An AI Assistant created by Digital Green to make vetted farmer knowledge accessible.
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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.
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 WhatsApp
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हिंदी – Hindi
አማርኛ – Amharic
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Farmer.CHAT Press Release
New York. Generative AI startup Gooey.AI and global development organization Digital Green have come together to announce a revolutionary new product, Farmer.CHAT, to address the needs of farmers on the frontlines of climate change and water security. This service was developed in collaboration with the Governments of India and Ethiopia, FAO, Microsoft, and Societal Thinking and recently featured at the 2023 UN General Assembly Briefing on “Science-based Evidence in support of Sustainable Solutions”
Farmer.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. It is a GPT4-based, multi-lingual artificial intelligence (AI) platform that empowers farmers and government extension agents with data-driven insights and decision-making tools to optimize crop management, reduce waste, and increase yields. The platform combines editable documents, 1000s of best practice videos, agriculture call center transcripts and other vetted data sources to deliver real-time, actionable recommendations to Indian and Ethiopian farmers, helping them make informed decisions about planting, irrigation, fertilization, pest control, and more.
Farmer.CHAT serves as a virtual agronomist, providing personalized advice and guidance to farmers through an intuitive chat interface. Farmers can simply send a text (or audio) message on WhatsApp, Telegram or https://Farmer.CHAT, which analyzes their questions and responds in local languages with tailored recommendations based on the specific needs of their crops, location, and other contextual factors.
“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.”
“AI has the potential to aid the productivity of everyone,” says Gooey.AI’s Technical 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 text and video content.”
Farmer.CHAT is available now in English, Hindi, Telugu, Swahili and Amharic in India, Ethiopia and Kenya with more languages and supported crops coming throughout 2023.
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 to facilitate screenings and capturing farmer feedback & data, producing 7,000+ location-specific, videos in 40 languages. 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.