Making Family Farmers more Productive: Evaluating the Brazilian Model in Senegal and Malawi
Last registered on August 19, 2014

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Making Family Farmers more Productive: Evaluating the Brazilian Model in Senegal and Malawi
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0000456
Initial registration date
August 19, 2014
Last updated
August 19, 2014 4:03 PM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
International Food Policy Research Institute
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
International Food Policy Research Institute
PI Affiliation
Williams College
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2014-06-02
End date
2015-09-07
Secondary IDs
Abstract
The impressive development of the Brazilian economy and the success of its government-run social programs, in particular those aimed at smallholder farmers, suggests that there is much to be learned from Brazil’s experience. In particular, Brazilian-style programs, modified to function in new locations, could have a significant impact on the well-being of smallholder, family farmers in various African contexts. The goal of this project is to implement and evaluate a modified version of one such program, a transfer program for extremely poor farmers called Fomento. The ultimate goal of Fomento is to provide extremely poor family farmers with the support needed to lift them from subsistence level farming to some level of commercial production.

This project will implement and evaluate a modified version of the Fomento program. Several different versions of the Fomento program will be tested to ultimately determine the most effective form of the program. This initial implementation and evaluation will be composed of two programs in two countries: Malawi and Senegal. The primary goal of this project is to test whether alleviating constraints facing small holder farmers can increase their production, and ultimately sell their production through commercial channels. Specifically, we will test two constraints: information and capital. Evaluations in both countries will examine and compare intensive agricultural extension and resource transfers intended for production.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Ambler, Kate, Alan de Brauw and Susan Godlonton. 2014. "Making Family Farmers more Productive: Evaluating the Brazilian Model in Senegal and Malawi." AEA RCT Registry. August 19. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/456/history/2530
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Intervention Start Date
2014-06-02
Intervention End Date
2015-05-30
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
production
investment and spending on agriculture
agricultural decision making
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The primary goal of this project is to test whether alleviating constraints facing small holder farmers can increase their production, and ultimately sell their production through commercial channels. Specifically, we test two constraints:
• Constraint 1 – Information: We hypothesize that many farmers lack knowledge that is keeping them from producing as efficiently as they could. This knowledge could be technical (for example what farming techniques are most effective, what crops are best suited to the farmer’s fields) or managerial (for example how to decide how much to invest in fertilizer, high quality seeds, etc).
• Constraint 2 – Capital: We hypothesize that farmers are restricted from making productive investments because they lack capital (and access to affordable credit).
Experimental Design Details
In Malawi, the evaluation will be conducted by comparing results among two cross-cutting randomization interventions. The first intervention is the information intervention: • Group 1 – Control: This group will receive no new services and their behavior will serve as a comparison. • Group 2 – Intensive agriculture extension: Farmers in this group will receive individualized information from experts on how to make their farms more productive. The experts will work with farmers to develop a plan. The exact nature of information provided will be developed with our partners and conditional on the context and the needs of the farmers. Comparison of this group to Group 1 will tell us if alleviation of the information constraint results in improved farmer outcomes. The second intervention is the provision of capital through different mechanisms to test the most appropriate modality of this production transfer: • Group 1 – Control: This group will receive no additional inputs nor any cash and their behavior will serve as a comparison. • Group 2 - Cash transfer: Farmers in this group will additionally receive a cash transfer in several installments that is intended to help them carry out the plan developed with the expert. • Group 3 – In-kind transfer: Farmers in this group will additionally receive an in-kind transfer of agricultural inputs that will help them carry out the plan developed with the expert. This in-kind transfer will be of equivalent size to the cash transfer made where inputs are priced at local market prices. Given the pilot nature of this study and the size of the study the interaction of the cross-cutting interventions is not of primary importance. Given group level assignment stratification is only possible at this level. We will stratify on district, age of group, and size of group. In Senegal, the evaluation will be conducted by comparing results across three randomized groups: o Group 1: Basic agricultural assessment only, developed with farmer and farmers' association. No extension services nor transfers provided. o Group 2: Basic agricultural assessment and extension plan developed with farmer and farmers' association, with extension services provided. o Group 3: Basic agricultural assessment and extension plan developed with farmer and farmers' association, with extension services provided, as well as a cash transfer to help farmers carry out the plan developed with the farmers' association.
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Malawi: randomized by farmer group (average size of 13 farmers)
Senegal: randomized by farmers' association "animateur" (farmers' association representative) (average number of 6 farmers/"animateur")
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Malawi: 120 farmer groups
Senegal: 109 "animateurs"
Sample size: planned number of observations
Malawi: 1560 farmers Senegal: 600 farmers
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Malawi:
•260 farmers (20 farmer groups). no new information services & no inputs (control)
•260 farmers (20 farmer groups). no new information services & cash transfers
•260 farmers (20 farmer groups). no new information services & in-kind transfer
•260 farmers (20 farmer groups). intensive agriculture extension & no inputs
•260 farmers (20 farmer groups). intensive agriculture extension & cash transfers
•260 farmers (20 farmer groups). intensive agriculture extension & in-kind transfers

Senegal:
o 200 farmers (37 "animateurs"). Basic agricultural assessment only
o 200 farmers (36 "animateurs"). Basic agricultural assessment & extension plan
o 200 farmers (36 "animateurs"). Basic agricultural assessment & extension plan & cash transfer
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Malawi: We will sample 13 individuals in 120 farmer groups registered with NASFAM in the Ntchisi and Dowa districts, yielding a total sample size of 1,560 individuals. Farmer groups range in size from 10 to 15, with an average size of approximately 13. The intraclass correlation coefficient varies considerably depending on the outcome of interest one is using. Using IHS 2010/11 data this ranges from 0.04 (amount of acreage dedicated to maize) to 0.24 (number of different crops). For agricultural productivity measures with a reasonably low correlation coefficient we will be able to detect reasonable effect sizes even in this pilot study that will help determine which interventions to focus on in future larger scale interventions. For all power calculations we assume a correlation coefficient of 0.05, power of 0.8, and a 5 percent significance level. For the intensive extension service treatments we are able to detect a standardized effect size of 0.18; for the production transfer modality treatments we are able to detect a standardized effect size of 0.22. We do not anticipate that take-up will be low given that the benefits to the farmers are substantial. Assuming compliance of 90 percent, the estimated standardized effect size is 0.28.
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
International Food Policy Research Institute
IRB Approval Date
2014-05-27
IRB Approval Number
2014-16-MTID-M
IRB Name
International Food Policy Research Institute
IRB Approval Date
2014-04-30
IRB Approval Number
2014-MTID-13-M
IRB Name
Comite National d'Ethique pour la Recherche en Sante
IRB Approval Date
2014-07-18
IRB Approval Number
0306
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers