WBCSD’s work on Digital Climate Advisory Services (DCAS) is part of the Scaling Positive Agriculture project. DCAS are climate-related advisories and services delivered via digital tools and platforms. These include online portals, mobile applications, more traditional, digitally enabled formats like radio and interactive voice response systems. A growing market of DCAS solutions is emerging to help farmers build resilience and adapt to climate change.
This first paper examines the specific role of DCAS in sustainable agriculture. It highlights the demand and supply-side issues in DCAS and explores the role of business in particular in scaling the use of DCAS to promote sustainable and resilient agriculture in India. The paper has been developed through collating inputs and insights from WBCSD member companies active in the food and agricultural sector. The paper highlights the key enablers and barriers to scaling up DCAS in India and based on this provides key recommendations to businesses.
The second paper specifically looks at the business case for DCAS for both farmers and companies, which is highlighted as one of the key challenges for DCAS in India. The study has shown that where farmers can access it, DCAS more often than not has a strong business case for them. However, most of the farmers surveyed (55%) also expressed that DCAS applications are not meeting their expectations, as applications often provide a too generalized advice. Hence, there is a need for tailored solutions across vast geographic areas, which presents a challenge to companies, as this requires significant investments and the willingness to pay for the services remains relatively limited.
To help overcome such challenges, there is a set of recommendations, which includes setting up more effective public/private collaboration to scale up tailored DCAS, investigating the potential of low-cost peer-to-peer delivery options, increasing high-risk tolerant donor/impact investments in farmer-centric models, and broader infrastructure investments. There is also a need for a DCAS learning community of practice and an open-data sharing platform which can help DCAS reach its full potential impact and scale.