Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Markets, Risk and Resilience (MRR) at UC Davis develops and tests financial and market innovations that take the most promising agricultural tools for rural families in developing economies from the lab to the field. Operating with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), our mission is to generate and transfer knowledge and innovations that promote resilience and empower rural families, communities and markets to share in inclusive agricultural growth. Learn more at basis.ucdavis.edu.


The MRR Innovation Lab focuses the most advanced tools in development economics and related fields on three core themes:

  • Resilient Escapes from Poverty: Bundled programs that can have a bigger and more lasting impact on persistent poverty than the sum of their parts.
  • Financial and Agronomic Innovations for Inclusive Growth and Resilience: Expanding the potential of insurance, stress-tolerant seeds and other tools to manage the risk of drought, flood or other disasters.
  • Resilient Systems for Broadly-based Agricultural Growth: Ensuring that markets and other social systems are competitive and do not bypass women and young people.

In addition to funding research and building the capacity of local institutions, we translate our work into accessible policy documents and sponsor outreach events that integrate our findings into a coherent and effective voice about priorities and options for governments, NGOs and others working to reduce poverty and increase prosperity worldwide. Learn more at basis.ucdavis.edu.

Lead Organization

University of California, Davis

Focus Countries

Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Kenya, Mali, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda



Project staff

Michael R. Carter, Director, mrcarter@ucdavis.edu

Tara Chiu, Associate Director, tlchiu@ucdavis.edu

Alex Russell, Strategic Communications Manager, parussell@ucdavis.edu

Sophie Javers, Policy Engagement Coordinator, sejavers@ucdavis.edu

Stay in touch

Website: https://basis.ucdavis.edu

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/MRRInnovLab

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/feed-the-future-ama-innovation-lab/

AMA Update e-news: https://basis.ucdavis.edu/sign-mrr-innovation-lab-updates

Evidence Insight: A Mobile Phone Directory Connects Farmers and Enterprises in Tanzania

A printed phone directory in Tanzania had significant impacts by connecting small-scale farmers with agriculture-related enterprises. The project’s results suggest directory services have substantial value for agriculture.

Report: Bundling Innovative Risk Management Technologies to Accelerate Agricultural Growth and Improve Nutrition

This report summarizes the impacts of a 2014-2019 RCT spanning Mozambique and Tanzania in partnership with CIMMYT to test the impacts of bundling an innovative type of insurance with drought-tolerant maize to expand drought protection for small-scale farming families.

Evidence Insight: Innovations for Drought Resilience Two Ways in Mozambique and Tanzania

Pairing drought-tolerant maize (DTM) and index insurance generated resilience in two ways. DTM effectively maintained yields during mid-season droughts. After severe droughts, DTM bundled with insurance helped farmers recover from their losses and return production to even higher levels than in the year before the drought.

Evidence Insight: Making Fertilizer Subsides a Profitable Investment in Kenya

A temporary “learning” subsidy for commercially sourced fertilizers could help to expand the reach of Kenya's subsidy programs while supporting the commercial markets that will sustain long-term adoption.

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