John Dougherty, an AEDE doctoral student, is currently in Tanzania serving as a lead researcher on a project for the Innovative Agricultural Research Initiative (iAGRI), a USAID Feed the Future project. AEDE’s Dave Kraybill serves as the iAGRI project director.
iAGRI is an ambitious five-year program in improve agricultural productivity and food security in Tanzania. The $24 million project will provide agricultural and nutrition training to 120 Tanzanian graduate students over the project lifespan, including educational exchanges at the program’s six American partner universities: The Ohio State University, Michigan State University, Virginia Tech, Tuskegee University, University of Florida, and Iowa State University. iAGRI also facilitates and funds collaborative research on food security and nutrition between faculty from the project’s consortium universities and Tanzanian researchers.
The Ohio State University has joined Sokoine University of Agriculture on an iAGRI funded research and capacity-building initiative: Promoting Financial Inclusion and Technical Transformation among Smallholders in Tanzania: A Capacity-Building Exercise.
The project has several objectives:
- Conduct high-quality research on the impact of weather-based index insurance on technology adoption and farmer group sustainability in Tanzania
- Conduct high-quality research on how climate change affects the demand for weather-based index insurance and how farmers form beliefs about drought in the face of changing climate risk
- Improve economics research capacity at Sokoine University of Agriculture
- Raise awareness of the potential uses of index insurance in agricultural finance sector in Tanzania.
By building capacity at the country’s leading agricultural university to conduct economics research and promoting understanding of index insurance to stakeholders, this initiative is designed to improve food security in Tanzania. We aim to develop opportunities for smallholder farmers throughout the country to access index insurance in order to better mitigate drought risk.
The research team consists of two principal investigators from Ohio State: Dr. Mario Miranda and Dr. Abdoul Sam, as well as one principle investigator from Sokoine University: Dr. Flavianus Magayane.
Additionally, the team consists of two research assistants from Ohio State: Tony Gallenstein and John, as well as one research assistant from Sokoine University: Nicholaus Kuboja. During the second phase of the project, John is managing a number of activities, including the implementation of a framed field experiment and various other capacity building exercises.
The experiment took place from August through October 2016, in the drought-prone districts of Kongwa, Bahi, and Dodoma Urban in the Dodoma region. The experimental team and I met with over 450 farmers and surveyed them on questions relating to the agricultural risks they face and their preparation for drought. The farmers also took part in an experimental game meant to elicit their demand for weather-based index insurance and reveal how this demand changes in response to increasing weather risk from climate change. Our preliminary results suggest that providing information to smallholder farmers about how climate change will affect rainfall patterns could make index insurance a more sustainable drought mitigation tool.
His capacity building work will include running a research discussion group with Ohio State University graduate students. The group will involve reading academic papers in the development economics literature and learning new research methodologies. Discussion group participants will also present and receive critical feedback on their own research ideas. Additionally, John will teach short workshops on topics in applied econometrics and using STATA and Matlab in data analysis. He will also assist in the preparation and implementation of an in-depth conference and workshop that will explain index insurance to stakeholders and facilitate its practical application in Tanzania.