DP15220 Social learning in agriculture: does smallholder heterogeneity impede technology diffusion in Sub-Saharan Africa?
Evaluating a large-scale program for dairy farmers in Uganda, we show that a simple
version of the “contact farmer” extension model can meaningfully increase smallholder
farmers’ revenues. While the program provides no monetary incentives, we find evidence
that two other ingredients – backstopping by professional extension agent and advertising
pro-social motivation – reinforce its impacts. Though it has been hypothesized to be a major impediment to social learning in Sub-
Saharan African agriculture, we do not find smallholder heterogeneity to condition the
effectiveness of the approach: farmer trainers trained to take this heterogeneity into consideration
do not perform better; moreover, we find no statistical evidence that program
effects vary by farmers’ characteristics.