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2018 Winner

CubicA, the New Farmer Advisory App

The Inspire Challenge is an initiative to challenge partners, universities, and others to use CGIAR data to create innovative pilot projects that will scale. We look for novel approaches that democratize data-driven insights to inform local, national, regional, and global policies and applications in agriculture and food security in real time; helping people–especially smallholder farmers and producers–to lead happier and healthier lives.

This proposal was selected as a 2018 winner, with the team receiving 100,000 USD to put their ideas into practice. 

CubicA, the New Farmer Advisory App

With a worldwide population expected to grow by over a third in 2050, agriculture is an opportunity to address economic and food security, especially in countries like Uganda where it already represents more than 75% of the population’s livelihood (FAO, 2018).

However, crops are afflicted by several challenges including unpredictable and remote markets, low financial inclusion, pests and diseases, environmental disasters and natural resource depletion. To better address those challenges, smallholder farmers need access to the right information at the right time.

CubicA. The right info. At the right time. To the right farmer

CubicA is an innovative Agriculture Advisory App which intends to bridge the smallholder farmers’ information gap. It works like a search engine which doesn’t require internet connectivity, whereby any farmer can simply call a free hotline to get weather and agricultural information anywhere, anytime, in their local language, on any mobile device.

Through the integration of machine learning and big data, CubicA leverages previous farmer-caller data (customer journey, location, agronomic context as well as their profile including gender) along with satellite images, weather forecasts and other data sources to guarantee to provide that the right information is delivered at the right time to the right farmer.

Furthermore, lack of information remains one of the main barriers to efficiently address gender gaps. Among others applications, CubicA supplies opportunities to women farmers to have better access to information and knowledge, thereby empowering them with greater agency and access to innovation while providing valuable insights to support initiatives addressing the gender gap in the farming system.

To summarize, CubicA addresses a two-fold primary problem; access to information and valuable insights collection for/of underserved minorities. By addressing them, CubicA initiates tremendous opportunities to leverage local economy and granting access to innovation.

CubicA aims to be scaled up to different geographical zones over the coming years, starting with Uganda for the pilot.


Frederic Pivetta | Email
Managing Partner, Dalberg Data Insights

Astrid Van Lierde | Email
Project Manager, Dalberg Data Insights

Christophe Bocquet | Email
Data Scientist and AgriTech Lead, Dalberg Data Insights

Lucio Melito | Email
Data Scientist and Machine Learning Lead, Dalberg Data Insights

Leah Newman | Email
3-2-1 Product Director, Viamo

Jamie Arkin | Email
Country Manager – Uganda, Viamo

Vincent Johnson | Email
Project officer, Bioversity – France

William Tinzaara | Email
Researcher and Banana Farming Systems Expert, Bioversity – Uganda


Step by step

Oct 2018

US$100K grant

The project was one of five winners of the Inspire Challenge 2018 and was awarded US$100K at the second annual convention of the CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture, during 3-5 October 2018.

Oct-Dec 2018

Field-level human-centered workshop with farmers

Jan-Mar 2019

Building the recommended system

  • Build the backend infrastructure & database centralizing the different data sources
  • Develop Machine Learning Algorithms & API
Jan-Mar 2019

Creating new agriculture content

  • Centralize data sources
  • Create new text content and converting in voice messages to feed the new IVR system
Apr-Jun 2019

Testing CubicA

  • Push CubicA to farmers end users
  • Collecting qualitative feedback & Analytics
  • Quantitative impact assessment based on customers’ journeys analytics
Apr-Jun 2019

Pilot Delivery and Deployment


Stay tuned for more updates!