One Size Fits All? Experimental Evidence on the Digital Delivery of Personalized Extension Advice in Nigeria
44 Pages Posted: 3 Jun 2020 Last revised: 30 Sep 2020
Date Written: April 1, 2020
Blanket advice on optimal fertilizer application rates has failed to achieve potential yield gains for crop production in much of Sub-Saharan Africa. However, digital technology now makes it possible to deliver personalized extension services to farmers at a much lower cost. We present results from a randomized control trial designed to evaluate the effectiveness of a mobile application (or app) that provides personalized advice on rice nutrient management. We find that households who were only given personalized advice increase their yield by seven percent and increase their profit by 10 percent. We show that, on average, personalized advice increases yields without increasing the overall quantity of fertilizer used. We conclude that the scaling of personalized extension services could improve productivity and livelihoods in Sub-Saharan Africa without necessarily increasing the total amount of fertilizer in use.
Keywords: information interventions, extension, information and communication technology, decision support tools, RiceAdvice
JEL Classification: C93, D24, O33, Q16
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