Statement of Research and Agricultural Extension – Please submit a 2-page Statement of Research and Agricultural Extension Interests including how your current and/or past research and extension experience could contribute to, or be applicable to, the needs of the local community. Provide examples of potential goals and outcomes from your research and extension activities (community development, 4H youth development, food safety).
All original work no reference included.
Country of Study: Kenya
University: Egerton University
Department: Agricultural Education and Extension
Student Position: Graduate Research Assistant – M.Sc.
Hometown: Lilongwe, Malawi
Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water
Home Position: Agricultural Extension Methodology Officer
Home: Paul Fatch, Lilongwe University
of Agriculture and Natural Resources
University: Justus Ombati, Egerton University
2015 BHEARD Scholar
BHEARD PROGRAM START DATE: August 2015
UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION: B.Sc., Agriculture, University of Malawi
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Alfred’s research interest is Rural Youth in Agriculture.
Literature suggests that rural youth are the future of food security. Yet around the world, few young
people see a future for themselves in agriculture or rural areas. In particular, The Malawi Growth
and Development Strategy paper points out that one of the key limitations to the attainment of
improved agricultural productivity and food and nutrition security in the country, is inadequate
involvement and consideration of youth in the agricultural sector.
Insights from this study, which is focusing on “Selected Factors Influencing Participation of Rural
Youth in Agriculture in Balaka District, Malawi,” will ensure empirical understanding of various
issues affecting rural youth in trying to earn their livelihoods in agriculture. The study’s conclusions
and recommendations can be used to inform policy which may ensure development of innovative
youth-responsive extension approaches and agricultural programs for enhanced rural youth
involvement in agriculture. This in turn improves productivity and results in better rural incomes.
Alfred is interested in this study mainly because in many developing countries including Malawi,
young people face challenges in trying to earn a livelihood, yet agriculture offers a lot of
opportunities. Understanding the factors influencing rural youth’s involvement in agriculture may
therefore provide the needed insights for policy makers to develop relevant strategies for
enhancing rural youth’s participation in agriculture. This in the long run may contribute to
agricultural development in Malawi.
Research Area: Agricultural Extension and Rural Development
PERSONAL STATEMENT: Alfred believes everyone has a purpose in life and his is: “To contribute
to poverty reduction by engaging the rural communities with my extension and rural development
knowledge, experience and skills; for sustainable agricultural productivity”.
Successful completion of his M.Sc. program will necessitate his ability to influence the develop-
ment of extension policies, strategies, programs and concepts tailored to the settings of rural Mala-
wian people. Alfred also plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Rural Development and Sociology which will
strongly put him in a better position to influence policy issues for the attainmen
Statement of Purpose
It is not often that a young girl growing up aspires to pursue a career in Food and Agricultural Sciences. I spent my formative years in an area afflicted by repeated droughts over the last two decades. The realization that more than any other technology, my region, and many such regions in my country needed Food Science, became a conviction in my teenage, and guided me through career decisions that have brought me to the highest pedestal – a graduate program in Agricultural Sciences. At University of New Hampshire, which boasts of one of the most reputed Agricultural Sciences programs focused at industry, built through its intricate network with the large number of Food Companies in mid-Western United States, and a research strength leveraged by the food industry of the region, I look forward to developing expertise in Food Processing, Food Safety and Food Systems that will help tackle problems in developing countries like India. Through research work at Food Processing, Food Safety and Food Systems Support Services Laboratory at University of New Hampshire, I will get the perfect mix of theory and practice of food science.
This is precisely why I chose a teaching career instead of an industry job after my undergraduate studies. I served as an Assistant Professor in College of Food Technology, Dr. Balasaheb Sawant Konkan Krishi Vidyapith, Dapoli, where besides assisting in subjects such as Fluid Mechanics and Hydraulics, I took lectures and tutorials in Food Processing Equipments-I, Food Processing Equipments-II, Post-Harvest Technology and Greenhouse Management. Teaching is a preferred career option because it helps me leverage my two strengths – Research and Communication Skills. The involvement in creating lecture notes and presentations helped me read extensively through various sources so as to be factually correct with my lectures.
Similar to a student research on Brewing science and student managed cream herd at University of New Hampshire, and in alignment with UNH’s efforts towards Global Food Security, my project during my final year was a research project titled “Development of Egg free mix using jackfruit seed starch”. The main aim of the project was value addition of jackfruit seeds which are always thrown away without investigating their conceivable use and nutritional enrichment. The use of jackfruit seed starch as a thickener and stabilizer indicated its utilization in preparation of egg free mix for baking egg-less cupcakes. For our study, we prepared two egg free mixes with jackfruit seed starch in combination with xanthun gum as well as guar gum. The effect of jackfruit seed starch and egg mix incorporation percentage on the quality of cupcake was studied. Mechanical dependents like adhesiveness, cohesiveness, gumminess, springiness, chewiness and hardness whereas sensory dependents like texture, flavor, taste, mouthfeel and overall acceptability were taken into consideration while determining the q
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