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Impact Evaluation of Large-Scale Extension Activities on Agricultural Technology Adoption in Uganda
Initial registration date
October 23, 2019
October 23, 2019 10:42 AM EDT
International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
We evaluate the causal impact of large-scale extension demonstration activities on adoption of a new technology, a hermetic (airtight) grain storage bag, using a cluster-randomized trial in 48 villages among 1,200 smallholder maize and legume producers across Uganda. We find that two seasons post-intervention, the technology increased adoption propensity in treatment villages by 3.4 percentage points. This increase was larger and significant (nearly 17-percentage points) among households in treatment clusters who self-selected to participate in the extension activities.
Omotilewa, Oluwatoba and Jacob Ricker-Gilbert. 2019. "Impact Evaluation of Large-Scale Extension Activities on Agricultural Technology Adoption in Uganda." AEA RCT Registry. October 23.
Our treatment intervention trained farmers in treated villages on use of hermetic storage bags using open village demonstrations. The training comprised multiple stages: first, field technicians or extension agents, in collaboration with village leaders, identified and selected pilot farmers to supply grains to be stored in the bags for demonstration purposes. The grains were usually stored in the bags for 4-6 months. Thus, agents had to identify farmers who possessed enough grains and were willing to store or even “risk” their grains for the duration of the observation period. In general, the intervention was implemented shortly after harvest when grains were normally plentiful. Second, once the pilot farmers with enough grains available for storage were identified, the demonstration activities were announced publicly, and well in advance of the actual demonstration activities. All households in the treatment villages were invited to attend the demonstration activities regardless of whether they were sampled as part of the study or status in the village.
Third, demonstration activities then took place at an agreed upon location and time. These activities included trainings to understand how the technology works, how to properly fill up the bags with grains and seal them properly. In addition, participants were educated on potential benefits of the technology for price arbitrage and/or food security purposes, along with health benefits of the bags as an alternative to applying storage chemicals. Thereafter, the pilot farmers filled up their grains and sealed the bags as demonstrated. Fourth, there were follow-up visits during the storage months. These visits were to check if there were problems with the technology during the storage season. Finally, the agents and pilot farmers return upon agreed time and location (usually same location where the bags were filled up earlier) along with the rest of the members of the community to publicly view quality of the stored grains after 4-6 months in a ceremony called “opening-bag-ceremony” (OBC). During the OBC, smallholder farmers and villagers examined the grains stored in the hermetic bags for quality and judged the ability of the bags to preserve grains effectively in the absence of synthetic storage chemicals applied on grains stored.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Awareness and adoption status among participants (farming households).
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
We define adoption as “if a household purchased the technology from the commercial market conditional on being aware of it.”
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
After the baseline survey in 2014, treatment was assigned at the village level. Of the 48 baseline villages, ex-ante, 24 villages were assigned as treatment group to receive demonstration activities and information about hermetic storage technology. The remaining villages were assigned as control group and did not receive any demonstration activity. The minimum distance between any pair of treatment and control villages was 2km (but mostly between 10-50 km) to prevent crossovers or control village residents from participating in treatment demonstration activities within treatment villages. All households within the treatment villages received an open or public invitation to attend the demonstration activities—an intent-to-treat offer; but attending any of such activities was a choice made by the households. Therefore, attending a demonstration activity was not a completely random process as households could have self-selected into attendance. That is, some households in the treatment villages complied with the general offer of treatment but others did not. We address this partial compliance problem in later in our study.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization was done in office by a computer random number generator.
The unit of randomization was at Local Council 1 (LC1) level. LC1 is the lowest administrative unit in Uganda. It sometimes comprises more than 1 village but is largely synonymous with a village.
Was the treatment clustered?
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
24 control LC1s and 24 treatment LC1s.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
Purdue University Institutional Review Board (IRB)
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Post Trial Information
Is the intervention completed?
Intervention Completion Date
August 31, 2015, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Data Collection Completion Date
December 31, 2016, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
24 treatment LC1s and 30 control LC1s