Francis Kemeze is concerned with how rapid urbanization and population growth is going to affect the world’s food security over the next 50 years. His vision is to transform agriculture in order to feed the growing global population, and thereby provide a basis for economic growth and poverty reduction. As climate change and climate variability make that task more difficult, achieving agricultural development goals through climate mitigation and adaptation strategies will become necessary. In response to how extreme weather patterns can impact a nation’s agriculture and the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, Mr. Kemeze’s main research objective is to investigate the usefulness of Weather Index Insurance as a tool for managing credit risk, stimulating adoption of improved technology, and assuring smallholder farmer income in Ghana. He believes his study has the capacity to enhance food security by improving agricultural technology transfer, mitigating the risk confronting small-scale farmers who are reluctant to adopt potentially profitable new technologies, and providing financial mechanisms to allow credit constrained farmers to adopt improved technology.
In the Fall of 2014, Mr. Kemeze was awarded a Borlaug LEAP fellowship for his research titled: Using Weather Index Insurance to Manage Climate Variability and Promote Adaptation to Climate Change among Smallholder Farmers in Ghana. His mentors were Dr. Mario Miranda of the Ohio State University, and Dr. Pamela Katic of the International Water Management Institute (IWMI). Dr. Miranda has been with the Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics department of Ohio State University since 1988. During that time, he has extensively researched computational modeling of stochastic and dynamic economic systems with applications to agricultural risk management and insurance in developing countries. Dr. Katic has published several technical papers in various economic, hydrological and labor journals relating to water management in West Africa. Both mentors will be offering the benefits their experience and insights as agricultural economists to Mr. Kemeze’s research.