Precision Development (PxD) Annual Report 2021 – Advancing the frontiers of digital development

Precision Development (PxD) Annual Report 2021 – Advancing the frontiers of digital development

A message from Owen Barder

“It has been another remarkable year for Precision Development and the users we serve. Despite the headwinds of the pandemic that blew hard again in 2021, we built our capacity to reach new users, delivered new information, delivered new products, tested new ideas, moved research forward, and learned how to increase the effectiveness of our systems.”

Owen Barder, Chief Executive Officer

PxD at a Glance

Precision Development (PxD) is a global development non-profit with a long-term goal of providing evidence-based, life-improving services to 100 million people living in poverty in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). PxD’s vision is to end information poverty by delivering personalized information to households via mobile phones. By providing actionable information to the right people, in the right way and at the right time, PxD enables people in poverty to make more informed decisions to enhance their welfare. A majority of PxD’s services deliver customized digital agricultural advice to smallholder farmers, but we are investigating the application of our platforms and core competencies to deliver value in new informational fields. In 2021 we explored applications in education, nutrition, financial services, and climate adaptation and mitigation.

PxD overview (pdf 2MB)


In 2021 PxD completed its largest collaboration to date, partnering with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to respond to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on rural, smallholder communities in three geographies on two continents. The success of our initial collaboration has seeded additional work. In this video, members of the Leadership Group detail how we leveraged PxD’s existing relationships and experience to deliver digital content to support 1.9 million farmers.

Scaling digital advisory services during the COVID pandemic
Azhar Mehmood, a smallholder farmer from Punjab, Pakistan, explains how digital services provided by PxD, with support from IFAD, improve his productivity and livelihood.
Assisting hard-to-reach and conflict-affected Nigerian farmers with digital information.


PxD’s genesis was rooted in research conducted by two of our co-founders, Michael Kremer and Shawn Cole. Research remains integral to delivering and improving digital services for poor families. In this video members of our research and agronomy teams present how and why we conduct research at PxD, reflect on highlights from 2021, and look forward to an expanded portfolio of practical research inquiry in 2022.

Paddy Powered

Paddy is PxD’s in-house tech stack. In 2021 we expanded the use of Paddy across many of our services. In this video, members of PxD’s Tech Practice present Paddy’s functionality, operational expansion, and the benefits accruing to its use.

New Programs and Opportunities

Through the course of 2021, PxD advanced new digital innovations and initiated a range of new services and lines of inquiry. In this video members of PxD’s research, product development and operational teams detail a selection of new activities, including an expanding portfolio of livestock-related work – an important locus of women’s work – climate mitigation, adaptation and sustainability, innovative workstreams involving the private sector, and our first foray into facilitating access to financial services.

Working with private sector firms to meet the needs of farmers in Gujarat
Understanding how smallholder farmers can act to mitigate climate change
Advancing the digital development frontier in Latin America
Expanding access to credit for Kenyan dairy farmers to advance climate adaptation
Upgrading Ethiopia’s dairy herd with digital information

Using digital information to reach rural Pakistani women livestock farmers


  • Anonymous (x6)
  • Bill and Melinda Gate Foundation
  • CABI – PRISE (Kenya)
  • Digital Green Foundation
  • Dioraphte Foundation
  • Ethiopia Agricultural Transformation Agency
  • GiveWell
  • HarvestPlus
  • Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation
  • International Fund for Agricultural Development
  • International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center
  • Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture
  • Montpelier/Hampshire Foundation
  • Mulago Foundation
  • Sall Family Foundation
  • Swiss Re Foundation
  • Vitol Foundation
  • Walmart Foundation
  • Wellspring Philanthropic Fund
  • World Bank