About the MRR Innovation Lab

About the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Markets, Risk and Resilience

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 families in developing economies from the lab to the field. 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.

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.

The MRR Innovation Lab is one of many Feed the Future Innovation Labs that draw on the expertise of top U.S. colleges and universities in collaboration with developing country research and educational institutions to tackle some of the world’s greatest challenges in agriculture, food security, and nutrition. Led by U.S. universities, the Feed the Future Innovation Labs are on the cutting edge of efforts to research, develop, and take to scale safe and effective technologies that address current and future challenges posed by a changing climate and the need to feed a growing global population.

The MRR Innovation Lab was established at UC Davis in 2019 by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) (cooperative agreement no. 7200AA19LE00004).


In emerging economies, disasters like drought, flood or conflict make people poor. The potential for disasters often keeps people poor by adding insurmountable risk to adopting development innovations like stress-tolerant seeds, or low-cost loans.

The MRR Innovation Lab innovates and field-tests approaches to reducing risk that create opportunities for families to adopt these productive technologies. Research shows that these tools can generate additional food and income that keep people from falling into poverty while building a ladder up for families who are already poor—that’s Resilience+.

Resilience+ is the added dividend of smart, proactive investments in rural development in the presence of recurring disasters. The result is more families who can lift and keep themselves—and their future generations—out of poverty.

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MRR Knowledge Base

Haiti small-scale farmers

Developing Countries and the Future of Small-scale Agriculture

Agriculture in developing countries has always been a challenge for the hundreds of millions of small-scale farmers and pastoralists who rely on the food they can produce on their own. Learn more about agriculture in developing countries and how MRR Innovation Lab research creates new opportunities to support rural families worldwide.

Current and Former Partners

Insuresilience   Global Resilience Partnership   International Labour Organization   ILRI   Oxfam America    CGIAR    Savanna Agricultural Research Institute    MercyCorps    BRAC    Bantawana    Western Seed Company    Mumias Sugar    Nyala Insurance Company    Oromia Insurance Company     University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign   Agricultural Insurance Company of India   International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT)    Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources LUANAR    University of Leeds    International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)      Tegemeo Institute of Agricultural Policy and Development    Duke University    University of Namur    Compagnie Malienne Pour le Developpement de Textiles    University of California Berkeley    ACET for Africa  Makerere University    Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA)   World Education Inc.    Cornell University    VisionFund Tanzania    University of Alaska, Anchorage    University of Dar es Salaam    University of Maryland    Sokoine University of Agriculture    Harvard University    Maseno University School of Business and Economics    International Fertilizer Development Corporation (IFDC)    Institute of Rural Development Planning (IRDP)    Institute of Environmental and Agricultural Research (INERA)    University of Wisconsin    Syracuse University    The World Bank    Que Funciona para el Desarrollo    Instituto Technologico Autonomo de Mexico    Consortium Pour la Recherche Economique et Sociale (CRES)    Israel MASHAV    Brookings AGI International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)   Sana Kisan Bank   Institute for Finance Management and Research    Universite d’Etat d’Haiti   REDDOM    Fonkoze    Escuela Superior Politecnica del Litoral   Hollard Insurance (Mozambique)   UAP/Old Mutual (Tanzania)   Allianz Insurance (Burkina Faso Sofitex (Burkina Faso)   SATEC logo   MATC logo   Iffa Seed logo