Dr Mequanint B Melesse is a Senior Scientist at ICRISAT, based in Nairobi, Kenya. Currently, Mequanint leads the Technology Adoption and Impact Analysis Cluster under the Enabling Systems Transformation Global Research Program. He holds a PhD in Development Economics from Wageningen University and a research master (MSc, cum laude) degree in Economics and Business from the University of Groningen (both in Netherlands).
Prior to joining ICRISAT, he has held a post-doctoral researcher position at the Development Economics Group, Wageningen University. Mequanint has had extensive research and field experience, led several large-scale household surveys in Africa, and managed research projects. With a focus on agricultural and rural development in the drylands, his main research interests are in the fields of agricultural and development economics, including technology needs assessment and (dis)adoption, causal impact analysis, impact scaling approaches and strategies for agricultural innovations, sustainable food systems, consumer behavior and market research, analysis of roles of research and policy in promoting systems transformations, and technological innovations in data science for data-driven agriculture. His research uses a variety of quantitative and qualitative approaches, including framed experiments and games, quasi-experimental approaches, randomized evaluations and non-experimental approaches.
Some of the current research activities under his direct leadership include trait prioritization and consumer willingness to pay for ICRISAT mandate crops, gender-sensitive customer profile development for ICRISAT mandate crops, assessing the adoption and welfare impacts of improved crop technologies in Ethiopia, Nigeria and Tanzania, learning and support to develop market opportunities that increase adoption of research outputs, ex-ante impact analysis and piloting market viability of food policy changes in Kenya, and impact assessment of crop-livestock integration in Zimbabwe. Mequanint has published widely on topics of impact analysis of technology adoption and (land) policy reforms, market incentives and (in)formal institutions as drivers of technology adoption, incentives for agricultural knowledge and technology diffusion and how communication networks change in response to interventions, food system innovations and metrics, women’s empowerment, and consumer food behavior in leading economics and related scientific journals, including World Development, Journal of Development Studies, Agricultural Economics, Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, European Review of Agricultural Economics, and Food Security. He enjoys working in multi-cultural and team environment.
Expertise in: Technology needs assessment and (dis)adoption, causal impact analysis, rural livelihood, sustainable food systems, consumer behavior and market research, market segments and product profiles, farm household analysis, impact scaling approaches and strategies for agricultural innovations, data-driven agriculture and project development