Thursday, November 12, 2015

Member Profile: Mohammad Jahangir Alam

Mohammad Jahangir Alam
Bangladesh Agricultural University

You won the 2015 Uma Lele Mentor Fellowship for your research proposal: Analysing the Determinants of Farmer`s and Miller`s Participation in the Public Rice Procurement Program in Bangladesh: Implication for Sustainable Food Security, how is your research progressing?
I feel honored that I have won the Uma Lele Fellowship 2015. I am confident that this will enable me to work on an issue which has captivated my attention for a while. The progress of research is going well. I am doing literature review, cleaning and preparing data matrix. Hope I could speed up my analysis and can start writing a paper right after completion of my current research stay at Cornell University.

Your mentor is Gail Cramer; how did you two connect on this research topic?
I knew Prof Gail Cramer, Head of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness of Louisiana State University, since my stay, as a Visiting Scholar at University of Arkansas in 2009. I have read one of his books which I found very useful for our students in Bangladesh. Therefore, I brought a copy to my home university (Bangladesh Agricultural University) in Bangladesh and included it in my lectures and references. However, later it was a coincidence - fortunately I have found him as my mentor of the travel grant program for researchers from LILMIC, in the 2013 AAEA Annual Meeting at Washington DC. Dr. Gail made very good comments on my presented paper which helped me a lot to improve the quality of that paper. Since then we were in contact and searching for opportunity to work together. Since I know him for several years I was also familiar his areas of research. However, finally, I consulted with him on the topic I could focus and he also found my proposed topic interesting. I am very much grateful to him. This is the story of connection to my mentor on this research topic.

What led you to pursue food and agricultural economics?
I was motivated to pursue the degrees in food and agricultural economics because of my home country is an agrarian based country where agriculture is one of the main drivers of the economy. It provides food, income, employment etc. directly or indirectly. The concept of economics - the best use of `scarce` resources - was more appropriate, playing very important role in our everyday real world life. I was seen the poor small and marginal farming communities from my childhood. However, I was shocked when I found that these small and marginal farming communities work hard from dawn to dusk, producing food for us but at the end they receive very less. This was triggered my interest to pursue food and agricultural economics when I was completed my higher secondary school education. Then I found pursuing agricultural economics was fascinating. I hope I could have a chance to use my acquired knowledge and skills at home and abroad for the betterment of the poor small & marginal farming communities who are sacrificing their every elation to feed the world and keeping us smile with good food.

What advice would you offer aspiring agricultural/applied economists?
Keep your eyes on the dynamics in food and agricultural industry, try to bridge what experts are saying and what are the reality. Try to be part of the professional organizations like AAEA, IAAE etc. This will definitely help you a lot to keep moving. Try to keep understanding the view points of the different stakeholders in the industry - producers, traders, consumers and policy makers. This will give a good mix to love food and agricultural economics field.

This post is part of an ongoing series of profiles of AAEA members. Have a suggestion for a future profile? Send them to

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