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Examining the Adoption and Impact of Environment-Friendly Agricultural Practices through Randomized Promotion for Rice Farmers in Sri Lanka
Last registered on July 11, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Examining the Adoption and Impact of Environment-Friendly Agricultural Practices through Randomized Promotion for Rice Farmers in Sri Lanka
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004399
Initial registration date
July 10, 2019
Last updated
July 11, 2019 1:06 PM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Graduate School of International Cooperation Studies, Kobe University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Department of Agriculture, Sri Lanka; and Kobe University
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2019-07-02
End date
2020-03-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
This study aims to (1) unravel the (dis)incentives for rice farmers to adopt environment-friendly agricultural practices, and (2) evaluate the impact of the adoption of such techniques on rice production. To this end, we will conduct a randomized experiment in the North-Central Province in Sri Lanka.

The interventions in this study consist of three components: (a) a training session on environment-friendly farming practices (four practices), (b) subsidies for organic fertilizers (four levels), and (c) a study session on agro-pollution and health issues. Then, we divide farmers into five groups: those who receive [T1] (a) only; [T2] (a) and (b); [T3] (a) and (c); [T4] (c) only; and [C] a typical meeting that is unrelated to environment-friendly practices or agro-pollution. We randomize the treatment status at the village level (not the household level) to eliminate the spillover effect of the interventions. For each group, we will send invitations to 280 randomly selected farmers (35 farmers from eight villages) based on a two-stage cluster sampling, and have 1,400 farmers in total.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Abeysinghe, Buddhika and Takahiro Ito. 2019. "Examining the Adoption and Impact of Environment-Friendly Agricultural Practices through Randomized Promotion for Rice Farmers in Sri Lanka." AEA RCT Registry. July 11. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4399-1.0.
Former Citation
Abeysinghe, Buddhika and Takahiro Ito. 2019. "Examining the Adoption and Impact of Environment-Friendly Agricultural Practices through Randomized Promotion for Rice Farmers in Sri Lanka." AEA RCT Registry. July 11. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/4399/history/49834.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
The intervention in this study consists of three components: (a) a training session on environment-friendly farming practices (four practices), (b) subsidies for organic fertilizers (four levels), and (c) a study session on agro-pollution and health issues. The content of each treatment is as follows:

Treatment (a): We organize a 1-day training session on environment-friendly agricultural practices, such as (i) soil health improvement and conservation tillage, (ii) integrated weed management (IWM), (iii) integrated plant nutrient management (IPNM), and (iv) integrated pest management (IPM).

Treatment (b): We distribute a coupon for an organic-fertilizer subsidy. We provide four levels of subsidy: 500 LKR, 1,000 LKR, 1,500 LKR, and 2,000 LKR. (Village-level extension officers will be responsible for supervising whether the farmer applies organic fertilizers and paying the subsidy.)

Treatment (c): We organize a 1-day study session on agricultural pollution and related health issues.

We also conduct a placebo session for farmers in the control group:

Treatment (o): We hold a typical meeting that is unrelated to environment-friendly practices or agro-pollution.

Then, we have five groups with a combination of above treatments: farmers who receive [T1] treatment (a) only; [T2] treatments (a) and (b); [T3] treatments (a) and (c); [T4] treatment (c) only; and [C] the control treatment (o).

We organize all gatherings ourselves with the help of the Department of Agriculture. We also distribute a farm work record book to all selected farmers, which we will collect during the next visit (February and March in 2020).
Intervention Start Date
2019-07-08
Intervention End Date
2019-08-24
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
O1) Adoption of environment-friendly practices
O2) Timing and amount (costs) of pesticides and chemical fertilizers used
O3) Timing and amount (costs) of organic fertilizers used
O4) Rice production
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
O1) Environment-friendly practices: this study focuses on four practices: (i) soil health improvement and conservation tillage, (ii) integrated weed management (IWM), (iii) integrated plant nutrient management (IPNM), and (iv) integrated pest management (IPM). Based on the farm work record book, which we distribute and ask farmers to fill in, we measure the number of practices they employ and the fraction of the land they allocate to these four techniques.

