Evaluating the Impact of Agricultural Cash Transfers to Maize Farmers: Experimental Evidence from Myanmar

Last registered on February 07, 2024


Trial Information

General Information

Evaluating the Impact of Agricultural Cash Transfers to Maize Farmers: Experimental Evidence from Myanmar
Initial registration date
May 11, 2023

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
May 17, 2023, 2:32 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
February 07, 2024, 8:18 AM EST

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.



Primary Investigator

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Michigan State University
PI Affiliation
Michigan State University
PI Affiliation
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Cracks are starting to form in Myanmar’s agri-food system as a result of the triple crises of COVID-19, military coup, and global price hikes in the aftermath of the Ukraine War. Rising transport costs and disruptions are widening gaps between producer and consumer prices, while early indicators of the 2022 monsoon harvest suggest likely declines in aggregate production, largely driven by decreased input (e.g., fertilizer) use among farmers following high global price increases resulting from the Ukraine War. Cash transfers to farmers have the potential to mitigate some of the impacts of rising input costs and increase production. Evidence from other contexts shows that cash transfers cause increases in crop incomes and increase market participation. Yet there remains a lot to learn about how to effectively design agricultural cash transfers, including what are relative benefits of large and small transfer amounts, and, perhaps most importantly, little research has been done to understand how to better design agricultural cash transfers in such highly uncertain contexts as is present in Myanmar now.

We propose to conduct a randomized controlled trial of an agricultural cash transfer program for maize farmers in Southern Shan where we will allocate cash to randomly selected farmers prior to the start of the planting season. Maize has been a remarkable story of resilience and growth despite widespread challenges since 2019. However, maize farmers use large quantities of purchased inputs (e.g., fertilizer, pesticides, and labor) with two thirds of them acquiring inputs on credit and are therefore exposed to rising global input prices. We will randomly assign farmers to either (1) a treatment arm receiving USD 100, or (2) a treatment arm receiving USD 400. The transfer will be made in equivalent local currency (Myanmar kyat). We will examine how the difference in the magnitude of cash transfer impact maize production and credit use as well as look at other (broader) impacts on food consumption, investment in productive assets and non-farm income. We will also understand the mechanisms through which any impacts on production are channeled by examining input use and expenditures, hired labor and services and hired-out labor.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Goeb, Joseph et al. 2024. "Evaluating the Impact of Agricultural Cash Transfers to Maize Farmers: Experimental Evidence from Myanmar." AEA RCT Registry. February 07. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.11012-2.0
Experimental Details


We will randomly assign farmers to either (1) a treatment arm receiving USD 100 (210,000 Myanmar Kyat), or (2) a treatment arm receiving USD 400 (840,000 Myanmar Kyat). The transfer will be made in Myanmar Kyat to the farmers. We will also provide a series of relevant extension information to all farmers via mobile messages.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Maize production (kg/ac), Credit liability (value of credit taken in for ag production)
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Food consumption score, Investment in productive assets, Non-farm income
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We follow a two-stage cluster randomized intervention design. In our selected study area, we will first identify a list of villages where there are maize farmers cultivating less than 6 acres of land. We will then randomly assign villages to one of the two treatment arms. Treatment arm 1 is a smaller cash transfer of USD 100; Treatment arm 2 is a larger cash transfer of USD 400. From these villages, we will compile a list of maize farmers who plan to cultivate maize in 6 acres or less in the upcoming monsoon season. From each village, we will randomly select eligible farmers from each village (cluster) using simple random sampling yielding a total of 390 households (195 per treatment arm).
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
30 villages
Sample size: planned number of observations
390 maize farmers
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
195 maize farmers (from 15 villages) in each treatment arm
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
The minimum detectable effect size for maize yields (our main outcome) using 2021 season data, is 0.22 kg/acre for our cluster randomized design.

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
International Food Policy Research Institute Institutional Review Board
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials