Digital Agricultural Innovations and Services Initiative (DAISI)
Implementers are increasingly using digital technologies to deliver information, financial services, insurance, trading platforms, among other services. Often these services are bundled or integrated under the same program, which can be a timely and lower-cost way to reach a large number of farmers. It could also be an effective way to address the multiple constraints farmers face in these environments. Despite rapid development and growth of implementers in this space, the evidence base on which digitally-enabled services, their targeting mechanisms, and delivery models are effective at improving smallholder farmers’ welfare remains limited. There is even less evidence available on how to reach, benefit, and empower women through such services. DAISI aims to fill key gaps in the evidence base, working with commercial providers, private sector technology and fintech companies, telecommunications firms, governments, NGOs, and others to evaluate the impact of their services. DAISI also hosts a Regional Scholars program, offering dedicated funding and capacity-building opportunities for researchers who have completed a PhD in Economics, Agricultural Economics, or a related empirical discipline, and currently hold an academic or research position at a university based in a South Asian or African country.
DAISI is a collaboration between J-PAL and UC Berkeley’s Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA), with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. DAISI funds our network of researchers to generate rigorous evidence through randomized evaluations on bundled services and/or digital tools that connect farmers to multiple services and reduce barriers for farmers to access services.
To achieve our goals, DAISI:
- Connects digital service providers, researchers, and governments to facilitate multi-stakeholder research partnerships.
- Funds randomized trials to build an evidence base on improving bundled and digital agricultural service provision.
- Synthesizes available evidence to address and answer outstanding questions relevant to policy and practice.
- Strengthens the capacity of researchers in South Asia and sub-Saharan African countries to run rigorous randomized impact evaluations.
- Ensures decision-makers are aware of the evidence to inform relevant agricultural development strategies.
Sarah Coughlin, Policy Associate