PHITO is a Cambisol project in Europe focussing on digital innovation for farmers, such as maps, digital data and access to local markets

PHITO: Farming innovation for all

In 2022, Cambisol embarked on a journey to write a proposal to the European Commission that would capture our career-long goals. Farming innovation for all. Maps for any farmer. Equal opportunities and access to data-driven advice.

Who knew what was waiting for us at the horizon…

Project PHITO: Platform for Helping farmers to Incorporate digital Technologies for equal Opportunities

PHITO is a Horizon Europe project that started September 2023, and runs for 5 years. Its main outcome is a platform, co-designed with farmers and helping them to innovate. Precision agriculture is rapidly developing, but most farmers do not benefit from (digital) technologies yet. This even leads to a digital divide, where large commercial producers are outcompeting small local farmers.

Overcoming obstacles for farming innovation

In the PHITO project, we joined forces with 5 research institutes, 6 innovation partners, and 10 farmer-representatives from 10 different countries, with 1 goal: overcoming obstacles for innovation by small farmers.

Small farmers currently face several obstacles for adopting digital farming tools:

  • Affordability 💰. Most digital farming services are very expensive. PHITO will offer free data-driven advice based on vast existing datasets.
  • Accessibility 📲. Many existing services require expert skills or languages. PHITO will be low-barrier and multi-lingual.
  • Awareness 💡. Where to look in the complex web of information? PHITO converges existing data in a one-stop portal.
  • Continuity 📈. Many free tools and services are short-lived. PHITO has an explicit viable business model and 5 years to finetune this with farmers, researchers, and business specialists.

As the original kickstarters and industry experts of the project, Cambisol will be the innovation lead in PHITO. We will coordinate the project from the innovation perspective, thinking about long term viability, effective dissemination and communication, and coordinating the project together with Wageningen University.

The PHITO app: for farmers & for all

But what will this platform look like? PHITO will likely become a (web-)app (and we really love maps, so it will likely be map-based), but the exact shape and form will PHITO will be co-developed together with farmers.

Ultimately, the PHITO app will help farmers to access digital data and reach markets. This means that PHITO aims at more than the farmer, but also the consumer.

Food production is relevant to all of society. Despite the different realities between producers and consumers, good food lies at the heart of all. 🥗 The PHITO app will allow farmers to promote their produce locally, and put themselves on the map (quite literally).

Project kickoff September 2023

PHITO started on a high with a plenary meeting in the Wageningen surroundings. All partners from each corner of Europe and beyond joined us to kick off the project together.

Behind-the-scenes at the food systems

We as Cambisol love to share our journey through the project and throughout Europe. In PHITO we wrote a dissemination plan we are quite proud of. Be prepared for more…

As we’re starting the project, we are visiting all the food systems one by one by train to explore the local obstacles and potential. Soon, more updates and information about the project can be found at phito.eu. For now, some updates are posted below! (See the Cambisol Instagram for more behind-the-scenes footage.)

(last update: November 2023)