Evaluating Agricultural Training in Armenia
Last registered on December 07, 2013

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Evaluating Agricultural Training in Armenia
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0000162
Initial registration date
December 07, 2013
Last updated
December 07, 2013 1:09 AM EST
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Mathematica Policy Research
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2007-08-15
End date
2013-03-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Many foreign aid agencies fund large-scale agricultural training for farmers in developing countries, but little rigorous research has been conducted on whether these programs are effective. We used a clustered randomized controlled trial to estimate the effectiveness of a U.S. government-funded farmer training program that trained more than 50,000 farmers throughout Armenia. Three years after farmers received training, training did not increase household income or consumption. Training also did not affect mediating outcomes, such as adoption of agricultural practices or changes in cultivation of crops, which suggests that longer-term impacts are unlikely to materialize. Many farmers lacked the financial means to invest in the types of practices that were the focus of the curricula, and farmers were also often unwilling to try new crops that have higher up-front costs even if they are much more profitable in the long run. Our findings highlight the challenges that even a well-implemented training program has in spurring behavioral change among farmers and the challenges of providing effective services when foreign aid agencies prioritize having a large programmatic footprint. These challenges were central to the lack of impacts of this particular program but are underplayed when foreign aid agencies decide whether to fund agricultural training programs.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Fortson, Kenneth. 2013. "Evaluating Agricultural Training in Armenia." AEA RCT Registry. December 07. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/162/history/677
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Trained Armenian farmers (many of whom were subsistence farmers) in efficient irrigation methods, cultivation of higher-value crops, and new agricultural technologies.
Intervention Start Date
2007-10-01
Intervention End Date
2011-09-30
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Adoption of higher-value crops, adoption of new technologies, increased income and consumption
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Randomly assigned rural Armenian villages (or groups of small, neighboring villages) to a treatment group who were eligible for training immediately, a control group who were eligible for training 3 years later, or a non-research group who were eligible for training earlier but not included in the data collection. Random assignment was stratified by water user association (administrative units that manage irrigation systems for all communities in a given area). Household surveys were conducted at baseline and three years later (before the control group was eligible for training).
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization was conducted on a computer at a public event in Yerevan, Armenia.
Randomization Unit
Village (in some cases, small neighboring villages were grouped together)
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
189 villages (or grouped villages in some cases as described above)
Sample size: planned number of observations
3,547 households
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
112 villages treatment, 77 villages control
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
September 30, 2011, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
April 30, 2011, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
189 villages (or grouped villages as described previously)
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
No
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
3,547 households
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
112 treatment, 77 control
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
Yes

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Program Files
Program Files
Yes
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Abstract
Completion Date
October 19, 1912 12:00 AM +00:00
Url
http://mathematica-mpr.com/publications/PDFs/international/WtM_Training_Armenia.pdf
Relevant Papers
Abstract
Many foreign aid agencies fund large-scale agricultural training for farmers in developing countries, but little rigorous research has been conducted on whether these programs are effective. We used a clustered randomized controlled trial to estimate the effectiveness of a U.S. government-funded farmer training program that trained more than 50,000 farmers throughout Armenia. Three years after farmers received training, training did not increase household income or consumption. Training also did not affect mediating outcomes, such as adoption of agricultural practices or changes in cultivation of crops, which suggests that longer-term impacts are unlikely to materialize. Many farmers lacked the financial means to invest in the types of practices that were the focus of the curricula, and farmers were also often unwilling to try new crops that have higher up-front costs even if they are much more profitable in the long run. Our findings highlight the challenges that even a well-implemented training program has in spurring behavioral change among farmers and the challenges of providing effective services when foreign aid agencies prioritize having a large programmatic footprint. These challenges were central to the lack of impacts of this particular program but are underplayed when foreign aid agencies decide whether to fund agricultural training programs.
Citation
Blair, Randall, Kenneth Fortson, Joanne Lee, and Anu Rangarajan. "Should Foreign Aid Fund Agricultural Training? Evidence from Armenia." Princeton, NJ: Mathematica Policy Research, 2013.