J-PAL’s Agriculture sector focuses on improving agricultural systems in developing countries, including strategies to help farmers adopt practices and technologies that are profitable or environmentally sustainable, and 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, boost farmers’ profits, manage the risks inherent to agriculture, and better link farmers to markets.

In addition to supporting policymakers in applying evidence from randomized evaluations to their work, sector chairs and staff write policy insights that synthesize general lessons emerging from the research, condense results from evaluations in policy publications and evaluation summaries, and fund new research through the Agricultural Technology Adoption Initiative

green watermelons being sold in open air market in Vietnam
Policy Insight

Incentivizing higher-quality agricultural outputs

Despite making investments in technologies and practices to improve the quality of their products, smallholder farmers in low- and middle-income countries do not often receive higher prices for their higher-quality agricultural goods. Disorganized markets with many intermediaries may make quality...

Farmers use mobile phones
Evidence to Policy

Phone-based technology for agricultural information delivery

In this Evidence to Policy case study, see how Precision Agriculture for Development leveraged findings from two randomized evaluations to create and diffuse a new mobile-phone based model for agricultural extension.

Man in Uganda selling maize

Building Market Linkages for Smallholder Farmers through a Digital Marketplace in Uganda

Researchers conducted a randomized evaluation in Uganda to test the impact of a mobile phone-based marketplace for agricultural commodities on local market prices, entry of traders, farmer revenue, and trader profits. Overall, the platform increased trade flows and decreased price variation across...

A market vendor stands in front of large sacks of onions

Building systems to improve and reward higher-quality agricultural products

Learn more about our new review of strategies designed to improve the quality of agricultural goods produced and sold at market. 

Man walking in corn field

Innovative Finance for Technology Adoption in Western Kenya

Researchers randomly evaluated whether well-timed access to credit would allow maize farmers in Kenya to make better use of storage and sell their output at higher prices. The loan offers allowed farmers to store more maize and earn higher revenues, with larger revenue impacts for farmers granted...

Sector Chairs

Co-Chair, Agriculture

Professor of Economics

University of California, San Diego

Scientific Director, J-PAL Africa

Co-Chair, Agriculture

Co-Chair, Digital Identification and Finance Initiative in Africa (DigiFI Africa)

Associate Professor of Applied Economics

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Sector Contacts

Headshot of Brindha Gopalakrishnan

Policy Associate, J-PAL Global

Senior Policy Manager, J-PAL Global

Senior Policy Associate, J-PAL Global