Working Paper | HBS Working Paper Series | 2016

'Mobile'izing Agricultural Advice: Technology Adoption, Diffusion and Sustainability

by Shawn A. Cole and A. Nilesh Fernando

Abstract

We examine the role of management in agricultural productivity by evaluating a mobile-phone based agricultural advice service provided to farmers in India. Demand for advice is high, and advice changes practices, increasing yields in cumin (28%) and cotton (8.6% for a subgroup receiving reminders). Information spreads, as non-treated farmers with more treated peers change practices and lose less to pest attacks. Though willingness to pay for the service is low, the value of the information externality exceeds the subsidy that would be necessary to operate the service. We estimate each dollar spent on the service yields a $10 private return.

Keywords: technology adoption; agricultural extension; informational inefficiencies; Management Practices and Processes; Performance Productivity; Agribusiness; Mobile Technology; Agriculture and Agribusiness Industry; Gujarat;

Citation:

Cole, Shawn A., and A. Nilesh Fernando. "'Mobile'izing Agricultural Advice: Technology Adoption, Diffusion and Sustainability." Harvard Business School Working Paper, No. 13-047, November 2012. (Revised April 2016.)