The Team


Chris Barrett

Chris Barrett is Stephen B. & Janice G. Ashley Professor of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University. He is a Fellow of both the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association and the African Agricultural Economics Association. He has worked on a wide variety of topics, including poverty, food insecurity, and the relationship with environmental stress, and has done extensive fieldwork in east and southern Africa. He has published over 260 articles and 14 books. Current projects include and NSF- and Harvest Plus-supported project building a long-term panel of plot-level data to evaluate the role of soil fertility and micro-nutrient content on smallholder productivity and child nutritional status in Africa. To see Prof. Barrett's website, please click here.

Ephraim Chirwa

Ephraim Chirwa obtained his PhD in Economics from the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom. He is currently a Professor of Economics at the Chancellor College, University of Malawi. His previous work includes assessing the impact of financial services in Malawi and conducting an impact evaluation of the economic and financial analysis of the infrastructure services project.

Eric Kaima

Eric Kaima is the program manager for ISFM - Malawi. He obtained a B.Sc. in Agricultural Economics from Bunda College and completed his MSc in Agricultural Economics in 2013 from Acharya N.G Ranga Agricultural University in India. His previous work includes assessing the role of ICT in agricultural markets, understanding the determinants of food prices and studying the relationship between growth and inflation.

Annemie Maertens

Annemie Maertens is a lecturer at Sussex University in the United Kingdom. She obtained her PhD in Applied Economics and Management from Cornell University in 2010. She approaches poverty and low agricultural productivity from a social and behavioral angle, investigating the role of social networks, leaders and individual preferences regarding time and risk. To see Prof. Maertens' website, please click here.

Wezi Mhango

Wezi Mhango obtained her PhD in Crop and Soil Sciences from Michigan State University in 2011. She is currently a Senior Lecturer in Agronomy at the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Dr. Mhango worked from 2006-2010 on a McKnight Foundation Collaborative Crop Research Program where she examined the effects of legumes for improving soil and family nutrition. Current projects include agro-ecological intensification in Malawi through action research with smallholder farmers funded primarily by USAID and Africa Rising.

Hope Michelson

Hope Michelson is an Assistant Professor of Agriculture and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She earned her PhD in Applied Economics and Management from Cornell University in 2010. Her work sits at the intersection of soil fertility, market participation, and food security. Current projects investigate the relationship between food security and mineral fertilizer use in sub-Saharan Africa, the effects of the provision of soil information on smallholder farmer production and investment in Tanzania, the structure of Walmart's fresh fruit and vegetable supply chains in China, and farmers' preferences over different combinations of ISFM technologies in Malawi. To see Prof. Michelson's website, please click here.

Wupe Msukwa

Wupe Msukwa is Research Assistant for ISFM - Malawi. He has a B.Sc. in Agricultural Economics from Bunda College (2013). He has experience with conducting, entering and analyzing farmer surveys in Malawi. He has, among others, studied the determinants modern and open pollen maize cultivar adoption. He is interested in understanding the role of agricultural extension services in the Malawian context and hopes to become a development practitioner at an international organization in the future.

Annie Mtanga

Annie Mtanga is a Research Assistant for ISFM - Malawi. She obtained a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Agricultural extension from the University of Malawi Bunda College of agriculture in 2013. She has experience in working directly with smallholder farmers in rural areas of Malawi, helping them take on new agricultural technologies and obtain information, and providing them with necessary skills and knowledge in order to improve their living standards. Annie hopes to continue helping rural farmers and become a rural development specialist.

Hastings Nhlane

Hastings Nhlane is a Research Assistant for ISFM-Malawi. He holds a BSc Degree in Agriculture obtained from the University of Malawi, Bunda College of Agriculture. Hastings has among other things studied the effectiveness of the 2013/2014 Farm Input Subsidy Program (FISP) in Nkhotakota District assessed the status of rural-urban Migration in Mchinji district and served as the President of Bunda College of Agriculture Students Union. Hastings is a proactive, organised, enthusiastic, innovative and patriotic gentleman who hopes to become a Social-Economic Development Practitioner/Advocate.

Vesall Nourani

Vesall Nourani is a PhD Student in Economics at Cornell University and an NSF Graduate Research Fellow. Through his PhD. research, he hopes to contribute to discourses on the functions of community institutions and structures in contributing to learning and coordination processes. Alongside the ISFM project in Malawi, he is currently working on a project that studies the role of social learning in the adoption of an export crop among Ghanaian farmers. Vesall received his B.A. with honors in Political Science and Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2008. From 2008 to 2012, Vesall worked as a research associate at RTI International in North Carolina.

Cheryl Palm

Cheryl Palm is a Senior Research Scientist and Director of Research in the Tropical Agriculture and Rural Environment Program at the Earth Institute, Columbia University. A tropical ecologist and biogeochemist, Dr. Palm's research focuses on land use change, degradation and rehabilitation, and ecosystem processes in tropical agricultural landscapes. Dr. Palm served as Principal Research Scientist of the Tropical Soil Biology and Fertility Program in Nairobi, Kenya from 1991 - 2001. She is a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomists and served as chair of the International Nitrogen Initiative (INI) from 2008 - 2011. To see Dr. Palm's website, please click here.

Kwabena Krah

Kwabena Krah is currently a PhD student in Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He holds a BSc. Agriculture and MSc. Agricultural Economics from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana and Mississippi State University respectively. He is currently examining smallholders’ preferences for soil fertility management attributes and how their subjective perceptions of climatic variability affect their preferences. His previous work include using choice experiments to examine producer preferences for contracts on risky bioenergy crops.