Family in Mozambique

Unlocking the potential of small-scale agriculture

Across much of Africa and South Asia, climate change has worsened the risk of drought and unpredictable weather, increasing barriers for small-scale farmers to achieve a better future through agriculture. Facing these risks, farmers hold back from investing their scarce resources into improved practices or more productive crop varieties because they can’t risk losing everything.

At the same time, when financial or agronomic tools reduce losses or provide support when times are bad, farmers often make those investments, and they reap the rewards at harvest. These two together—resilience to shocks and investments that drive higher productivity—are the foundation of Resilience+.

The Resilience+ Innovation Facility at UC Davis designs and implements targeted, large-scale projects that will spark Resilience+. These market-focused efforts are driven by partnerships with in-country private-sector companies to ensure success is lasting.

Case Study: Cotton Farming in Burkina Faso and Mali

Cotton farmer Burkina Faso

When the rains are good in West Africa, cotton crops thrive. In those years, cotton farmers reap the rewards of a higher-risk cash crop and the local cotton company has more to sell. When drought strikes and cotton crops fail, farmers might have to sell off everything they own to pay back input loans. The alternative is to quit cotton entirely, a loss both for them and the local economy.

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Case Study: Rice Farming in Bangladesh


Flood is a constant threat in many parts of Bangladesh where people’s livelihoods depend on a good rice crop. Flood disasters drive rural poverty by forcing families to safeguard themselves at a high cost and increasing the risk of making investments that could produce higher yields.

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Case Study: Maize Farming in Mozambique and Tanzania

Mozambique DTM

Small-scale maize farmers in East Africa face a high risk of drought that destroys their crops and livelihoods. Mozambique faces a risk of both severe drought and extreme weather that causes widespread flooding. Tanzania faces a high risk of drought that destroys crops and forces small-scale farmers to forego investments in higher productivity.

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Resilience+ Innovation Facility to Unlock Agricultural Transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia

December 14, 2021—Agriculture is the cornerstone of livelihoods across the world. Across much of Africa and South Asia, where small-scale farmers’ livelihoods depend on the food they can grow, climate change has worsened the risk of drought and unpredictable weather, increasing barriers to opportunities for a better future through agriculture.

The University of California, Davis, has established the Resilience+ Innovation Facility to spark inclusive agricultural transformation among small-scale farmers in Africa and South Asia with a $5 million five-year grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The facility will design and scale integrated approaches that support farmers in becoming more resilient to climate-related shocks, which can also unlock their ability to transform their livelihoods through agriculture.

“We’re bringing together all of our learning over the past decade to build a concentrated set of efforts we believe will have an outsized impact for rural families around the globe,” said Michael Carter, distinguished professor of agricultural and resource economics at UC Davis and director of the facility.

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