O2) Based on the farm work record book, which we distribute and ask the farmers to complete, we measure the timing and amount (costs) of pesticides and chemical fertilizers used.

O3) Based on the farm work record book, which we distribute and ask the farmers to complete, we measure the timing and amount (costs) of organic fertilizers used.

O4) Based on the data from the crop cutting survey, which we will conduct in February and March in 2020, we measure rice production.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
O5) Adoption of environment risk minimizing/preventing practices
O6) Off-farm labor supply
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Q5) Several environment risk minimizing/preventing practices exist besides the four environment-friendly practices we introduce. This study focuses on the following three techniques: (i) the use of a drought tolerant variety, (ii) the use of a short age (two and half months) variety, (iii) reduction in the use of nitrogen fertilizer. Based on the farm work record book, which we distribute and ask farmers to complete, we measure the number of practices they employ and fraction of the land they devote to these three techniques.

O6) Information on the environmental risk on health may change farmers’ labor allocation decisions. We focus on off-farm labor supply, which we measure by (share of) hours devoted to off-farm activities, or a dummy for households who supply off-farm labor.
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
To select the 1,400 participants, we applied a two-stage random sampling design. In the first stage, we sampled eight villages randomly for each treatment/control group. We randomize the treatment status at the village level (not the household level) to eliminate the spillover effect of the interventions. In the second stage, we sampled 35 farm households in each village from the farmer’s registration list of the Department of Agrarian Services. Then, we sent out invitations to farmers to the training/study/placebo session, which we will hold in the village.

To assess the impact of the intervention, we will compare the treated farmers to the control farmers. As for those who do not participate in the assigned session (i.e., non-compliers), we will provide the session/coupon additionally by visiting non-participant households individually. Thus, our experiment is basically a pure randomized controlled trial and we will attempt to estimate the average treatment effect. If we have a non-negligible number of non-compliers who reject project participation (including the household survey), we also estimate the average treatment effect on the compliers to check the robustness of our estimates.

In the training/study/placebo session, the farmers will receive a printed manual on the content of the session (except the control farmers), a farm work record book to fill in the agronomic practices of paddy cultivation (an eight-page booklet worth 50LKR), as well as free tea and snacks (worth 60 LKR per person). Additionally, we will distribute an agricultural tool, worth about 900 LKR, for three farmers who we will select by lottery. In addition, when the farmers submit the farm work record book during the harvest season, they will receive 200 LKR. (These is basically compensation to the participants for the potential income they gave up by devoting their time to the project.)

In the subsidy program, we will provide four subsidy levels: 500 LKR, 1,000 LKR, 1,500 LKR, and 2,000 LKR per farmer to compensate for part of the costs of organic fertilizers used in the paddy fields. Our estimate of the minimum cost of organic fertilizers is 3000 LKR per acre. At the one-day training session, we will provide a coupon to farmers in the [T2] group, which indicates the subsidy amount assigned to the farmer. The coupon can be reissued, but is not transferable. Then, we will provide the money according to the coupon and certification by the village-level officers in the harvest season (February to March in 2020).

In the harvest season, we will also conduct a crop-cutting survey of all 1,400 farmers, for which they will receive 500 LKR for their support of and participation in the survey.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
We used a computer for the randomization. We chose the farmers (at the household level) based on a two-stage cluster random sampling, and farm households were from the farmer’s registration list of the Department of Agrarian Services.
Randomization Unit
Randomization was done at the village (cluster) level.
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
40
Sample size: planned number of observations
1,400
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
[T1] 8 villages (280 farmers) receive a training session on environment-friendly practices
[T2] 8 villages (280 farmers) receive a training session on environment-friendly practices and subsidies
[T3] 8 villages (280 farmers) receive a training session on environment-friendly practices and a study session on agro-pollution and health issues
[T4] 8 villages (280 farmers) receive a study session on agro-pollution and health issues
[C] 8 villages (280 farmers) do not receive either a training/study session or subsidies, but a placebo session
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