UM6P-J-PAL Agricultural Lab for Africa (UJALA)

The UM6P-J-PAL Agricultural Lab for Africa (UJALA) aims to generate rigorous, policy-relevant evidence to answer critical questions around small-scale agriculture and food security in Africa.

J-PAL and University Mohammed VI Polytechnic (UM6P) are partnering to form the UM6P-J-PAL Agricultural Lab for Africa (UJALA). Hosted at UM6P in Morocco, UJALA funds research to rigorously evaluate agricultural technologies and practices designed to increase small-scale farmers’ food security, productivity, and profitability. 

Small-scale farmers face a myriad of production decisions that they need to address throughout the agricultural cycle, such as whether to adopt a new seed variety, how much fertilizer to apply, which of the information sources to trust, where to sell their output for the highest possible price, how to pay for production investments, among many others. With the rise of global food insecurity, resulting from changes in the global market, climate, and political economic forces, understanding how to improve food systems is an essential step along the path to reducing poverty and securing livelihoods across sub-Saharan Africa. In response to this growing uncertainty, clear policies and programs that support farmers to invest in higher-yielding, more profitable, and more innovative technologies are essential. However, there are still a number of questions yet to be answered, and these questions are changing in line with evolving global market and climatic factors. 

UJALA aims to answer critical questions related to designing and delivering effective food and agricultural subsidies, assessing the value of fertilizer customization to crop needs and soil nutrients, reducing low-income households’ reliance on imported food, alleviating farmers’ constraints to adopting and maintaining new agricultural technologies and practices, and connecting farmers to markets that sell at competitive prices.

To achieve our goals, UJALA will:

1. Identify programs with the potential to answer open questions related to agricultural technology adoption in Africa.

2. Integrate into J-PAL’s agriculture portfolio and liaise with J-PAL Africa.

3. Connect partners with J-PAL affiliated researchers to facilitate multi-stakeholder research partnerships.

4. Fund randomized evaluations to build an evidence base on strategies that increase small-scale farmers’ food security, productivity, and profitability through the uptake of improved and accessible agricultural technologies. 

5. Summarize and synthesize available results to address and answer outstanding questions relevant to policy and practice. 

6. Disseminate the evidence to inform relevant agricultural development strategies across the African continent.

Key Facts

Sector: Agriculture

Scientific Advisors: Tavneet Suri

Office: UM6P, J-PAL Global

Status: Research RFP to be launched soon


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