Principles for socially inclusive digital tools for smallholder farmers: A guide


This guide seeks to address some of these concerns with the existing digitization of food systems (Shelton et al., 2022), including:
▪ Digital tools that are irrelevant to farmers’ situations or inaccessible due to a major disconnect among digital developers, public policy, scientific recommendations, extension priorities, and farmers’ needs.
▪ Marginalized groups are often the last to benefit from new technology and are at the greatest risk of exploitation of privacy and data rights.
▪ Many tools do not include more progressive sustainability practices such as low-emission agriculture, climate change adaptation or agroecology, or lack robust scientific evidence behind recommended practices.

The purpose of this document is to provide principles for the social inclusion of smallholder farmers in the development and use of digital tools for the benefit of the same farmers. The intent is to improve the benefits of digital tools for diverse and underrepresented groups of farmers, whether defined by gender, age, class, land tenure, language, ethnicity, ability, sexuality, or another relevant category. The guide gives special attention to principles specific to farmer co-creation of farm practices as an element of social inclusion directly relevant to farmers’ livelihoods and as a desirable practice for developing robust technical solutions.