In 2022, Cambisol embarked on a journey to write a proposal to the European Commission that would capture our career-long vision: farming innovation for all. 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. Our mission to make maps available for small farmers was suddenly lifted to another level!
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 be co-developed together with farmers. It will likely become a (web-)app, but the exact shape and form will strongly depend on what works best for them (and we really love maps, so it will likely be map-based.)
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).
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 our plans…
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.)
Update from Italy, 09/2023
Update from Austria, 08/2023
(last update: September 2023)