AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS AND EXTENSION DEPARTMENT: PRIORITY RESEARCH INTERESTS
The Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension (AEE) embraces research as one of its key mandates. The Department acknowledges that cutting edge research is critical in empirical and evidence-based agricultural policy analysis and formulation, agricultural transformation, value addition and agribusiness development, technology development and adoption, food and nutrition security and market analysis.
PRIORITY RESEARCH INTERESTS
- Agricultural Policy Analysis: This research area focuses on investigating the impact of various (national, regional and international) agricultural policies, trade agreements, subsidies, and regulations on farmers, consumers, and the overall performance of the agricultural sector. This research portfolio aims at guiding the government and policymakers to design effective and equitable agricultural policies.
- Sustainable Agriculture and Resource Management: This research portfolio focuses on the economics of sustainable farming practices, efficient water resource management, soil conservation, integrated pest management and integrated soil fertility management. Findings from this research interest are key in ensuring long-term viability of agriculture while preserving the environment.
- Farm Level Efficiency and Productivity: Studying factors affecting farm level productivity, notably technology adoption, access to credit, access to extension services, social capital building, and education levels is critical in participatory development of farm level productivity enhancement packages. Understanding these factors can lead to recommendations for improving farmers' livelihoods and increasing food productivity.
- Rural Development and Poverty Alleviation: This research component aims at examining strategies to reduce poverty and enhance rural development through agricultural interventions. This research involves studying value chains, agribusiness development, and the role of agricultural extension services as pathways to rural development and poverty alleviation.
- Climate Change and Agriculture: Investigating the impacts of climate change on agriculture, exploring adaptation and mitigation strategies, and assessing the vulnerability of farming systems to changing climatic conditions is key in stimulating agricultural transformation under rapidly varying and changing climatic conditions.
- Market and Price Analysis: This research focus entails analysing agricultural commodity markets, price volatility, and market integration. This research is intended to help farmers make informed strategic and tactical decisions on farm and landscape levels production.
- Consumer Behaviour and Food Security: Understanding consumer preferences, food choices, and demand patterns to ensure food security and identify opportunities for value addition in agricultural products.
- Agricultural Extension and Technology Transfer: Assessing the effectiveness of agricultural extension programs and technology transfer initiatives in disseminating knowledge and innovations to farmers. Investigating the economic and social viability of using digital platforms to reach farmers with advisory messages is key in this research area.
- Risk Management in Agriculture: Exploring risk management strategies, insurance mechanisms, and financial tools that can protect farmers against market fluctuations, natural disasters, and other risks including varying and changing climatic conditions.
- Impact Assessment of Agricultural Projects, Programmes and Policies: Conducting evaluations of agricultural projects and other interventions to measure their outcomes and identify areas for improvement.
- Gender, Equity and Inclusivity in Agriculture: Investigating gender-specific issues in agriculture, including access to resources, decision-making, and the role of women in agricultural development.
- International Trade in Agricultural Commodities: Analysing trade policies, export opportunities, and import challenges for agricultural products in the global market.
- Innovation and Technology in Agriculture: Studying the adoption and impact of new agricultural technologies, precision farming, and digital agriculture on farm productivity and sustainability.
- Agricultural Products Value Chain Analysis: Analysing the entire value chain from production to consumption, identifying inefficiencies, and proposing solutions to enhance value addition and farmer income enhancement strategies.
- Economic and Environmental Sustainability: Integrating economic and environmental considerations in agricultural decision-making to promote sustainable farming practices.
These research interests do provide a foundation for diverse and impactful studies within the fields of agricultural economics and extension. To optimise on anticipated research outcomes, the Department encourages interdisciplinary collaborations with other departments and institutions, which further enrich and expand research opportunities.