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VoxDev Features ATAI Research on Agricultural Extension and Information

Information services can substantially increase the productivity and profitability of smallholder farmers as long as certain criteria are met

Agricultural development remains the cornerstone of the fight against global poverty. Recently updated estimates indicate that just a one percentage increase in GDP related to agricultural income growth correlates to a 5.6% increase in the growth rate of expenditures in the poorest segments of society (Ligon and Sadoulet 2017). Despite this potential, some of the most essential components of farming systems – access to credit, insurance, or inputs – under-perform in the world’s poorest countries. For instance, farmers need timely and high-quality information to make important management decisions, like when to plant and sell, or which fertilizer to use. In sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, however, the traditional agricultural extension services designed to address these needs often face critical personnel shortages and offer recommendations that few farmers adopt (Coughlin 2006, BenYishay and Mobarak 2014, Glendenning et al. 2010, Beaman et al. 2015, Blair et al. 2013, Cuguara and Moder 2011, Kondylis et al. 2014, Waddington et al. 2014)…

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