Focus on results is now a prominent part of the development agenda. Therefore, impact assessment has become indispensable components because donors and policymakers are increasingly demanding for evidence-based and measurable impacts. To generate evidence, experimental and quasi-experimental methods are applied in social science to assess robustly the impact of interventions (program, innovations, etc.). We designed a randomized control trial 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 (SSA) without necessarily increasing the total amount of fertilizer in use. Business models will be developed and tested for marketing and out-scaling of mobile application for personalized advice to smallholders’ farmers in SSA.
(co-authored with Jeffrey D. Michler, Wilfried G. Yergo and Kazuki Saito)