Over a year ago, researchers at Harvard Business School and Centre for Microfinance launched a large-scale, long-term study on the impact of Awaaz.De on farmers in Gujarat. 1,200 farmers in two districts are participants in the study, with a treatment group having access to Avaaj Otalo and a control group not given access. Recently, lead researchers Shawn Cole and Nilesh Fernando published a working paper on the findings till date. The highlights:

  • Demand for agricultural advice is high, with more than half of farmers calling AO in the first seven months.
  • Farmers offered the service turn less often to other farmers and input sellers for agricultural advice.
  • There was an increase in the adoption of more effective pesticides and reduced expenditure on less effective and hazardous pesticides.
  • Treated farmers also sow a significantly larger quantity of cumin, a lucrative but risky crop.
  • Farmers appear willing to follow advice without understanding why the advice is correct: the average respondent does not demonstrate improved agricultural knowledge, though there is some evidence educated farmers learn from the service.

You can download the complete working paper here: http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/7150.html

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