Regenerative Agriculture for Generative AI (Regen4Gen)

A founding ambition of the Coalition is to aggregate knowledge and resources about regenerative practices from across our membership, targeting smallholder systems. This interest coincides with the rise of generative artificial intelligence (AI). Several early adopters in the CASH Coalition are already leveraging AI to advance and scale agricultural advisory.

Access to validated, practical knowledge can improve productivity for smallholder farmers. There is a growing consensus that generative AI can be a powerful tool for scaling access to information to smallholders at a relatively low cost. Digital Green, Proximity Design, and Acceso began piloting AI programming in 2023. Given the variety of crops and unique agro-ecologies these organizations work in, it has become clear that the volume of quality, locally relevant content is a constraining gap in standing up smallholder-friendly AI-supported ‘Agricultural Assistants’ (AgBots) that can truly deliver valid knowledge that is actionable at a local level. Smallholder advisory content that meets a regenerative standard is even more difficult to source. CASH Coalition members believe that smallholder advisory information is not proprietary and should be made widely available to smallholder farmers as a public good. 

Private firms motivated by profit rather than farmer welfare and livelihoods are actively exploring AI applications in agriculture, including smallholder agriculture. This further motivates CASH to engage with this rapidly developing application to act in the best interests of farmers and nature.

Given our perception that AI will grow in importance and curiosity about leveraging AI in individual and collective activities, there is a desire to make tangible progress on an AI-advisory work plan this year. Aggregating and developing collective knowledge is low-hanging fruit that the Coalition can immediately benefit from, laying the groundwork for the Coalition to play a progressive and proactive role in shaping this emerging technology in a way that delivers value to smallholder farmers and nature.


The Coalition will develop a repository of regenerative content focused on smallholder agriculture accessible to members and others, as agreed by members with specific goals in mind: 1) accelerating awareness and uptake of regenerative practices across the network to improve outcomes in existing work; 2) create a foundational repository of content that can support individual members and the wider group – and eventually the field at-large – to leverage generative AI for smallholder advisory as a strategy to significantly scale-up farmer access to quality, locally relevant, regenerative advice.

This AI-supported agricultural advisory effort by the CASH Coalitions has many possible use cases, some of which include: 

  1. Developing a Virtual Ag Assistant that delivers hyper-local farm advisory services with real-time data, empowering our coalition members to deliver game-changing value to farmers: As generative AI technology becomes more prevalent, organizations can create chatbots, IVR interfaces, or SMS bots to deliver advisory services customized to local conditions. Effective implementation requires high-quality content. As a coalition, we have a large quantity of pre-vetted content across various forms and media:  training manuals, fact sheets, videos, audio clips, posters, etc. Generative AI allows for the incorporation of additional dynamic external sources of data like market prices, agro dealer locations, stocks, and weather information that enhance value for farmers.
  2. Leveraging the combined content of the Coalition, enabling governments to deliver tailored agricultural services to smallholders across diverse regions: Multiple members may have useful content for particular geographies. By leveraging Digital Green’s open-source architecture, we can develop a unified Bot that can be shared across organizations to benefit various frontline agents (lead farmers, Coop leadership, extension agents, NGO staff, etc…). This collaborative approach positions the Coalition to influence national policies on agricultural advisory services, providing governments with quality content and strategies to improve smallholder access to advice. The value proposition of collaboration will be richer if participating CASH Coalition members integrate activities and services beyond advisory, such as finance or market coordination. Alternatively, if existing CASH members already have farmer-facing apps or other service channels, AI enablement can be integrated with existing solutions. 
  3. Collaborating on open-source tools to build digital public goods that increase smallholder access to quality advisory: Digital Green has made significant progress in developing an open-source architecture for a virtual agricultural assistant. However, there is room for improvement in user experience and quality assurance. Through peer engagement and co-design, we can refine these processes and enhance the effectiveness of AI-driven advisory services. These include things like query orchestration and decomposition (the process of breaking down questions that require additional embedded questions and localization to get to a useful response), collective work to improve AI comprehension of local language models, comparing functionality and scalability of different LLM options and reviewing Q&A pairs collectively to calibrate and benchmark for quality around regenerative and gender-responsive content. 

Exchange of best practices and facilitating early adoption of AI-supported advisory to benefit smallholders: As more organizations adopt AI-supported advisory technology, new practical challenges and opportunities will arise. The Coalition’s broad objective to be a learning community that facilitates knowledge-sharing, collaboration, and collective progress will speed the identification of problems as they arise and promote collaborative problem-solving.