Ucat coffee
Case study

Large-scale RCT of a coffee agronomy training program in Uganda

Data collection and research support for an impact evaluation of 12,000 coffee farming households in Uganda

Challenge

Uganda is one of the world’s top Robusta coffee producers with an estimated 1.8 million smallholders growing coffee. This is one of the largest populations of coffee farmers worldwide. At the same time, coffee yields in Uganda are among the lowest in the world with many growers living in poverty.

The Uganda Coffee Agronomy Training (UCAT) program aims to support farmers to improve their coffee yields through a large-scale coffee agronomy training program. The program, implemented by the Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung (HRNS) and TechnoServe, will train approximately 60,000 farmers in Uganda over four years.

About 12,000 of these farmers from six districts (Kibaale, Kagadi, Kyenjojo, Sheema, Mbarara and Ntungamo) have been randomly selected to participate in a randomized controlled trial (RCT) evaluation. The evaluation, led by researchers from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Harvard University, will measure the impact of agronomy training on coffee yields. The RCT includes 360 treatment and 360 control villages.

Innovation

Laterite has been contracted as an independent third party to collect high-quality data from over 12,000 coffee farming households for the RCT. We are also providing technical support on both the design and analysis of the RCT.

Laterite supported the development of five different research instruments for this project, drawing on our extensive evaluation work with TechnoServe and other coffee agronomy training programs. We also provide design and analytical support throughout all stages of the RCT study.

To conduct this large-scale data collection effort, we recruited and trained about 100 enumerators. All our enumerators hold at least a university degree and collectively speak the four languages used in the six districts. We trained enumerator teams on the five survey instruments, professional and research ethics, and observing agronomy practices including practical on-farm training. We used several measures to monitor data quality, such as audio audits, back checks, field supervision and regular meta data checks. All of these measures are standard Laterite operating practices.

Outcome

Baseline data collection was completed in 2019, with the midline set to follow in 2021. Laterite’s baseline analysis measured the rate of adoption of agronomy best practices at the start of the program. In addition, Laterite collected information on household characteristics.

Overall, the project will determine if the UCAT program effectively improves coffee yield per tree and adoption of coffee good agronomy practices. Through these pathways, the program has the potential to improve incomes for the coffee farming families.