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The impact of mobile phone voice message reminders on agricultural outcomes in Mali

Fred Mawunyo Dzanku, Robert Osei () and Isaac Osei‐Akoto

Agricultural Economics, 2021, vol. 52, issue 5, 789-806

Abstract: Based on theories of learning that suggest that repetition is important for knowledge retention and application, this article hypothesized that sending farmers reminders about cereal management information received during face‐to‐face training has impact on the adoption of recommended practices and related agricultural outcomes over and above what could be realized after receiving training alone. We provide a test of this hypothesis using a randomized controlled trial in Sikasso, Mali. Farmers in 99 villages received face‐to‐face training, after which 44 villages received mobile phone voice messages that reinforced the training recommendations. This setup allowed us to evaluate the impact of the voice SMS reminders on selected indicators. Our results show that the reminders significantly induced timely harvesting, reduced on‐farm cereal losses, increased uptake of improved grain storage technology, and increased the likelihood of pre‐harvest sales contracting. However, we found no overwhelming evidence that the reminders increased yields, and no evidence of impact on revenues were detected. We draw lessons for development policy and practice.

Date: 2021
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