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IFA Science Awards Winner
06 Mar 2012

Rikin Gandhi

Mr Rikin Gandhi is the Chief Executive Officer of Digital Green, a non-governmental organization whose interests include sustainable agriculture and technology for socio-economic development in India and Ethiopia.

It supports established extension systems and other partners to improve livelihoods of small, marginal farmers through the targeted production and dissemination of locally relevant agricultural information via participatory video and mediated instruction.

Digital Green’s model is especially compelling and effective because its videos are of farmers and for farmers, produced and disseminated by innovatively blending technology with social marketing. All the videos are made and screened locally by village-level mediators and feature local farmers who train other farmers in the community on sustainable practices that enhance productivity and mitigate the effects of climate change. To ensure that this focus on the needs of individual farmers is institutionalized and sustained in the long term, under Gandhi’s guidance, Digital Green has iteratively developed a comprehensive framework of standard operating procedures.

Digital Green has been shown to be at least ten times as effective, per dollar spent, in increasing the uptake of sustainable agricultural practices by farmers than traditional approaches to agricultural extension. Thus far, the Digital Green network has connected over 1100 villages in India and Ethiopia and produced over 2100 videos. It reaches more than 90,000 farmers each week.

Greta Gabinete and Rikin Gandhi were nominated by Atlas Fertilizer Corporation and the International Plant Nutrition Institute, respectively, and they were selected by an independent jury. Both laureates have accepted their award at the Opening Session of the IFA Annual Conference on Tuesday, 22 May in Doha, Qatar.