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Howard Student Wins the U.S. Borlaug Fellows Grant



Bathsheba F. Bryant-Tarpeh, Ph.D. student, Department of African Studies was awarded the U.S. Borlaug Fellows in Global Food Security research grant by the Center for Global Food Security at Purdue University, December 2015.

“Bathsheba is one of those special students who always stands out in my mind as one who grasps new concepts fast and likes to explore them fully, always exceeding my expectation in her performance. Food security as a starting point to the discussion of human and economic development has been of great interest to her,” said Almaz Zewde, Ph.D.  “As her dissertation advisor, it gives me great joy to see her blossom academically and grow intellectually to be able to contribute to our knowledge of the big human and economic issues involved in Africa’s agribusiness and land dealings and their effects on the lives of those who least understand the workings of the forces of globalization. The U.S. Borlaug Research Grant deserves great credit for selecting this worthy young scholar as one of the recipients of its fellowship,” she added.  

Last summer, Bryant-Tarpeh was among 40 graduate students from U.S. universities chosen to participate in the U.S. Borlaug Summer Institute, at the Center for Global Food Security at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, from June 7 to June 20, 2015. She participated in lectures, case studies, small group discussions, and near-by field trips. The program’s main objective was to develop a holistic understanding of the conceptual challenges around global food security and provide students with a working knowledge of these issues with a focus on cross-disciplinary problem solving of real-world development challenges. The photo was taken at the closing dinner of the U.S. Borlaug Summer Institute on June 19th, 2015 where she was awarded a Certificate of Participation.

The six-month U.S. Borlaug Fellows in Global Food Security graduate research grant will fund Bryant-Tarpeh’s dissertation titled, “Gender and Large-scale Land Acquisitions:  Implications for Rural Livelihoods, Food Security and Nutrition,” field study this summer in Ghana.  While in Ghana she will be under the guidance of Dr. Timothy Williams at the International Water Management Institute in Accra, Ghana and Dr. Emmanuel Acheampong at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana. Dr. Almaz Zewde from Howard University is Bathsheba’s advisor and PI, overseeing the research investigation.

“Since the global financial and food prices crises of 2007 and 2008, many global investors have looked toward Africa as a place to invest in agriculture by purchasing and leasing large amounts of fertile farmland for commercial farming for the production of biofuels. My goal with the research is to investigate how rural women and men are affected by this agricultural investment at the household and community levels in the Northern Region of Ghana. I’m particularly focused on the challenges it presents for women farmers, who are already at a disadvantage with respect to land and natural resource rights, changes in agrarian gender dynamics and household food security and nutrition. I am interested in how best agricultural interventions can serve for the betterment of rural African families and communities in terms of their land availability for farming, agricultural biodiversity, preserving the environment, and alleviating poverty. I believe strongly that with the changing global economy of the 21st century policies must focus on strengthening the rights of small-scale farmers, especially women,” said Bryant-Tarpeh.