Decision and Policy Analysis (DAPA)

CIAT’s cross-cutting research on decision and policy analysis is aimed at harnessing the power of new information tools and participatory methods to influence decisions, practices, and policies on three key issues: climate change, ecosystem services, and linking farmers to markets.

Catering to decision makers in the private and public sectors, we provide novel and accurate information in interactive forms together with easy-to-use methods for analyzing agricultural systems at all levels – from individual farms to whole continents.

DAPA’s research relies on a wide array of scientific expertise, which is organized into four expert groups: gender analysis, impact and strategic studies, spatial and agricultural modeling, and big data.

Research themes

Climate Change ➤


In response to this formidable challenge for tropical agriculture, CIAT develops novel methods for generating information that can guide policies and decisions related to climate change adaptation and mitigation. 

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Ecosystem Services ➤


Ecosystem services range from providing nutritious food and clean water, to climate regulation and outdoor recreation. The results of our research inform the negotiation of mechanisms for equitable sharing of benefits from ecosystems services and for determining the level of investment and incentives required to protect them.

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Linking Farmers to Markets ➤ markets

Smallholder agriculture has enormous potential to serve as an engine of inclusive economic growth. Our research aims at creating sustained and beneficial commercial links between farmers, organizations, and buyers in diverse market contexts. In addition, we evaluate the impacts of improved market links on the livelihoods of rural women and men.

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Our Expert Groups

Gender Analysis


Involving both male and female farmers is essential to improving agricultural research. We work on reducing gender inequalities especially in terms of access to resources and information, so that both women and men can better adapt to climate change. Visit our section on Gender Equity to know more on gender research at CIAT and within the CGIAR.

Impact and Strategic Studies


In order to maximize the impact and returns on investments made in DAPA’s agricultural research and development activities, we do  ex-ante (before) and ex-post (after) analysis of our projects. This increases our understanding of external socio-economic environments and  allows us to better target future research, as well as using resources more efficiently, continously improve our methodologies, and increasingly incorporate the interests of the poor into the design and implementation of research and development projects.

Big Data and Data Management


We explore novel means to collect, analyze, and disseminate data from diverse sources in response to some of the most intractable questions of agricultural development. Our work also helps create the enabling environment for the implementation of our Open Access policy.

Spatial and Agricultural Modeling


We develop state-of-the art data analysis and modeling methodologies that illuminate the response of agro-ecosystems to diverse environmental conditions. We work especially on four inter-related types of modeling – crop, climate, economic, and ecosystem – in order to understand how climate conditions influence crops and crop yields, and provide recommendations to improve management practices and decision making, taking into account key economic factors.

Policy Analysis

policy-analysisAll our work is policy oriented, and so we systematically learn about how to effectively influence, and use policy analysis as a tool for generating new knowledge about what works well, where and when.  Ex-ante and ex-post assessment of specific policies help us provide decision makers with evidence to make more informed decisions.