One Health Initiative for a Resilient, Circular, and Regenerative Food System in Eastern Africa
Closing date: 15 Oct 2023
The International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe), Kenya invites applications from suitably qualified candidates for a PhD scholarship in the African Regional Postgraduate Programme in Insect Sciences (ARPPIS).
icipe (www.icipe.org) is an African institute and a regional and global leader in research for development in insects and arthropods and their impacts, positive and negative, on food production, human and animal health, environmental sustainability and livelihoods. icipe works across the continent with a network of partners, including universities, NGOs, and the private sector. It has a staff of >500 based in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Benin. The Centre’s research is structured around four research health themes (Human, Animal, Plant and Environmental Health) and employs a diverse range of science disciplines to achieve impact.
African Regional Postgraduate Programme in Insect Sciences (ARPPIS)
The primary objective of the ARPPIS PhD Programme is to prepare young researchers from Africa to be globally competitive in research and development environments within national, regional and international research programmes. At icipe, ARPPIS scholars are provided with excellent research facilities in an interdisciplinary environment within a structured, three-year PhD programme that includes research, training, developing research partnerships, publishing scientific articles, writing grant proposals, and attending scientific meetings and international conferences. Scholars conduct strategic, innovative research at icipe’s laboratories and field sites located in different agro-ecological zones.
A PhD student position is available in the field of agricultural economics, with a focus on the one health impact of insect farming in Eastern Africa.
The PhD study is part of the project “Scaling regenerative black soldier fly farming innovations with vegetable push-pull cropping systems for One Health in Rural Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda” granted to the International Centre of Insect Physiology Ecology (icipe) and funded by the IKEA Foundation. This is a four-year project support to icipe and partners to integrate and upscale black soldier fly farming with smallholder vegetable push-pull cropping for better agri-based livelihoods in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. You can find additional information about the project in the link below.
Smallholder crop and livestock farmers face coexisting production constraints. Crops, including vegetables, are affected simultaneously by various pests and diseases. Lack of quality feed in sufficient quantities at the right time hinders livestock production. Sky-rocketing input prices compared to the end products discourage crop and livestock production investment. Especially, input prices are increasing due to the disruption of value chains because of the war in Ukraine, the COVID-19 pandemic, and other shocks. Coupled with the ever-increasing recyclable waste in many places and the high fiscal cost of recycling, a growing environmental footprint of crop and livestock production is a formidable challenge for policymakers. Policymakers and developments are under pressure to promote innovations and best practices that can address farmers’ challenges and reduce the environmental footprints of the agriculture sector.
One Health is an approach that recognizes that people's health is connected to the health of animals, plants, and the environment. Insect farming and push-pull technology (IFPPT) are prime examples of how the One Health approach can be applied. Prompting bundle of IFPPT can strengthen local agri-food systems in the wake of geopolitical risks, pandemics, climate change, and foreign currency scarcity to import input. Insect framing addresses the challenge of food insecurity by enhancing the production of eco-friendly protein and other nutrients at a cheaper cost. Additionally, it can reduce environmental impact by recycling household and industrial biowastes. Frass fertilizers have the potential to complement chemical fertilizers. Locally sourcing input for crop and livestock production could reduce the lengthy supply chains for fertilizers and feed and production costs. The Push-Pull technology is an innovative agroecological method that addresses multiple challenges related to insect pests, parasitic weeds, and soil fertility in cropping systems.
Micro- and Meso-levels studies have quantified the ex-ante and ex-post economic, social, and environmental impact of individual insect farming and push-pull technology. However, studies on the impact of bundling these technologies and how they can be promoted jointly are limited. Understanding the value chains of these one-health innovations remains crucial to scale insect farming and push-pull technology at the micro-level. Establishing empirical evidence on the best scaling strategies of the innovations and their products (frass fertilizers, insect larvae, and push-pull forage crops) is yet to be done. The Ph.D. student using the state-of-the-art evaluation methods will generate evidence on the mechanisms to scale the one health innovation concurrently and the economics, nutrition, and environment of prompting these innovations at the same time eastern Africa and contribute to developing sustainable, integrated, and evidence-based policies and strategies for a resilient farming system in the region. Specifically, the Ph.D. student will work on the following subtopics:
- Understand the knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAPs) of insect farming and push-pull technology, map the value chains of these innovations, and design efficient marketing system for these products,
- Document the impact of innovation scaling strategies on knowledge diffusion and adoption of insect farming and push-pull technology jointly, and
Quantify the impact of the one-health interventions (insect farming and push-pull technology) on food and nutritional security of smallholder farmers.
- A citizen of a country in sub-Saharan Africa.
- MSc in Agricultural Economics, Applied Economics, and Development Economics.
- Strong motivation to conduct independent research in agricultural economics and interest in contributing to evidence-based policymaking in Africa.
- Strong knowledge and skills regarding research design, digital survey tool design, data collection and supervision, data analysis using Stats software, and presentation.
- Two publications in reputable journals
- Demonstrated knowledge of and experience with qualitative and quantitative data collection methods and analysis.
- Strong written and oral communication skills in English
- Experience working in Eastern Africa and knowledge of the local context, and willingness to frequently travel to project sites.
- Qualified female candidates and candidates from less privileged regions or groups as well as candidates with disabilities are especially encouraged to apply.
- The PhD position provides a stipend and health insurance. It will cover also other costs such as visa, office, conferences, and research costs.
- Successful candidate will be a competent PhD student and must have a strong motivation to conduct independent research in the field of agricultural economics.
Click here to download the application form. Once filled out, click on the 'APPLY' link to submit it along with the other required documents.
Timeline Closing date for applications 15th October 2023. Successful candidates will be notified by November 2023. The PhD positions will be a 3-year doctoral training by research.
If you have any questions regarding the ARPPIS PhD Programme or your application to icipe, kindly contact Ms. Vivian Atieno, Capacity Building Officer, icipe. Email firstname.lastname@example.org