Improving seed selection and storage to increase yields among Ugandan potato growers
Last registered on June 13, 2017

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Improving seed selection and storage to increase yields among Ugandan potato growers
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0001014
Initial registration date
January 27, 2016
Last updated
June 13, 2017 3:08 PM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Ifpri
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
IITA
PI Affiliation
LICOS-KULEUVEN
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2016-02-15
End date
2017-05-10
Secondary IDs
Abstract
To spur sustainable intensification in potato growing in southwestern Uganda, previous research within PASIC has shown that it’s primarily a seed quality issue. While increasing access to potato seed derived from basic pathogen free starter seed should remain a key policy priority, existing seed systems may currently be too weak to be scaled up in a relatively short time. Therefore, small interventions aimed at increasing awareness about the importance of the quality of existing planting material, as well as increasing skills in selection and handling of seed material may be more cost effective. This view was share by IFDC-Catalyst, who have set up seed screen houses in a rather ad-hoc way. The hypothesis is also in line with previous research that identified knowledge gaps as a significant barrier to crop intensification methods more in general. This research will engage in action research on the (relative) effectiveness of providing information on how to select, store and handle planting material to improve potato seed quality. To do so, we will use a social experiment in the field that exposes farmers to short agricultural extension messages (for example through a short video) on how to select the best planting materials and on how to store and handle planting materials between the last harvest and the next planting season. The experiment will use a design that will enable us to also disentangle the effect of information on the selection of seeds from the effect of information on storage and handling.
Registration Citation
Citation
Asten, Piet, Bjorn Van Campenhout and Senne Vandevelde. 2017. "Improving seed selection and storage to increase yields among Ugandan potato growers." AEA RCT Registry. June 13. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/1014/history/18543
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
We will use a social experiment in the field that exposes farmers to short agricultural extension messages (for example through a short video) on how to select the best planting materials and on how to store and handle planting materials between the last harvest and the next planting season. The experiment will use a design that will enable us to also disentangle the effect of information on the selection of seeds from the effect of information on storage and handling.
Intervention Start Date
2016-04-01
Intervention End Date
2017-05-01
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
potato yield, household consumption expenditure.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
2X2 factorial design. About 100 households will receive information on how to select the best planting materials from the previous harvest. About 100 households will receive information on how to store and handle planting materials between the last harvest and the next planting period. This will be done in such a way that there are 50 households that receive both types of information and 50 households that do not receive any information at all (a control group).
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
We have access to baseline data. Randomization will be done on a computer after bloc matching. An algorithm was developed to perform a hierarchical clustering in groups of equal cluster size using nearest neighbor matching. The algorithm also tries to maximize distance between households within each cluster (based on GPS coordinates) to minimize spillover effects. We have used the following cluster variables: household size, age of household head, average productivity of potato, gender of household head, total area of potato cultivation , consumption per capita, distance to input distributor, amount of credit received in the last year and whether the household had access to extension for potato growing. The algorithm can be found here (http://is.gd/ZGP3cF), the script that generates the randomization here (http://is.gd/fmfgCm) and the allocation of treatment here (http://is.gd/1FfWIW). The last is also uploaded as supporting materials to this registration.
Randomization Unit
household level: potato growing farm households in eastern uganda
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
200
Sample size: planned number of observations
200
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
200
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
The agronomy survey suggests an increase in yields from about 4.5 tons/ha to 14 tons/ha. Power calculations to detect ¼ th of such an effect suggests we need about 94 observations in each treatment arm. We therefor propose to run an experiment that involves about 200 observations in a 2x2 factorial design. In such a design, about 100 households will receive information on how to select the best planting materials from the previous harvest. About 100 households will receive information on how to store and handle planting materials between the last harvest and the next planting period. This will be done in such a way that there are 50 households that receive both types of information and 50 households that do not receive any information at all (a control group).
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
IFPRI IRB #00007490 FWA #00005121
IRB Approval Date
2016-02-26
IRB Approval Number
2016-12-DSGD-M
Analysis Plan
Analysis Plan Documents
pap

MD5: 29018654dcc1251de9c779e2df4f5dc8

SHA1: ba234146244b792c1d81496100ae603f0b242163

Uploaded At: April 22, 2016

Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
May 01, 2016, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
May 01, 2017, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
246
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
No
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
246
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
246
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
Yes

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Request Information
Program Files
Program Files
No
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers
Abstract
To feed a growing population, agricultural productivity needs to increase dramatically. Agricultural extension information, with its public, non-rival nature, is generally undersupplied, and public provision remains challenging. In this study, simple agricultural extension video messages, delivered through Android tablets, were tested in the field to determine if they increased farmers’ knowledge of recommended practices on (i) potato seed selection and (ii) seed storage and handling among a sample of potato farmers in southwestern Uganda. Using a field experiment with ex ante matching in a factorial design, it was established that showing agricultural extension videos significantly increased farmers’ knowledge. However, results suggested impact pathways that went beyond simply replicating what was shown in the video. Video messages may have triggered a process of abstraction, whereby farmers applied insights gained in one context to a different context.
Citation
Van Campenhout B, Vandevelde S, Walukano W, Van Asten P (2017) Agricultural Extension Messages Using Video on Portable Devices Increased Knowledge about Seed Selection, Storage and Handling among Smallholder Potato Farmers in Southwestern Uganda. PLoS ONE 12(1): e0169557. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0169557