Dario Schulz:
Experimental evidence on the impact of providing digital information to smallholder farmers in Haiti and El Salvador


Dario is currently pursuing his PhD at the chair of bioeconomy and sustainable land use at the institute for food and resource economics at the university of Bonn. His research interests are digital agriculture, natural resource management and empirical methods of impact evaluation. Within the Cluster of Excellence PhenoRob – Robotics and Phenotyping for Sustainable Crop Production, he assesses feasibility and impact of such technologies on a broader scale.

Presentation Abstract

Provision of information via information- and communication technologies is advocated as a promising mean to stimulate adoption of best management practices among farmers in developing countries. We conducted two randomized control trials and sent SMS (in Haiti) and WhatsApp multimedia messages (in El Salvador) containing farming recommendations to farmers participating in a non-governmental extension scheme. We estimated the impact on knowledge, practice adoption and selected productivity outcomes. Results indicate a small positive effect on knowledge (+0.1 standard deviations) during the follow-up one month after the intervention. The findings contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms through which information may lead to higher productivity and thereby support smallholder farmers in developing countries.

I would like to acknowledge the immense support by Santiago Mesa, Ashley Monsivais, Emmanuel Marseille, Robert Johnson, Mathias Sand and Jan Börner in planning and realizing the study. This work has been partially funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research  Foundation)  under  Germany’s  Excellence Strategy – EXC 2070 – 390732324.