The suitability of specific agricultural inputs, such as fertilizers, can be highly dependent on local agro-climatic conditions and soil characteristics. For example, the effectiveness of a particular type of fertilizer might depend on soil acidity or carbon content, which can greatly vary across areas. This makes information about optimal local agricultural practices potentially valuable to farmers. However, markets for information have been susceptible to failures and inefficiencies. Researchers will evaluate a mobile-based customized agricultural advice service that will provide smallholder maize farmers in Western Kenya with context-specific agricultural recommendations through their text messages to their mobile phones. The recommendations are based on soil test analyses conducted around each farmer’s location. Researchers will assess the impact of mobile phone-transmitted agricultural information on the adoption of locally relevant agricultural inputs and practices In addition, researchers will examine farmer engagement with information and will to measure differences in the degree of impact by farmers’ own valuation of the system.
This pilot is ongoing, and findings are forthcoming.