Scaling insect-based products for village poultry and home gardens in Kenya: A study protocol

Last registered on June 24, 2024


Trial Information

General Information

Scaling insect-based products for village poultry and home gardens in Kenya: A study protocol
Initial registration date
June 17, 2024

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
June 24, 2024, 2:04 PM EDT

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



Primary Investigator

International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
PI Affiliation
PI Affiliation
PI Affiliation

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
The promotion of insect farming as an agribusiness aims to enhance protein availability for animal feed and biofertilizers in crop production. While small-scale lab experiments indicate the significant economic potential of insect larvae for animal feed and frass fertilizer for crop production, there is a lack of empirical evidence on the impact of scaling these innovations at the farmers' level. This document outlines the pre-analysis plan for a clustered randomized controlled trial (RCT) that investigates the effects of scaling insect-based products within the context of village poultry and home gardens in Kenya. The study will involve 800 small-scale farmers (and 68 clusters) in Embu County who engage in poultry and vegetable production. These farmers will receive training on insect-based products, larvae for poultry feed, and insect-frass biofertilizer for vegetable farming. The primary scaling strategies involve educating farmers on the utilization of insect-based products in poultry and vegetable farming through formal training and partial subsidy for the insect-based products. While the training addresses technical know-how and information barriers, the subsidy aims to reduce risks and encourage subsequent adoption. A randomized controlled trial (RCT) design will be implemented to assess the impact of these interventions. All farmers will undergo training and then half of them will be randomly assigned to the subsidy treatment. A subset of farmers who will receive the subsidy treatment will also receive a nudging treatment using phone calls and SMS texts to address behavioural factors such as procrastination. The RCT design ensures a systematic and unbiased evaluation of the outcomes associated with each treatment, providing valuable insights into the effectiveness of the implemented strategies. This protocol document elucidates the study design, outcomes of interest, and the statistical approach for studying the impact of the interventions.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Abro, Zewdu et al. 2024. "Scaling insect-based products for village poultry and home gardens in Kenya: A study protocol." AEA RCT Registry. June 24.
Experimental Details


The project is designed to spur the growth of integrated poultry and vegetable farming. Specifically, the project promotes BSF larvae for poultry and vegetable production. BSF larvae is suitable for chicken feed, and it is rich in protein, energy, and micronutrients, containing 39-63% protein, 14-39% fat, and 5,282 kcal/kg of energy. These nutritional profile indicators suggest that BSF larvae have the potential to replace conventional protein feeds such as soybeans and fishmeal. The latter ones are expensive compared to BSF larvae. However, BSF larvae and the frass fertilizer are unknown to many farmers, and it is also in short supply. Scaling these products needs introducing them to farmers and providing adequate supply is an important step. The planned scaling strategies are training, subsidy and behavioral nudging.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
The key outcomes of interest are four: adoption of insect-based products, values of vegetable production, values of eggs and chicken meat production, and the dietary diversity score of mothers and children (less than 59 months).
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
The variable adoption of insect-based products will be the % of farmers adopting the insect-based products. To obtain the values of vegetable production, values of eggs and chicken meat production, we first directly ask the quantity of each vegetable and poultry products at baseline and end-line surveys using a structured questionnaire. Finally, using the current price of each product, we convert it to the values of production. These two outcome variables will likely have outliers, which will be winsorized at 5/95% level. The dietary diversity score will be the count of 12 food groups consumed by members of the households in the last 7 days. Like the other outcome variables, the dietary diversity score will be measured at the baseline and end-line surveys.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Our secondary outcome variable is women empowerment.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Women empowerment is measured by two indicators. Our first indicator is women’s access to household resources is the share of livestock personally or jointly owned by women within the household. This question will be captured directly from from the questionnaire on the share of livestock personally or owned by women within the household. Our second indicator of women empowerment is respondents’ belief on who should make six major decisions on poultry and vegetables production within the household (input use for poultry production, input use for vegetable production, vegetable variety choices, breed choices for poultry, earnings from poultry production, and earnings from vegetable production). For each major household decision, for example input use, we will ask respondents’ attitude if it is decided by 1=husband, 2=wife; and 3=both jointly. To generate the outcome variable, we add the responses for the six major decisions. This indicator will then have a minimum of 1 if all the six major decisions are made by the husband and maximum of 18 if all decided jointly.

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
This experiment will have the following treatment arms.
Arm 1. This group will receive training on integrated poultry and vegetable farming. They will be trained on the benefits of BSF larvae as poultry feed, and frass fertilizer for vegetable production. This is standard training with its curriculum and will be provided by experts in the field.
Arm 2. Farmers in this group receive Arm 1 and a subsidy for the purchase of BSF larvae and frass fertilizers. They are eligible for a 50 USD subsidy to purchase BSF larvae and frass fertilizer. After completing the training, farmers in this group will be informed about the subsidy through telephone. Arm 2 is subdivided into two sub-treatments.
Arm 2.1 will continue receiving the training and subsidy treatments.
Arm 2.2 receives not only the training and subsidy treatments but also nudging treatment using phone calls and SMS texts. These nudges aim to remind farmers of the inherent benefits of the technologies, fostering a proactive and timely approach to their implementation.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in the office by a computer.
Randomization Unit
The unit of randomization is village.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
68 villages
Sample size: planned number of observations
About 800 integrated poultry and vegetable farmers.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Arm 1: 34 villages (400 farmers)
Arm 2.1: 17 villages (200 farmers)
Arm 2.2: 17 villages (200 farmers)
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
The sample size was determined based on the available budget for the research.

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Institutional Animal Care and Use Committe of KALRO-Veterinary Research Institute
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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