Impacts of redesigned Soil Health Cards on farmer comprehension of fertiliser-related information
Last registered on May 17, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Impacts of redesigned Soil Health Cards on farmer comprehension of fertiliser-related information
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004200
Initial registration date
May 13, 2019
Last updated
May 17, 2019 2:17 AM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
IDinsight
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
IDinsight
PI Affiliation
IDinsight
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2019-04-29
End date
2019-07-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
We will evaluate the short-term knowledge impacts of a communication-related intervention using an RCT in Uttar Pradesh, India. The intervention redesigns existing methods of communications for the Soil Health Card Scheme, a nation-wide agricultural scheme designed to provide farmers with crop-specific fertiliser recommendations based on local soil testing. We assigned two variations of the intervention: redesigned cards with mobile-based messages and only redesigned cards. The study is designed to evaluate the impact of the intervention on a primary outcome: knowledge of a crop-specific fertiliser recommendation. Ancillary outcomes include: intention to adopt fertiliser-best practices and interaction with communication material.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Adlakha, Raghav, Rupika Singh and William Thompson. 2019. "Impacts of redesigned Soil Health Cards on farmer comprehension of fertiliser-related information." AEA RCT Registry. May 17. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/4200/history/46660
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Indian agriculture faces a major problem of fertiliser misapplication. In many regions of the country, overall fertiliser application is extremely low, hurting agricultural productivity. In other regions, where overall fertiliser application is comparable to global trends, application is heavily skewed towards nitrogen-based fertilisers like urea, of which India is the second largest consumer in the world.
Fertiliser misapplication has led to reduction in long-term soil fertility and agricultural productivity for farmers. To solve this, the government of India launched the Soil Health Card Scheme, under which every farmer in India receives a customised set of crop-specific fertiliser recommendations that, if applied, would ensure the long-term productivity of their soil. These recommendations are printed onto cards, and distributed to farmers by agricultural extension workers, who are expected to explain the general purpose and recommendations of the card to farmers.
However, in a qualitative study conducted in 2018, we found that the card’s existing design is inscrutable to most farmers, inevitably leading to low adoption of the recommendations mentioned in it.
In this paper, we evaluate the impact of distributing redesigned, simplified versions of the card and supplementing in-person extension with mobile-based messages on farmers’ comprehension of fertiliser recommendations.

Intervention Start Date
2019-04-29
Intervention End Date
2019-05-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
1. Comprehension of communication materials: I.e, the rate at which farmers' are able to understand what is written in their soil health cards.
2. Stated intention to adopt recommendations: i.e, the rate at which farmers' report their intention to adopt the fertiliser recommendations written on their Soil health Cards.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Our key outcome is farmers’ comprehension of fertiliser recommendations.

Two major components of the comprehension will be tested:

1. The ability to calculate the quantity of fertiliser required in their field.

We will assess whether farmers can accurately calculate the recommended quantity of fertiliser that is to be applied in their plot. A single crop-specific recommendation will be selected, and the farmer will be asked to calculate how much of that specific fertiliser they are expected to apply in their field.

1. The ability to distinguish between different columns in the recommendations table.

In their Soil Health Cards, farmers are given two recommendation options, each with a different combination of fertilisers. Farmers can apply the more easily available of these two sets.
Thus, we will assess whether farmers can correctly interpret what the multiple options on the card represent through a categorical variable. They will be asked why multiple quantities of the same fertiliser are mentioned for the same crop. If their stated reason is that the different quantities are due to the two different options that have been provided (with either of the two quantities being accurate), we will consider that they have understood the purpose of the multiple columns. If they provide any other reason, their response will be recorded in text, and recoded after data collection is complete.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The evaluation is a three-arm RCT. The first arm (C) is the control arm, where farmers will receive Soil Health Cards with the pre-existing card design. The second arm (T1) is the card redesign arm, where farmers will receive redesigned Soil Health Cards. The third arm (T2) is the combined arm, where farmers will receive both the redesigned card and ICT messages. Our experimental design, thus, allows us to isolate different elements of the intervention.
We are first randomly assigning villages into treatment and control, with all sampled farmers in control villages being assigned to the C group. In the treatment villages, we randomly assign 50% of the farmers into the T1 group and 50% of the farmers into the T2 group.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomisation was done in office by a computer (using STATA code).
Randomization Unit
For the comparison between C (existing card design) and T1 (redesigned card): Village-level
For the comparison between T1 (redesigned card) and T2 (redesigned card and mobile-based messaging): Individual-level
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
68 villages
Sample size: planned number of observations
1530 households
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
34 villages control, 34 villages treatment

Within the 34 treatment villages, 50% of households in T1 and 50% in T2
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
10 percentage points
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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