Achieving development impact with complementary stress-resistant seed & financial technologies (Tanzania)
Last registered on March 09, 2018

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Achieving development impact with complementary stress-resistant seed & financial technologies (Tanzania)
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0002702
Initial registration date
March 09, 2018
Last updated
March 09, 2018 6:03 PM EST
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
UC Davis ARE
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of California, Davis
PI Affiliation
University of California, Davis
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2015-04-01
End date
2018-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Seasonal weather fluctuations directly and dramatically shape rural household welfare in developing countries. With climate projections of more severe and more frequent extreme weather events, this vulnerability will likely remain central to global poverty concerns and policy debates for the coming decades. In many contexts, drought presents a major weather risk, and drought tolerant crop varieties have thus attracted widespread attention. Index insurance has garnered similar enthusiasm as an instrument for reducing producers' vulnerability to weather. In many rainfed agricultural settings, neither technological innovation in drought tolerance nor financial innovation in index insurance is sufficient in isolation - and that the true potential of either to reduce household vulnerability might only be tapped when bundled with the other. In isolation, drought tolerant crops may protect against moderate drought but leave farmers' exposure to extreme drought risk virtually unchanged. While drought index insurance may provide more complete protection against drought, rural households may be unwilling to pay actuarially fair prices to access this insurance. Proper bundling of the two may help resolve this conundrum by leveraging complementarities between the two types of innovation.

To evaluate the returns to this bundle of technologies, we conduct a randomized control trial with maize farmers in Tanzania beginning in 2015 and lasting three maize cropping seasons, through 2018. The intervention facilitates access to drought-tolerant maize seed, as a standalone product and bundled with satellite-based index insurance. Working in cooperation with local seed and insurance companies, these technologies were marketed in a randomly selected set of communities in Tanzania. The goal of the intervention is to evaluate the impact of access to the standalone and bundled technologies on household welfare and agricultural outcomes.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Carter, Michael, Travis Lybbert and Laura Paul. 2018. "Achieving development impact with complementary stress-resistant seed & financial technologies (Tanzania)." AEA RCT Registry. March 09. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2702/history/26471
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Drought tolerant maize and satellite-based index insurance were marketed in a randomly selected set of communities in Tanzania. In one set of communities, the drought tolerant maize was sold as a stand-alone product. In the other set of communities, the two technologies, drought tolerant maize and index insurance were bundled. The remaining communities received no marketing of either technology. This intervention was done in cooperation with Tanzanian seed companies, an insurance company, the Tanzanian Extension offices and District Agricultural and Irrigation Commission, and the Tanzanian Agricultural Research Institutes.
Intervention Start Date
2015-08-01
Intervention End Date
2018-12-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Agricultural Investment; Household Welfare
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Agricultural investment:
-agricultural expenditure: money spent on seed and chemical fertilizer
-area planted in maize

Household welfare:
-consumption: constructed from 30 day and 12 month household non-food expenditure, 7 day food consumption recall, and community-level and district level price data
-food security: frequency of experiencing food insecure events
-dietary diversity: constructed according to "Guidelines for measuring household and individual dietary diversity" (FAO 2010)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Adoption rates of improved seed and fertilizer;
Agricultural practices (crop portfolio decisions, intercropping, planting practices, fertilizer use);
Household consumption (food and non-food)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
In collaboration with the seed companies and Tanzanian extension program, we selected six maize-growing districts in Tanzania which have high drought prevalence. We then match all candidate villages into groups of three (triad) based on agro-ecological characteristics. Using Stata, we randomly select five triads per district. Randomly assign treatment status within triad. Randomly select household from village-level roster.

In the first year (2015-2016), treatment was uniform across both treatment arms: an intensive information and marketing campaign for drought-tolerant maize varieties. In addition to providing small packs (100 grams) of seeds to households in treatment villages, we will provide trial packs (two kilograms) to farmers randomly selected to be study participants. In the second and third years (2016-2018), treatment was split between two arms. In one group of communities, the marketing campaign for drought-tolerant maize varieties was continued, and seeds were made available to a village seller. In the other group of treatment communities, seeds sold were bundled with a satellite based index insurance.

The insurance product premium was 20% of the price of the seed and covered the replacement of the seed in the case of insurance payout. The insurance is indexed on precipitation and area yields and has two triggers. The first trigger is determined by rainfall in the forty days following planting. The second trigger is area maize yields estimated using NDVI.

The insurance was offered by UAP Insurance. Partner seed companies collected lists of farmers purchasing insured seed and provided these farmers with vouchers indicating their use of insured seed. The partner seed companies then remitted the insurance premiums to UAP Insurance. In the event of an insurance payment, the seed company would replace farmers' seed for the following planting season.

It is not necessary for farmers to report drought losses nor for the insurance company to send a claims adjuster to verify losses because the insurance is based on an area level index, not individual outcomes. The indices were monitored by the research team, which provided them to the insurance company. Results of the indices were communicated to farmers through community leaders.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office using Stata software
Randomization Unit
Level 1: Groups of three villages (triads)
Level 2: Farmer
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
30
Sample size: planned number of observations
1800
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
600 control, 600 drought tolerant maize only, 600 bundle of drought tolerant maize and index insurance
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Institutional Review Board Administration, University of California, Davis
IRB Approval Date
2016-05-27
IRB Approval Number
905584-1