Download the CommonSense project leaflet

Target user group

CommonSense targets smallholder farmers (sesame, sorghum). CommonSense will provide farmers information, such as weather forecasts, to help them make more informed decisions on farming activities. Other targeted users within the CommonSense business model include: unions and cooperatives, out-growers organisations, microfinance institutions, Ethiopian Government. The Ethiopian Government, in particular the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources (MoANR) is interested in data which can help making decisions for policy, planning,
extension. CommonSense will support government by providing a broad view on the performance of its agricultural sector in the areas of interest.

Service to be provided

The CommonSense project in Ethiopia targets smallholder farmers in four regions in the country, directly or through actors across their value chain including unions, cooperatives,
and microfinance institutions (MFIs). By providing them with actionable information based on earth observations and geographic data, the project aims to strengthen these value
chains and eventually improve their livelihoods and food security. CommonSense is developing a platform of specialized information services including a.o. dashboard and applications for crop monitoring, yield forecasting for smallholder farmers and loan portfolio monitoring and risk assessment for MFIs. End users will interact with the CommonSense platform through applications designed to meet their specific needs.

Business proposition

The business model is based on a license model. Farmers unions and other users will pay annual fees to access the services.


The CommonSense partnership consists of the following partners that complement each other’s skills and interests:

Lead partner:

  • Stichting Dienst Landbouwkundig Onderzoek (Stichting DLO), one of three legal entities constituting Wageningen University & Research Centre. The Stichting DLO is a private organisation. Role: agricultural monitoring and risk assessment. It also links with the WUR BENEFIT project in Ethiopia, which include the Sesame Business Network support programme and CASCAPE (best farming practices)


  • Apposit (Ethiopia, private), role: IT platform & business development
  • Ministry of Agriculture (Ethiopia, public), role: facilitating local embedding
  • Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands (the Netherlands, private), role: Remote sensing services
  • ExoTalent (Ethiopia, NGO), role: User needs assessment, pilots and capacity building
  • Microfinance institutions: Busaa Gonofaa (Ethiopia), SFPI (Ethiopia), HARBU Microfinance Institution (Ethiopia) and ICCO/TerraFina (Netherlands)
  • Weather Impact (Netherlands), role: Weather information services

The project has established a Memorandum of Understanding with the MoANR and is collaborating with the National Meteorology Agency, the Federal Cooperative Agency and other
government organisations of Ethiopia. It is also cooperating with Agriterra (Netherlands).

CategoryCrop advisory service,Weather forecast
RegionEast Africa
Period2015 - 2018
Targeted end usersSmallholder sesame and mixed farmers in the regions Oromia, Amhara, SNNPR, and Tigray