Evaluating digital’s impact on the lives of farmers

How is the proliferation of digital technology and data analytics in agriculture contributing to the lives of farmers and agricultural service providers?

Hundreds of interventions detected

Insight from leading researchers

More than 7,000 articles evaluated
using machine-learning


Digital technologies and data analytics have transformed all sectors of industry and society, but how they are changing agriculture can be better understood. In particular, what impact do they—and can they—have on the 570 million family-run farms around the world.

The interest surrounding digital services for farmers is accompanied by uncertainty. Evidence is growing fast but across many sources and platforms, representing a significant challenge to create an overall synthesis

Farming is our oldest science. Long before we thought “scientifically,” farming gave us our first lessons in observing patterns, assessing cause and effect, collecting data, creating tools and technologies, and running a business. We are looking at family farms and all the lives—animal, plant, and human— they support. But we are interested in the networks of service providers who provide and collect vital data, and who work with farmers to develop new innovative approaches and solutions


Digitalization offers an opportunity to leapfrog transformation of agriculture. Across the world, technology is rapidly changing the way food is produced, transformed, and distributed.

At the same time, most farms around the world are small or mid-sized. The remoteness and small scale of many farms, the fact that they consist of a few plots and livestock, creates a technological obstacle. For logistical and economic reasons, these farms will not be equipped with remote sensors to monitor plant growth or storage to keep crops dry and fresh until they can be sold. As a result, this is prohibitively expensive.

But successful interventions are out there to support producers. This review will assess, based on the available evidence, was is working and what is not, and importantly, what is missing from the landscape that, if present, would have greater impact.


Agriculture in the Digital Age is a research to evidence program. We are undertaking a global and comprehensive synthesis of the evidence using formal review methods [in time this will link to another page] and expert interviews on emerging issues. Read our protocol here [eventually a link].

Mapping where the evidence is and is not available is key to better understanding how and why some services work and other do not; importantly, at the same time, we need to assess how, and for whom, digital technology falls short of meeting its transformative potential.

We will map the range of outcomes, interventions and indicators on an interactive and online database. In doing this, it will serve as a unique, comprehensive, and reliable resource for funder and expert decision-making. We expect to publish results in 2020. Until then, say hi by signing up for our periodic email blasts.