J-PAL’s Agriculture sector focuses on improving agricultural systems in developing countries and on ways to help farmers adopt practices and technologies that are profitable or environmentally sustainable, and on programs that have the potential to better link farmers to markets.

Three-quarters of the world’s poor live in rural areas, and many depend directly or indirectly on agriculture. Agricultural technologies have the potential to improve their lives through higher yields, better prices, lower risk, and improved nutrition. But take-up of these technologies—from improved seeds to financial products like microinsurance—is low. J-PAL affiliates are conducting rigorous research to test new ways to promote take-up, manage the risks inherent to agriculture, better link farmers to markets, and promote environmentally-sustainable agricultural practices.

The Agricultural Technology Adoption Initiative (ATAI) promotes research that helps identify the constraints that keep poor farmers from adopting profitable agricultural technologies, as well as possible solutions to tackle those constraints.


Market Inefficiences and the Adoption of Agricultural Technologies in Developing Countries

This literature review provides a theoretical framework for the Agricultural Technology Adoption Initiative (ATAI), a joint collaboration with describing seven constraints that prevent the adoption...

Two men from a distance in a green field


Protecting Farmers from Weather-Based Risk

Weather index insurance protects farmers against losses from extreme weather and facilitates investment in their farms, but randomized evaluations have shown low demand for these products at market...

Lori Beaman


Lori Beaman

Lori Beaman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at Northwestern University. Lori's research interests lie in development and labor economics with a focus on the role of social...

Farmer holds a hoe


Are Rainwater Harvesting Techniques Profitable for Small-Scale Farmers? The Adoption and Impact of RWH Techniques in Niger

Due to climate change, rainfall is becoming scarcer and less reliable in many parts of the world, jeopardizing the agricultural income of already vulnerable populations. Technologies that facilitate...

warehouse full of sacks of brown tobacco leaves


Reducing Barriers to Savings in Rural Malawi

Researchers analyzed the effect of reducing barriers to saving in rural Malawi on savings behavior, investment in agricultural inputs, and consumption. They found that farmers with access to formal...

Sector Contacts

Sector Chairs

Craig McIntosh


Tavneet Suri