Evaluation of an agricultural technology platform service in India

Last registered on May 24, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

Evaluation of an agricultural technology platform service in India
Initial registration date
May 20, 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 24, 2023, 4:43 PM EDT

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



Primary Investigator


Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
PI Affiliation

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Small-scale Producers (SSPs) across the developing world frequently lack access to reliable information and extension, crucial for prolonged increases in farm productivity and income. In regions such as South Asia, farmer land holdings are generally small, so that increasing SSP incomes requires sustainable augmentation of farm productivity. In the absence of opportunities to consolidate farm holdings, productivity increases and diversification into high value cash crops are widely regarded as key drivers of small farmer incomes. New forms of
extension using Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) coupled with remote sensing data have emerged as promising interventions that may help to sustainably increase farmer productivity and aid transition to higher value crops. This project aims to evaluate one such innovation in agricultural extension with the potential to improve efficiency and surplus for stakeholders - a proprietary digital platform that provide SSPs with farming advice and facilitate two-way communication to address farmer- and crop-specific concerns. Our
evaluation will study the impact of the introduction of this platform by one client on soybean farmers in Maharashtra, India. We use a stratified clustered randomized controlled trial with two arms, treatment and control, to assess impacts on our outcomes of interest, which include (among others) knowledge and adoption of recommended practices, information seeking, agricultural yields, costs and profits, prices and storage behavior. We also study spillover effects on farmers in the same areas who are not linked with the client, but who might benefit indirectly from this intervention. In addition, we conduct nested experiments relating to measurement error in survey data, recall bias and expectations.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Gautam, Aditi, Sudha Narayanan and Kalyani Raghunathan. 2023. "Evaluation of an agricultural technology platform service in India." AEA RCT Registry. May 24. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.11454-1.0
Sponsors & Partners

There is information in this trial unavailable to the public. Use the button below to request access.

Request Information
Experimental Details


The main intervention being studied is the rollout of digital platforms. First, a B2B platform to be used by the extension workers to provide timely information and to monitor farmer activities. Second, a B2B2C platform that will be downloaded onto the phones of farmers linked to the client-user, and will deliver information on weather, prices at various client purchase centers and soybean package of practices, while allowing farmers to use two-way communication to receive customized advice. These platforms will be introduced in a randomly selected set of villages where the client-user is active, enabling the use of statistical methods to attribute impact.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Primary Outcomes (end points)
1. Key outcomes for sustainable and conventional farmers
a. Knowledge and adoption of recommended agricultural practices
b. Information seeking behaviour (enabled by CropIn Connect’s farmer queries feature)
c. Yield, costs of production, profits
d. Storage, holding and sale timing or behaviour
e. Price realization, either because of improved linkages or enhanced output quality
f. Spillover effects – where other farmers not enrolled in the program approach CropIn
Connect users for advice
2. Key outcomes for farmers under the sustainable program
a. Uptake of required practices for certification
b. Progress through the three certification stages
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Outcome 1(a): knowledge will be constructed as a score based on a knowledge test that will
draw on the content of the agricultural package of practices.
Outcome 1(b): will be constructed based on the frequency and nature of the queries raised
through the farmer phone app
Outcome 1(f): will be constructed using the frequency and nature of the information/advice
farmers not enrolled in the program seek from users of the CropIn phone app

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We propose a stratified cluster randomization design at the village level. The strata are based on combinations of geography and village type based on composition of client registered farmers. The village represents the cluster and will be the level of randomization.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
300 villages, stratified into those that fall in the core area of operation of the CropIn client
(closer to processing centers etc) and those that fall in the periphery.
Sample size: planned number of observations
4500 farmers, including sustainable, conventional and spillover farmers.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
15 farmers per cluster
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
We use data from the Cost of Cultivation survey conducted by the Government of India; and restrict ourselves to soybean farmers from Maharashtra. With a cluster size of 10 and power of 0.8 we have the following estimates for the Minimum Detectable Impact: Outcome: A2, All actual expenses + Rent paid for leased-in land (INR) MDI = 3418.92 Outcome: C2, All actual expenses + Interest on owned capital assets + rental value of owned land/rent paid for leased-in land + imputed value of family labour (INR) MDI = 4267.49 Outcome: Net Profit (INR, using A2) MDI = 3079.42 Outcome: Yield (quintal/hectare) MDI = 1.19

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

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