Publication: Improving Technology Adoption in Agriculture through Extension Services : Evidence from Uruguay
This article evaluates whether cost-sharing public interventions are successful in promoting agricultural technology uptake by small and medium farmers, and whether these changes can affect yields. Our article contributes to the debate by providing empirical evidence, which is scarce in the literature, from a programme offering extension services to fruit producers in Uruguay. Using a unique panel data set, we estimate a fixed effects model for the impact of extension services on technology adoption and yields. We find evidence that the programme increased density of plantation. Once we address small sample issues, we also find some evidence of impact on the adoption of improved varieties. However, we find no evidence of impact on yields for the period under study. Although this lack of effects on yields could be due to the limited time frame of the evaluation and does not rule out effects on other measures of productivity, it may also indicate that the practices promoted by the programme are insufficient to induce a detectable impact on productivity and, consequently, sustainable benefits for the farmers. The study, therefore, confirms the need of including the design of impact evaluations in the policy design in order to properly consider the timing of all the potential effects and produce conclusive findings and precise recommendations.