Harvesting the Rain: The Impact of Scaling-Up Rainwater Harvesting Techniques in Niger
In situ rainwater-harvesting (RWH) techniques have the potential to increase agricultural yields in the face of low and erratic rainfall, reversing land degradation and combatting desertification. We propose to study the scale-up of an intervention that has been shown to increase the adoption of RWH techniques in Niger, with relevance for most degraded land in the Sahel. A randomized evaluation conducted in Niger between 2018 and 2021 found that training alone was highly effective at increasing adoption. This, in turn, led to increases in agricultural revenue of around 0.14 s.d. up to three years after the initial training. This project will build upon the completed evaluation to scale the adoption of RWH techniques in Niger, with three distinct contributions relative to the completed work. First, it will focus on expanding the adoption of two techniques (demi-lunes and zai) that are appropriate for severely degraded soils in Niger. Second, it will assess the relative costs and benefits of using in-person versus remote sensing to monitor initial and sustained adoption. Third, it will investigate whether larger trainings, which are cheaper to implement, deliver similar adoption impacts.