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Finding Missing Markets: An Agricultural Brokerage Intervention in Kenya
Last registered on December 12, 2016


Trial Information
General Information
Finding Missing Markets: An Agricultural Brokerage Intervention in Kenya
Initial registration date
December 12, 2016
Last updated
December 12, 2016 4:12 PM EST
Primary Investigator
Northwestern University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
London School of Economics
PI Affiliation
World Bank
Additional Trial Information
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Farmers may grow crops for local consumption despite more profitable export options. DrumNet, a Kenyan NGO that helps small farmers adopt and market export crops, conducted a randomized trial to evaluate its impact. DrumNet services increased production of export crops and lowered marketing costs, leading to a 32% income gain for new adopters. The services collapsed one year later when the exporter stopped buying from DrumNet because farmers could not meet new EU production requirements. Farmers sold to other middlemen and defaulted on their loans from DrumNet. Such experiences may explain why farmers are less likely to adopt export crops.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Ashraf, Nava, Xavier Gine and Dean Karlan. 2016. "Finding Missing Markets: An Agricultural Brokerage Intervention in Kenya." AEA RCT Registry. December 12. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.1812-1.0.
Former Citation
Ashraf, Nava et al. 2016. "Finding Missing Markets: An Agricultural Brokerage Intervention in Kenya." AEA RCT Registry. December 12. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/1812/history/12381.
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Experimental Details
All individuals in the treatment groups received a four-week orientation course, which explained the financing and selling process, and good agricultural practices. In addition, all treatment individuals opened a personal savings account with a local commercial bank to accommodate possible future business transactions. Individuals in the "Treatment-Credit" group also contributed the equivalent of a week's labor wages to an insurance fund, which would serve as partial collateral for a line of credit. After being organized into groups of five, which were jointly liable for individual loans taken out, individuals in the Treatment-Credit group received an in-kind loan from a local agriculture supply store. Individuals in a "Treatment-NoCredit" group received the same DrumNet package, only without the opportunity for credit. At harvest time, for individuals in both treatment groups, DrumNet negotiated prices with an exporter and arranged a produce pickup. Once the produce was delivered to the exporter, the exporter payed DrumNet who, after deducting any loan repayments, credited the remainder to the individual savings accounts that each farmer opened when they registered.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Decision to participate in DrumNet, Growing of an export crop, Income, Participation in the formal financial sector, Profitability of DrumNet
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We conduct a clustered randomized control trial with DrumNet, a project of Pride Africa, to evaluate whether a package of services can help farmers adopt, finance and market export crops, and thus make more income. DrumNet tries to convince both farmers and exporters that the other party will honor their commitment. The intervention is a package of services. Our research design allows us to distinguish the causal effect from providing agricultural credit along with the package, versus simply providing extension and marketing services without credit. Thus, the experimental design includes two treatments, one with credit and one without, and a control group. In addition to evaluating the impact of these packages, we examine whether there are heterogeneous treatment effects on the basis of prior experience growing export crops.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization Unit
Self-help group (SHG)
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
36 SHGs
Sample size: planned number of observations
1,117 farmers
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Treatment-Credit: 12 SHGs, 373 farmers
Treatment-NoCredit: 12 SHGs, 377 farmers
Control: 12 SHGs, 367 farmers
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Is the intervention completed?
Intervention Completion Date
September 30, 2004, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Data Collection Completion Date
May 31, 2005, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
36 SHGs
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
956 farmers
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
Treatment-Credit: 12 SHGs, 316 farmers Treatment-NoCredit: 12 SHGs, 337 farmers Control: 12 SHGs, 303 farmers
Reports, Papers & Other Materials
Relevant Paper(s)
Finding Missing Markets (and a Disturbing Epilogue): Evidence from an Export Crop Adoption and Marketing Intervention in Kenya
Ashraf, Nava, Xavier Giné, and Dean Karlan. 2009. "Finding Missing Markets (and a Disturbing Epilogue): Evidence from an Export Crop Adoption and Marketing Intervention in Kenya." American Journal of Agricultural Economics 91(4): 973-90.