We use randomized controlled trials to measure the impact of mobile phone-based advisory services for farmers. Our initial evidence, some done before the formation of PAD, provides a proof of concept that mobile phone-based extension services can improve outcomes for farmers.
Evidence from India
Research shows that the introduction of a low-cost, mobile phone-based agricultural extension system among 1,200 farmers in the state of Gujarat had positive and significant effects on agricultural yields and efficient input use in cotton cultivation. As a result of using this service, farmers’ marginal net income increased by an estimated $100/year/farmer and yields rose by 8.6 percent for cotton and 28.0 percent for cumin, all at a cost of less than $10/year/farmer.
Yield increase for cotton
Yield increase for cumin
Evidence from Kenya
Research shows that sugar cane farmers working with Mumias Sugar Company who received agricultural advice via SMS experienced yield gains of 11.5 percent. By reporting delays in input deliveries through the phone system, interruptions in fertilizer distribution were reduced by 21.6 percent. In contrast to this trial, a follow-up trial had no significant impact on yields.
Yield increase for sugar cane
Decrease in input delivery delays