on to use the application in four woredas in Amhara, Oromia, and SNNPR in May 2022.  The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) conducted a process evaluation and published a project note on this first stage of the pilot, where they identified the following results:


  • Most of the DAs from the pilot implementation were using the application independently by the time of the assessment; more than half stated they had trained other DAs on using the application. DAs highly recommended the training with a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 90%.
  •  Both DAs and woreda-level functionaries show strong interest in the application, highlighting the relevance of modules for data collection that aligns with their daily activities, which they can use to customize their extension and advisory services. The application received an NPS of 88% on relevance.
  • At the time of the IFPRI evaluation, the DAs who participated in the training had registered over 13,800 farm households during the first 3-4 months. Most DAs reported being able to comfortably use the application on a daily basis without the need for additional support.
  • While it was early to measure the impact of the Farmer Registry application on DAs’ work, IFPRI asked DAs about their perception of the application’s potential benefits. Most DAs responded in the affirmative that the digital farmer registry has the potential to reduce their workload (82%), help them focus on extension activities (93%), improve data generating and sharing (94%), help them easily access farmer’s data (97%), improve timely reporting (90%) and enable them to be more autonomous (95%) (Abate et. al, 2023).
  • At the same time, IFPRI identified several challenges Digital Green is addressing via the scaleup of the pilot. These include data quality issues (discrepancies that might be due to DAs initially digitizing existing paper records); limited institutional support from the bureau of agriculture, gaps in effectively communicating the purpose of the registration to farmers, unreliable network reception in remote locations, hardware (tablet) limitations, and the intensive level of effort required to initially register farmers.

Based on the results of the initial pilot phase described in IFPRI’s evaluation, the MoA approved the expansion of the digital farmer registry pilot to another two woredas and all kebeles within the previous and new woredas for a grand total of 132 kebeles in six woredas, with an additional 200 DAs trained in the application. Digital Green expects this second phase of the pilot to result in approximately 80,000 farmer profiles completely digitized and available on the registry, a significant step to leveraging technology to improve extension service provision, leading to better livelihoods for smallholder farmers in Ethiopia.




Berhane, G., Ragasa, C., Abate, G.T. and Assefa, T.W., 2018. The state of agricultural extension services in Ethiopia and their contribution to agricultural productivity. Intl Food Policy Res Inst

Sebsibie, Samuel; Ketema, Dessalegn Molla; and Abate, Gashaw Tadesse. 2023. Digital farmer registry and tailored extension and advisory services in Ethiopia: A process evaluation. IFPRI Project Note February 2023. Washington, DC: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

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