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The effect of demonstration plots and the warehouse receipt system on ISFM adoption, yield and income of smallholder farmers: a study from Malawi’s Anchor Farms
Last registered on August 23, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
The effect of demonstration plots and the warehouse receipt system on ISFM adoption, yield and income of smallholder farmers: a study from Malawi’s Anchor Farms
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0001816
Initial registration date
November 30, 2016
Last updated
August 23, 2019 10:21 AM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Sussex University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2014-07-01
End date
2020-01-01
Secondary IDs
Abstract
The Anchor Farm Model (AFM) of Clinton Development Initiatives (CDI) was established in 2008, and is designed to increase agricultural production, income and food security through promotion of the adoption of yield-enhancing integrated soil fertility management practices (ISFM) - and soybean production in particular - by smallholder farmers in central Malawi. To reach this goal, CDI disseminates production knowledge and improves farmers’ access to markets and storage. In this research study, we use the random assignment of 250 villages into various treatment arms to establish the impacts of these interventions on farmers’ welfare. Using detailed panel data, we identify the channels through which impacts take place and explore heterogeneity across households. The latter allows us to draw lessons for SSA with the goal of increase ISFM adoption across the continent.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Maertens, Annemie and Hope Michelson. 2019. "The effect of demonstration plots and the warehouse receipt system on ISFM adoption, yield and income of smallholder farmers: a study from Malawi’s Anchor Farms." AEA RCT Registry. August 23. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.1816-4.1.
Former Citation
Maertens, Annemie and Hope Michelson. 2019. "The effect of demonstration plots and the warehouse receipt system on ISFM adoption, yield and income of smallholder farmers: a study from Malawi’s Anchor Farms." AEA RCT Registry. August 23. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/1816/history/52218.
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
The Anchor Farm Model (AFM) of the Clinton Development Initiative (CDI) aims to increase agricultural production, income and food security through adoption of Integrated Soil Fertility Management practices (ISFM) - and soybean production in particular - by smallholder farmers in Malawi. To reach this goal: (i) CDI disseminates production knowledge through the use of demonstration plots, lead farmers and farmer field days; (ii) CDI improves farmers’ access to input markets, in particular credit and seed markets through CDI’s contract with seed companies and intermediary role in the credit market; (iii) CDI provides access to structured output markets through its established relationship with international soybean buyers. CDI primarily works with farmers in groups, organizing farmers into clubs of 10 to 20 members. Each club elects a leader who is provided with inputs and trained at the AF in soy production, ISFM techniques, postharvest practices and receives information on commodity markets. CDI aims to scale-up this project across the country. In this scale-up, CDI aims at both improving the current set of interventions as well as adding new interventions.
Intervention Start Date
2014-09-01
Intervention End Date
2018-09-01
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Income (agricultural), yield (of maize, soy and groundnut), adoption of integrated fertility and soil management practices and knowledge and beliefs
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We use a Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT) to evaluate the impacts of AFM’s access to credit-based demonstration plots and warehouse receipt system. In Fall 2014, we selected two Extension Planning Areas which had not been covered by CDI before: Mthumtama in Kasungu district and Chibvala in Dowa district. We randomly selected 250 villages out of 303 villages present in these two EPAs (excluding villages with less than 50 farming households) and randomly assigned these villages into a treatment and a control group. Villages in the treatment group were exposed to CDI’s extension activities during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 agricultural season. In 2016, we – again randomly – subdivided the villages in the treatment group into two groups. Only one group will be exposed to CDI’s marketing and storage activities throughout the next two seasons. We evaluate the effects of the CDI interventions midway – in 2016 – and at the end – in 2019.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Village
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
250
Sample size: planned number of observations
2500
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
65
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
University of Illinois
IRB Approval Date
2014-08-31
IRB Approval Number
14914