The transformation of agriculture and rural economies is central to poverty reduction in Sub-Saharan Africa and many parts of South Asia. Yet there is limited empirical evidence on how to catalyze this transformation. The Agricultural Technology Adoption Initiative (ATAI), co-led by CEGA and the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), generates data and insights needed to inform productive investments in agricultural development.
In collaboration with implementers like CGIAR, the World Bank, and national ministries of agriculture, ATAI focuses on unlocking the constraints to smallholder agriculture, with a focus on credit and savings, risk and insurance, input and output markets, information, land and labor. Through research competitions that emphasize agricultural transformation, ATAI sources the next generation of impact research that addresses central priorities of policymakers.
ATAI generates high-quality research evidence and translates findings to directly support policy and investment strategies. Over the course of nearly 10 years, ATAI has sponsored more than 50 randomized evaluations in 17 countries, leveraging the expertise of 50 implementing partners and more than 100 faculty researchers. ATAI researchers and staff have directly consulted with leading agricultural policy entities, including the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, India’s Odisha State Seed Corporation, CGIAR, the World Bank, Technoserve, and Uganda’s Department of Agricultural Extension Services of the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries, among many others.
ATAI has been widely influential, for example by motivating the Odisha State Seed Corporation in India to increase (by 20x) its production of stress-tolerant rice seeds, proven to reduce risk and encourage agricultural investments for farmers. ATAI research in India and Kenya also led to the development of a new organization, Precision Agriculture for Development (PAD), which has rapidly grown their evidence-based models for ICT agricultural extension in multiple countries. Funded research has further informed the design of a novel maize-storage loan, offered by One Acre Fund in Western Kenya, found to boost incomes for farmers by allowing them to store crops until prices are favorable, among other policy changes.
ATAI researchers and staff regularly host trainings and share findings with leading practitioners and policymakers. ATAI’s research synthesis series, “Emerging Insights,” provides tangible guidance to implementers on farmer credit and savings, input and output markets, risk and insurance, and information delivery and extension systems. Integrating these promising results into agricultural development interventions helps to improve production processes and ultimately profits for smallholder farmers around the globe.
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