Didier Kadjo began his Borlaug LEAP Fellowship in September 2013. After receiving his Bachelor’s degree in Engineering and Agricultural Economics in his home country of Cote d’Ivoire, Mr. Kadjo had the opportunity to bridge research and policy implementation by working in the National Unit of Cooperation with the European Union (EU) of the Prime Minister Office. He won a scholarship from OFID to pursue a Master’s degree in Agricultural Economics at Purdue University and, having completed his MS, is now enrolled as a PhD student in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Purdue. His thesis is focused on investigating the effects of storage losses and market imperfections on household grain management, specifically maize production in Benin. Mr. Kadjo believes that research tends to focus on productivity, but high productivity without the ability to manage often proves futile. Post-harvest losses undermine the benefit of improved production technology because farmers lose market incentives. He hopes his research will provide new perspectives that will spark action not just in Benin, but in all of West Africa.
During his fellowship Mr. Kadjo traveled to Nigeria to work with his CGIAR mentor, Dr. Abdoulaye Tahirou, an economist at International Institute of tropical Agriculture (IITA) and to Benin to conduct fieldwork. Mr. Kadjo had the opportunity to network with private sector, government, and small-scale farmers as he collected data for his study. His US mentor, Dr. Jacob Ricker-Gilbert is an assistant professor of Agricultural Economics and he helped oversee Mr. Kadjo's research plan. After Mr. Kadjo completes his PhD, which he hopes to do by mid-2016, he plans to work in intergovernmental agencies and become involved in the formulation and implementation of development policies. He is committed to transforming smallholders from sub-Saharan Africa into food- and income-secured farmers.