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Lessons from orange sweetpotato saturation and thought leader experiments for promoting adoption in Uganda

 13 June 2017  – Dr. Dan Gilligan (IFPRI) held a webinar to present a study on lessons from orange sweetpotato saturation and thought leader experiments for promoting adoption in Uganda. The presentation was part of the SPHI Sweetpotato Seed Systems Community of Practice that was held from 13th to 14th June, 2017 at Colline Hotel, Uganda.




This study uses a randomized saturation experiment and influential technology promoters to test strategies to promote diffusion of two highly nutritious agricultural crop technologies in Uganda to measure which approaches are most cost-effective at achieving high adoption rates.  The crops are conventionally bred varieties of vitamin-A-rich orange sweet potato (OSP) and high-iron biofortified beans (HIB), distributed as an intervention to reduce vitamin A deficiency and anemia.  The experiment included four treatment arms: three levels of randomized saturation of households with the crop technologies (control-0%, low-20%, and high-50%) and a treatment in which opinion leaders in farming and health identified through an election were invited to promote the technologies.  Results show that being assigned to treatment in either the low or high saturation substantially increased the average probability of adopting the crops over the five seasons of the project and increased spillovers to neighboring households by 16-19%.  There was no difference in spillover effects between the high and low saturation treatments.  In addition, the low saturation treatment for high iron beans had a reinforcing effect on adoption by neighboring farmer group members who were also given access to the treatment, increasing their probability of adopting the crop by 14.9 percent in the last season of the project.  The opinion leader treatment led to no more diffusion of either technology than in the control group.


Dr. Daniel Gilligan is Deputy Director of IFPRI’s Poverty, Health and Nutrition Division. His research addresses the economics of household investments in childhood nutrition and education in developing countries, as well as the impact and cost-effectiveness of programs in social protection, agriculture and nutrition. Much of his research is based on experimental and quasi-experimental impact evaluations.  He is currently Lead Principal Investigator for an evaluation of the UNICEF Social Cash Transfer project providing social protection and nutrition interventions to poor households in Ethiopia and is Principal Investigator for an evaluation of the DFID-funded mNutrition mobile phone platforms providing nutrition information to farmers in Ghana and to pregnant and lactating women in Tanzania.  His research has been featured in The New York Times, the Economist, The Atlantic online, Christian Science Monitor and Voice of America, and in blog posts at the World Bank and The Guardian online.  He holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from University of Maryland.

About Christine Bukania

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