How do farmers learn from extension services? Evidence from Malawi

Maertens, Annemie, Michelson, Hope and Nourani, Vesall (2021) How do farmers learn from extension services? Evidence from Malawi. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 103 (2). pp. 569-595. ISSN 0002-9092

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Though extension services have long since proved their value to agricultural production and farmer prosperity, their record in sub‐Saharan Africa has been mixed. To study the impact of such programs on farmers' learning about agricultural technologies, we implemented a quasi‐randomized controlled trial and collected detailed panel data among Malawian farmers. Based on those findings, we develop a two‐stage learning framework, in which farmers formulate yield expectations before deciding on how much effort to invest in learning about these processes. Using data centered on farmer beliefs, knowledge, and constraints, we find evidence that beliefs about potential yields hinge on first‐hand and local experience, and that these beliefs significantly impact learning efforts. Consistent with this, we find that farmers who participated in season‐long, farmer‐led demonstration plot cultivation plan to adopt more components of new multi‐component technology, compared to farmers who were invited to attend only field‐day events.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: University of Sussex Business School > Economics
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2020 06:50
Last Modified: 23 Feb 2022 13:00

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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
The Effect of Demonstration Plots and the Warehouse Receipt System on ISFM Adoption, yield and income of smallholder farmers: a study from Malawi’s farmsG1717INTERNATIONAL INITIATIVE FOR IMPACT EVALUATIONUnset