J-PAL and UM6P launch new agriculture research lab in Africa

The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) and University Mohammed VI Polytechnic (UM6P) announce the launch of the UM6P J-PAL Agricultural Lab for Africa (UJALA). The lab, based in Morocco, works to improve food security in sub-Saharan Africa through impact evaluations of policies and programmes in the areas of agricultural subsidies, fertilisers and soil health, reducing household reliance on imported foods, reducing barriers of technology adoption and improving farmers' market connections.

Tavneet Suri, J-PAL agriculture sector co-chair says, "UJALA will further J-PAL’s agenda in agriculture by working with key private sector partners on the African continent to conduct rigorous research aimed at improving food security for small-scale farmers, scale successful programmes, and broadly use evidence in decision-making. Through this collaboration, we will address gaps in the policy and research landscapes on topics critical to food security for low-income individuals across sub-Saharan Africa."


The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at MIT is partnering with University Mohammed VI Polytechnic (UM6P) to form the UM6P-J-PAL Agricultural Lab for Africa. Hosted at UM6P in Morocco, the lab will work to design and implement rigorous impact evaluations of policies and programs that improve food security in sub-Saharan Africa.

With an initial grant from the OCP Foundation, the UM6P-J-PAL Agricultural Lab for Africa (UJALA) will fund research that rigorously evaluates agricultural technologies and practices that are designed to increase small-scale farmers’ food security, productivity, and profitability. Randomized evaluations will be conducted across sub-Saharan Africa with a clear goal to scale up effective programs. UJALA will be chaired by MIT Sloan School of Business Professor and J-PAL Agriculture Sector Co-Chair Tavneet Suri.

Specifically, UJALA aims to fund innovative research, in collaboration with J-PAL’s network of economists, that answers critical questions related to five key policy areas:

  1. Designing and delivering effective food and agricultural subsidies,
  2. Assessing the value of fertilizer customization to crop needs and soil nutrients,
  3. Reducing low-income households’ reliance on imported food,
  4. Alleviating farmers’ constraints to adopting and maintaining new agricultural technologies and practices, and
  5. Connecting farmers to markets that sell at competitive prices.


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