Constraints to Adoption and the Importance of Markets

ATAI developed a conceptual framework to organize and launch the next generation of rigorous evidence by producing the ATAI Review Paper. This founding document, updated in 2013, summarizes seven market inefficiencies as “constraints” to agricultural technology adoption. 


ATAI evaluations increasingly investigate how smallholder farmers can be better integrated into markets that improve their welfare.

ATAI will continue to study evidence gaps on these seven constraints to technology adoption, but will also fund RCTs testing how approaches including supply chain and contracting improvements, and high-value crop cultivation, may improve farmer welfare and transform rural economies. We are sustaining our momentum and methodological rigor to advance the frontiers of evidence while responding to the needs of global decisionmakers.

7 Constraints to Technology Adoption

Agricultural technologies may increase productivity or yields in controlled conditions, but many fail to raise yields and generate profit when implemented by farmers in real-world conditions. Sub-Saharan Africa in particular has lagged behind global progress in agricultural productivity:

ATAI has put forth a conceptual framework of seven market inefficiencies that lower expected profits and constrain agricultural technology adoption based on an extensive literature review.

Over the past year (2015-2016), ATAI leadership has reviewed ATAI-funded studies and research in the broader academic community to develop emerging insights in agricultural policy. This exercise has provided ATAI with clear messages to deliver to implementers and policymakers on issues related to risk, credit and savings, information, and input and output markets.

ATAI’s Emerging Insights resources

The remaining three constraints identified by ATAI have attracted less volume of research to date, and will continue to be a focus of future research: externalities, labor and land market inefficiencies.

ATAI Review Paper