James Fasakin is a Monitoring and Evaluation specialist, and Research Assistant on many developmental projects. He is also an associate consultant with Ethical Trade Services Africa Limited (ETSA), Nairobi, Kenya. He was recently part of the economic team that prepared the Nigeria Vision-2050 agenda, titled “Analytical Support for the Preparation of Economic Growth and Development Cluster of Nigeria Agenda-2050 Blueprint.” His team won a research grant under the National Research Fund – Tertiary Education Trust Fund (NRF-TETFUND) Nigeria in 2020 titled “Institutional and governance factors in international standards compliance for enhanced cocoa export in Nigeria.” James is also a former research fellow at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) under the 2019-CARE Young Africa programme.

What are some of your research interests, and why are you passionate about them?

My research focuses on “Impact Assessment, Agricultural Policy, Development Economics, Poverty, and Econometric Analysis”. I am passionate about these areas because they are the nucleus of agricultural economics. In sub-Saharan Africa, poverty is a severe development issue affecting many households. Therefore more empirical information is still needed to reduce the menace of poverty among households. I have some publications in the area of poverty among rural households in Nigeria.

In addition, I hold a PhD scholar under the Feed the Future Innovation Lab of the USAID project, Farm Diversification Strategy, through Integrated Agriculture-Aquaculture systems, nutrition-sensitive value chains for better nutrition outcomes in Nigeria. In the near future, I hope to work on other projects impacting agricultural technologies/programmes on rural household welfare in Africa.

My career journey in agriculture has been nothing short of exciting! The vision I have is for agriculture to be sustainable, innovative and the core contributor to Nigeria’s economy. Despite Nigeria being an oil-producing state, agriculture is still the mainstay of the economy, employing more than 80% (direct or indirect) of the population. Lately, the world is counting on agriculture to produce more nutritious food for its increasing population and improve people’s livelihoods. This influences the future development of the economy and the world at large. There is a growing global demand for safe and environmentally friendly food. I am determined to be on the frontline with other experts to achieve this international goal. I want to contribute to the solution for the challenges the industry will face and is continuously facing, as I recognize the wealth of inherent opportunities.

What are the most interesting research findings from your work so far?

Adopting new agricultural technology has been a study area that has been well embraced. The farmers have acknowledged the outcomes of our intervention training in this study area. The project has contributed significantly to changing the mindset of the farmers in their quest to attain food and nutrition security. Also, more income is accruing to the farmers in profit-making, as the system has led to higher rice and fish yield, thus improving household welfare. This will contribute in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals 1 and 2 of no poverty and zero hunger.

What are some challenges you face in your industry?

The challenges facing the agriculture industry in Nigeria are multifaceted. Starting from uninspiring government policy, instability in government-poor implementation, poor infrastructure facilities, use of old and crude facilities in production, lack of storage facilities for perishables, and the mindset of youths towards agriculture has been the primary barrier facing the industry.

What is the most promising and exciting part of your research work?

The agricultural industry has been a very promising and exciting industry, for quite some time. It continues to get more interesting, and well-embraced because of the outcomes of previous research work. There is an increase in funding opportunities, with focus on women and youths; this is just the way to go since many of the African population are youth. The youth are slowly increasing their participation in the agriculture industry. Lastly, the sector has been the major employer of labour, which makes it a modern industry that will always be relevant, taking into consideration the significant needs of the household’s shelter and food are all from agriculture.

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