Digital Agricultural Innovations and Services Initiative (DAISI)

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The Digital Agricultural Innovations and Services Initiative (DAISI) funds research to rigorously evaluate programs that increase the availability, quality, and reach of bundled digital agricultural solutions and services for small-scale agricultural producers. We aim to generate a rigorous evidence base that carefully identifies whether digital tools and bundled approaches are successful in improving smallholder farmer outcomes (e.g., uptake of input credit, diversification into new crops, yield, income, and perceived ability of farmers to cope with shocks or stresses), connecting farmers to markets, and expanding commercialization in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

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 will also host 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: 

  1. Connects digital service providers, researchers, and governments to facilitate multi-stakeholder research partnerships.
  2. Funds randomized trials to build an evidence base on improving bundled and digital agricultural service provision. 
  3. Synthesizes available evidence to address and answer outstanding questions relevant to policy and practice. 
  4. Strengthens the capacity of researchers in South Asia and sub-Saharan African countries to run rigorous randomized impact evaluations. 
  5. Ensures decision-makers are aware of the evidence to inform relevant agricultural development strategies.

Key Facts

Sectors:
Office:
J-PAL Global
Co-Chairs:
Status:
  • Research RFP: Open
Eligibility:
Open to J-PAL and CEGA affiliated professors and all active invited researchers to any J-PAL initiative or J-PAL regional office.

Funders

FOR RESEARCHERS

Request for proposals

The Digital Agricultural Innovations and Services Initiative (DAISI) is currently accepting proposals. Proposals for funding consist of two stages. The required letter of intent is due by Thursday, August 18, 2022 (5:00 pm PT), and the full proposal is due by Thursday, September 29, 2022 (5:00 pm PT).

OPPORTUNITIES

Regional Scholars

DAISI provides research funding opportunities to resident scholars in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Initiative Staff

Sarah Coughlin, Policy Associate

Emily Sylvia, Policy Manager

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