Social Learning in Agriculture: Does Smallholder Heterogeneity Impede Technology Diffusion in Sub-Saharan Africa?
85 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2020
Date Written: August 1, 2020
Evaluating a large-scale program for dairy farmers in Uganda, we show that a simple version of the “contact farmer” extension model can meaningfully increase smallholder farmers’ revenues. While the program provides no monetary incentives, we find evidence that two other ingredients – backstopping by professional extension agent and advertising pro-social motivation – reinforce its impacts. Though it has been hypothesized to be a major impediment to social learning in SubSaharan African agriculture, we do not find smallholder heterogeneity to condition the effectiveness of the approach: farmer trainers trained to take this heterogeneity into consideration do not perform better; moreover, we find no statistical evidence that program effects vary by farmers’ characteristics.
Keywords: Agricultural Productivity, extension, Heterogeneity, Livestock, Social learning
JEL Classification: O12, O13, O33, Q16
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