The impact of ICT-enabled extension campaign on farmers’ knowledge and management and management of fall armyworm in Uganda
Published: August, 2019
This study evaluates the unique and combined effects of three complementary ICT-based extension methods ― interactive radio, mobile SMS messages and village-based video screenings ― on farmers’ knowledge and management of fall armyworm (FAW), an invasive pest of maize that is threatening food security in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Building on a survey of maize farmers in western Uganda and using various selection-on-observables estimators, we find consistent evidence that participation in the ICT-based extension campaigns significantly increases farmers’ knowledge about FAW and stimulates the adoption of agricultural technologies and practices for the management of the pest. We also show that exposure to multiple campaign channels yields significantly higher outcomes than exposure to a single channel, with some evidence of additive effects. These results are robust to alternative estimators and also to hidden bias. Results further suggest that among the three ICT channels, radio has greater reach, video exerts a stronger impact on the outcome measures, and greater gains are achieved when video is complemented by radio. Our findings imply that complementary ICT-based extension campaigns (particularly those that allow both verbal and visual communication) hold great potential to improve farmers’ knowledge and trigger behavioural changes in the identification, monitoring and sustainable management of a new invasive pest, such as FAW.
Worldwide, over 500 million smallholder farmers provide food for two-thirds of the earth’s growing population. Achieving a zero hunger world by 2030 depends on increasing the productivity of these smallholder farmers – but their crops face a significant threat. Yearly, an estimated 40% of crops grown worldwide are lost to pests. If we could reduce crop losses by just 1%, we could potentially feed millions more people. The lack of access to timely, appropriate and actionable extension advice makes it a fundamental challenge for farmers to get the right information at the right time to reduce crop losses.
The global cost of invasive species is estimated at US$1.4 trillion per year – close to 5% of global gross domestic product. Invasives disproportionately affect vulnerable communities in poor rural areas, especially in developing countries which depend on natural resources, healthy ecosystems, trade and tourism for their livelihoods.
Start: 02/01/18 -End: 31/03/21