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Policy Insights in Agriculture

J-PAL’s Agriculture sector focuses on improving agricultural systems in developing countries. Our policy insights below summarize general lessons from randomized evaluations on providing credit and information to smallholder farmers and protecting them from risk.

Craig McIntosh (University of California, San Diego) and Tavneet Suri (MIT Sloan School of Management), Agriculture Co-Chairs

farmers

Improving extension services to increase smallholder productivity

Last updated: April 2018
Agricultural information and extension services in developing countries can be improved by adapting the pedagogical model, using information and communications technology (ICT) to reach farmers directly with more tailored and timely information, incentivizing trainers based on learning outcomes, and leveraging social networks for last-mile information delivery. Read More
Women processing fruit in baskets

Credit's limited impact on smallholder farm profitability

Last updated: April 2018
Increasing access to traditional microcredit has had limited impacts on smallholder farmers’ profitability in randomized evaluations in developing countries. Demand for new offers of credit was low, ranging from 17 to 33 percent, and even when farmers used traditional credit products to invest in new technologies and practices they rarely experienced increased profits. Read More
Farmers in a field

Protecting farmers from weather-based risk

Last updated: February 2016
Weather index insurance protects farmers against losses due to extreme weather and facilitates investments in their farms, but low demand for these products at market prices suggests the need for alternative approaches to protecting farmers from weather-based risk in developing countries. Read More

Sector Chairs

Craig McIntosh

Co-Chair

Tavneet Suri

Co-Chair

Sector Contacts

Kyle Murphy

Policy Manager

[email protected]
(617) 324-9199

Rebecca Toole

Senior Policy Associate

[email protected]
(617) 324-1641