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Selective Trials for Agricultural Technology Adoption

Agriculture Kenya

Farmers may vary in their suitability as experimenters with new agricultural technologies. For example, farmers likely differ in their beliefs regarding the possible returns of the technology, in their willingness to take risks with an unknown product or process, and in their social skills and willingness to share information with others. Researchers are investigating how important these differences are when it comes to increasing the use of agricultural inputs, in this case irrigation pumps in western Kenya, and whether subsidies for experimentation can be targeted based on certain skills or traits (e.g. willingness to pay, or community vote) to more effectively increase technology adoption. The ongoing study will provide insight into the potential variation in impacts from pump adoption across different sub-groups of farmers, and how to effectively target based on impact. Initial results indicate that different mechanisms for selecting lead farmers lead to different levels of experimentation. Full results forthcoming.

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