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Finding Missing Markets (and a disturbing epilogue): Evidence from an Export Crop Adoption and Marketing Intervention in Kenya

  • Nava Ashraf

    ()

    (Harvard Business School and Jameel Poverty Action Lab)

  • Xavier Giné

    ()

    (The World Bank)

  • Dean Karlan

    ()

    (Economic Growth Center, Yale University)

Registered author(s):

    In much of the developing world, many farmers grow crops for local or personal consumption despite export options which appear to be more profitable. Thus many conjecture that one or several markets are missing. We report here on a randomized controlled trial conducted by DrumNet in Kenya that attempts to help farmers adopt and market export crops. DrumNet provides smallholder farmers with information about how to switch to export crops, makes in-kind loans for the purchase of the agricultural inputs, and provides marketing services by facilitating the transaction with exporters. The experimental evaluation design randomly assigns pre-existing farmer self-help groups to one of three groups: (1) a treatment group that receives all DrumNet services, (2) a treatment group that receives all DrumNet services except credit, or (3) a control group. After one year, DrumNet services led to an increase in production of export oriented crops and lower marketing costs; this translated into household income gains for new adopters. However, one year after the study ended, the exporter refused to continue buying the cash crops from the farmers because the conditions of the farms did not satisfy European export requirements. DrumNet collapsed in this region as farmers were forced to sell to middlemen and defaulted on their loans. The risk of such events may explain, at least partly, why many seemingly more profitable export crops are not adopted.

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    File URL: http://www.econ.yale.edu/growth_pdf/cdp967.pdf
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    Paper provided by Economic Growth Center, Yale University in its series Working Papers with number 967.

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    Length: 39 pages
    Date of creation: Dec 2008
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:egc:wpaper:967
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    1. Oriana Bandiera & Imran Rasul, 2006. "Social Networks and Technology Adoption in Northern Mozambique," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(514), pages 869-902, October.
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    5. Elizabeth M. M. Q. Farina & Thomas Reardon, 2000. "Agrifood Grades and Standards in the Extended Mercosur: Their Role in the Changing Agrifood System," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1170-1176.
    6. Okello, Julius Juma & Narrod, Clare & Roy, Devesh, 2007. "Food safety requirements in African green bean exports and their impact on small farmers:," IFPRI discussion papers 737, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    7. Foster, Andrew D & Rosenzweig, Mark R, 1995. "Learning by Doing and Learning from Others: Human Capital and Technical Change in Agriculture," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1176-1209, December.
    8. Anderson, Jock R. & Feder, Gershon, 2003. "Rural extension services," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2976, The World Bank.
    9. Timothy G. Conley & Christopher R. Udry, 2010. "Learning about a New Technology: Pineapple in Ghana," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(1), pages 35-69, March.
    10. Feder, Gershon & Just, Richard E & Zilberman, David, 1985. "Adoption of Agricultural Innovations in Developing Countries: A Survey," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(2), pages 255-98, January.
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