Meet Margaret Banka, COMPRO II MPhil scholar in Ghana

margaret bankaMy name is Margaret Banka, a graduate research fellow and a lucky recipient of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) scholarship on the project, "Institutionalization of quality assurance mechanisms and dissemination of top quality commercial products to increase yields and improve food security of smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa – COMPRO-II" funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

I started my MPhil Degree programme in Agricultural Economics at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi-Ghana, in September 2014. I have successfully completed all my taught courses including: Microeconomic Theory, Macroeconomic Theory, Production economics, agricultural policy, Research methods, Agricultural Finance, among others.

My research is focused on the "Economic assessment of the Adoption of Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM) Technologies among Grain Legume Farmers in Northern Ghana". The study employs both experimental and socio-economic survey data to address the following specific objectives:

  • To estimate the costs and benefits associated with different ISFM packages/technologies/trials in Northern Ghana.
  •  To determine the ex-ante adoption rate for the most financially profitable ('best') ISFM package/treatment/technology in northern Ghana and factors that are most critical in the future adoption of the 'best' package.
  • To evaluate grain legume farmers' willingness to pay for the 'best' ISFM package/technology in Northern Ghana and factors that explain the mean willingness to pay by farmers.
  • To identify constraints/obstacles to the adoption of different ISFM packages/technologies in northern Ghana.

The research activities are on track. I started with a reconnaissance survey to be familiar with the demonstration/experimental sites as well as the different ISFM technologies in use in northern Ghana. I presented my research proposal at a departmental seminar and very useful comments and inputs were made by faculty members. Following the presentation, a detailed research proposal encompassing background to the study, review of relevant studies and methodology to be used for analysis has been developed and approved by my supervisors.

To identify the various combinations of ISFM inputs (technologies) that have the potential of enhancing agronomic importance and profitability of grain legumes, an experimental data collection was carried on the COMPRO II dissemination trial fields. Data from the survey was used to estimate the costs and benefits associated with different ISFM technologies experimented on the field. The result of this analysis has been used to identify the "best" ISFM package, which is being used to design the choice experiment for the willingness to pay and ex-ante adoption studies. A structured questionnaire for collecting socio-economic data for the ex-ante adoption and willingness to pay analysis as well as the choice cards for the choice experiment have already been developed.

I am happy to be part of the COMPRO family. I wish to express my sincere gratitude to IITA for selecting me to be part of this wonderful family. I am on the way to fulfilling my long-cherished dream of becoming one of the few female research scientists in the field of agricultural economics in Ghana.