Project description

The broad-scale adoption of climate-smart agricultural options needs a constant and quick-paced process of discovery to identify locally appropriate solutions. As mobile telephone coverage expands in rural areas, simpler, more cost-efficient and information-rich ICT-based systems become possible. Building on successful pilots by Bioversity and partners, this project aims to outscale a novel “farmer citizen science” approach whereby farmers test and rank a small number of technologies, such as crop varieties and management practices; characterize local conditions with cheap, reliable weather sensors; and share information by mobile phone.

The information resulting from this project will serve to create empirical, location-specific advice on climate-smart practices for farmers, helping them to constantly adapt to shifting climatic and social conditions. Activities designed to out scale the approach include:

  • Training more organizations to implement a ‘farmer citizen science’ approach
  • Institutionally embedding the approach in extension services and agro-dealer networks and,
  • Improving and expanding the methodology using ICT-based solutions.

Efforts are focused on: India, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Ethiopia

In 2019, as a result of the project 11 initiatives will be:

  • Using the digital tools for data collection, storage, analysis and visualization of the CSA citizen science methodology developed, and
  • Delivering information resulting from CSA citizen science experiments to at least 500,000 households annually.



The project led by Bioversity will be collaboratively carried out will  the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and other local and regional partners, including:

In Central America: Centro Agrónomico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE), Escuela Agricola Panamericana Zamorano, Humanist Institute for Cooperation (Hivos), Pennsylvania State University, Virginia Tech;

In Kenya and Ethiopia: Mekelle University, Sirinka Agricultural Research Centre (SARC), Scuola Superiore S. Anna, Institute for Biodiversity Conservation, Environmental Resource Management Center for sustainable development,

In India: Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights Authority, Gene Campaign, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Humana People to People India, National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Vivekananda parvatiya krishi anusandhan sansthan, Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture, Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindia Krishi Vishwavidyalaya, Indira Gandhi Krishi Vishwavidyalaya, Action for Social Advancement, Lok Chetna Manch, Himalayan Research Group, Bhartiya Health, Horticutlure, Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, Literacy Environment Incorporation, Institute of Himalayan Environmental Research and Education, Foundation for Development Integration, Mount Valley Development Association and Gramin Vikas Vigyan Samiti.


Gender is taken into account in all data collection and analysis. The project evaluates how to engage women and men and ensure that both contribute information depending on their gender roles to ensure that methods are as inclusive as possible.

Further information

For further information, please contact the Project Leader, Jacob van Etten (Bioversity) at

Related resource: Seeds for Needs factsheet