Assistant Professor of Economics, Amherst College
Assistant Professor of Economics at Williams College
Senior Scientist at International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center
Photo Credit: Adobe Stock
In many low- and middle-income countries, small-scale farmers still lack access to essential inputs and services they need to improve their farm productivity. Concurrently, climate change is expected to exacerbate existing challenges faced by small-scale farmers, such as managing rainfed agricultural systems and responding to the spread of pest and plant diseases. As managers of high-risk production, small-scale farmers need information on seasonal and intra-seasonal climate conditions, access to credit and quality farm inputs, and linkages to output markets to make profitable and well-informed decisions.
In Ethiopia, a public and private partnership was established in 2019 between the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, Lersha, and government institutions to deliver agro-climate advice bundled with complementary services to more than 100,000 small-scale farmers. Through this service, farmers access farm inputs, hire mechanization services, and/or receive tailored agro-climate advice (advisory services) through a digital platform, call center, or in-person agents stationed across the service area. This pilot study aims to understand take-up of the service and will investigate whether bundling agro-climate advisory with other agricultural services improves the impact of the intervention and how the impact of bundled and unbundled agro-climate advisories varies by gender, age, geography, and farm type.
Researchers will test the take-up and effectiveness of these agro-climate advisory services offered alone and combined with complementary interventions on small-scale farmer decision-making, productivity, income, and resilience. Researchers will survey farmers to understand changes in their farming practices (e.g., the timing of planting, choices of suitable inputs) as well as changes in productivity and well-being. The take-up results of the study will inform a future randomized evaluation and provide insight into the value of bundling digital services to address multiple constraints faced by small-scale farmers.
This pilot is ongoing, and results findings are forthcoming.