We examine smallholder farmers’ willingness to pay for agricultural technology and whether information is a constraint to adoption of certified maize seed in Northern Uganda. The uptake of improved maize varieties by smallholder farmers in Uganda remains persistently low, despite the higher yield potential compared to traditional varieties. A recently growing body of literature identifies information constraints as a potential barrier to adoption of agricultural technologies. We used incentive compatible Becker-DeGroot-Marschak auctions to elicit willingness to pay for quality assured improved maize seed by 1,009 smallholder farmers, and conducted a randomised evaluation to test the effect of an information intervention on farmers’ knowledge of seed certification. Our results show that the randomised information treatment enhanced farmers’ knowledge of certified seed. However, using the information treatment as an instrumental variable for knowledge, we find no evidence of a causal effect of knowledge on willingness to pay, suggesting that even though farmers are information constrained, this constraint does not affect adoption of certified seed directly. Nevertheless, only 14% of sampled farmers were willing to pay the market price, which corresponds closely with actual observed demand for certified seed in the previous season. This suggests that there are other barriers to adoption than information and awareness.
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© 2020 The Authors. Journal of Agricultural Economics published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Agricultural Economics Society