Adopting New Technology, Mindsets, and Practices to Transform Colombia’s Agricultural Sector

Following a competitive process, in December 2020, PxD in consortium with RARE and The Nature Conservancy received a one-year grant from UK PACT to support a project focused on sustainable agriculture and behavioral change.

PxD’s digital advisory service, Un mensaje por el campo, commenced operations in March 2021, as a component of the project ‘Adopting New Technology, Mindsets, and Practices to Transform Colombia’s Agricultural Sector’ delivered in collaboration with Rare and The Nature Conservancy and with support from UK PACT. The initiative was PxD’s first service in Latin America and our first outside of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

The service delivered 35 weeks of advisory information to approximately 2,700 farmers located in Colombia’s environmentally sensitive Meta Region via a two-way SMS service. Advisory focusses on improving farm productivity and promoting Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) practices, such as optimized pruning, improved and sustainable pest, and disease management, composting, and the prevention of soil erosion.

PxD staff field testing our digital service, ‘Un mensaje por el campo’

Un mensaje por el campo provides customized recommendations to coffee, cocoa, and plantain farmers and general recommendations for perennial crops. Messages are sent to coincide with decision points aligned with cropping calendars. In this way, the information is most valuable and can be made actionable at the moment they arrive. Additionally, farmers have at their disposal a “menu” where they can access all the content that has been sent to them over the course of a season. Our customized content is designed by the agronomy and project teams, and continuous analysis and experimentation are leveraged to inform decision-making and service improvements throughout the implementation process. From among the total sample of beneficiaries, the team has identified 250 “farmer innovators” to receive in-person, dedicated support to build and augment their leadership skills as innovators. It is envisaged that these farmer innovators will reinforce good practices in their communities and anchor a permanent shift to more sustainable practices.

Un mensaje por el campo is using PxD’s proprietary platform, Paddy.
The project was selected as a finalist for the 2020 and 2021 Food Planet Prize.