Recruitment of participants will be carried out by The Small and Micro Enterprise Promotion Service (SMEPS). SMEPS will first work with local authorities to identify areas that would be suitable for the project. Then, SMEPS will identify eligible wells and eligible smallholder farmers connected to each eligible well through their selection criteria. The criteria for eligibility of wells will be as follows: i) the well owner has not received any kind of similar support in agriculture, ii) the well owner is providing water for agriculture to 5-9 smallholder farmers, iii) the well is permanent and its water productivity is greater than smallholder farmers’ needs, iv) the depth of the well does not exceed 150 meters, and v) the well owner is willing to pay the 20% financial contribution to install solar panels and solar-powered water pump. Upon identifying eligible wells, SMEPS will identify eligible farmers connected to each eligible well. The eligibility criteria for smallholder farmers will be: i) the smallholder farmer should be a practicing farmer, i.e., planning to grow horticultural products in September 2023 planting season, ii) the smallholder farmer should own 0.25-2 hectares of agricultural land, iii) the smallholder farmer should be supported by the eligible well, with a water transmission network from the irrigation source (from the well to the farm), and iv) the smallholder farmer should be willing to work, contribute, and commit during the season and duration of the project.
Using the list of all eligible wells, we will randomly select and assign wells in the following way: i) 16 wells (8 shallow wells below 40 meters, and 8 deep wells above 40 meters) will be randomly assigned to treatment group, and ii) 25 wells will be randomly assigned to control group, out of which we will then assign 5 wells closest to the treatment wells to spillover group. The smallholder farmers that are connected to randomly selected wells will be enrolled in the study. The assignment of these farmers to treatment, control, and spillover group will match the random assignment of wells, i.e., smallholder farmers connected to a treatment well will be assigned to treatment group, smallholder farmers connected to a control well will be assigned to control group, and smallholder farmers connected to a spillover well will be assigned to spillover group.
The intervention will be implemented by SMEPS through connecting well owners and smallholder farmers to input suppliers. More specifically, SMEPS consultants will determine well owners’ and smallholder farmers’ needs, collect prices from local markets, analyze price offers, prepare and deliver acceptance letters to suppliers, receive and inspect the inputs, install and test the inputs, complete authorization process and disburse funds to the suppliers. Additionally, SMEPS will conduct a set of trainings to the well owners and smallholder farmers on sustainable irrigation and farming practices. Interaction Consultancy will carry out two rounds of data collection for the study consisting of baseline and endline surveys. All well owners and smallholder farmers assigned to control and spillover groups will be surveyed at the same interval as treatment well owners and smallholder farmers but will not receive financial grants nor technical training.