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Outline. Digital Green Video and mediated instruction for agriculture extension. Agriculture Extension. Dissemination of expert agriculture information and technology to farmers “Training & Visit” extension popularized by the World Bank in 1970s

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Digital Green

  • Video and mediated instruction for agriculture extension

Agriculture extension

Agriculture Extension

Dissemination of expert agriculture information and technology to farmers

“Training & Visit” extension popularized by the World Bank in 1970s

Face-to-face interactions of extension officers and farmers

100,000 extension officers in India

Extension agent-to-farmer ratio is 1: 2,000

610,000 villages in India with average 1,000-person population

Typical extension officer salary is

Rs. 4,000 per month

Extension officer “commuting” between farms



Agricultural Social Networks


Main source of information about new technology and

farm practices over the past 365 days (India: NSSO 2005)


The problem

The Problem

How can the speed and effectiveness of agriculture extension be improved at a reasonable cost?

Extension officer on-field demonstration



Digital Video for Extension

Video provides…

  • Resource-savings: human, cost, time

  • Accessibility for non-literate farmers


Parameters varied

Parameters Varied

Early Experimentation

Early Experimentation

Background of actors in video, Types of content,

Location and timing of screening, Method of dissemination,

Degree of mediation, Background of mediator, etc.

Background of actors in video, Types of content,

Location and timing of screening, Method of dissemination,

Degree of mediation, Background of mediator, etc.

Six months in field trying various combinations

Over 200 days of surveys, ethnographic investigation, and iterative design


Digital green system

Digital Green System

Participatory content production

Video database

Mediated instruction

Structured sequencing


Participatory content production

Participatory Content Production

Introduction to innovations

Standard extension procedure

Rough “storyboarding”

Repetitive pattern; easy to learn

Minimize post-production

Local farmers on their own fields

Reduce perception of “teachers”

Promote “local stars”

Digital Green System



Digital Green System

Video Database

Online video database (http://www.digitalgreen.org)

>250 videos of ~8 minutes each

Quality-control, minor video editing, and metadata tagging

Indexed by type, topic, locale, season, crop, etc.

Distributed via DVD



Digital Green System

Mediated Instruction

  • Local mediator

    • Performance-based honorarium

  • Human engagement

    • Field questions, capture feedback, encourage participation

    • Balance genders

  • On-demand screenings

    • Choice time and place

    • Not “stand-alone” kiosk

  • Support and monitoring

    • Daily metrics and feedback

    • Official extension staff



Digital Green System

Structured Sequencing

Practices with longer-term visible rewards

Community Assessment

Practices with short-term visible rewards

Group Participation







Experimental set up

Experimental Set-Up

Preliminary Evaluation

9-month study

  • 20 villages in Karnataka:

    • Language: Kannada

    • Crops: Ragi, banana, mulberry, coconut

    • Population: 50-80 households

    • Irrigation: 10-20 households with access

    • Television: 15-20 households

  • Metrics:

    • Knowledge: Before-and-after

    • Attendance: Farmers at each screening

    • Interest: Intent to take-up a practice

    • Adoption: Number of households taking up each new farming practice or technology

  • Classical GREEN (8)

    • Same as usual


Research Assistant

  • Digital Green (8)

    • 3 sessions per week

    • Cost:

      • Rs. 9,500 ($240) for TV/DVD per village

      • PC / camera costs shared

      • Extension officer shared

      • Mediator salary

    • Accountability:

      • Daily metrics and feedback

      • Official extension staff

Extension Officer

Local Mediator

Local Mediator

Local Mediator

Farming Community

Farming Community

Farming Community

  • Poster Green(4)

    • Same as Digital Green with local mediator, but no TV/DVD

    • Mediator makes posters and holds regular group sessions


Digital green early results

Digital Green: Early Results

7 times more adoptions over classical extension

Sustained local presence


Repetition (and novelty)

Integration into existing extension operations

Social homophily between mediator, actor, and farmer

Desire to be “on TV”

Trust built from identities of farmers and villages in videos

9 months:

12 villages, 3 nights a week, 1,000 regulars




Note: Decreasing amortized cost of hardware with time and scale

Digital Green is at least 10 times more effective per dollar spent than classical extension!



Digital Green System

Network Effect

  • Viral Web 2.0 in the Web-less world

    • Content ecosystem: education, entrepreneurship, entertainment

    • Cost-realistic access: TVs, DVD players, and camcorders

  • Reinforce existing social networks to diffuse innovations through communities

  • Local “idol” competitions to be a better farmer







Gandhi, R., R. Veeraraghavan, K. Toyama, V. Ramprasad. Digital Green: Participatory Video for Agricultural Extension, in Proc. IEEE/ACM Int’l Conf on Information and Communication Technologies and Development (ICTD2007) and in Proc. Annual Meetings of American Society of Agronomy (ASA, CSSA, and SSSA), 2007.

At reasonable cost, potential ten-fold increase in effectiveness of agriculture extension via Digital Green

Current one-year experiment to isolate the

effects of DG “social engineering”

Future work

- Research

Create more motivational “currency”, without money

Improve mediation by annotating videos

Build instant feedback mechanisms

Develop an easy-to-use platform for sharing content

- Practical

Spin-out an independent NGO to scale Digital Green


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