Profile of Dr. Robert Aidoo
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Dr. Robert Aidoo, a young, energetic lecturer at the Department of Agricultural Economics, Agribusiness and Extension in the Faculty of Agriculture, is currently working on three (3) projects for his department. Since 2011, he has led a team of researchers in his department to conduct baseline survey and follow-up surveys for the UN World Food Programme (WFP-Ghana office) as part of the implementation of the Purchase for Progress (P4P) Programme which was won after a competitive bidding process. The P4P project is being piloted in twenty-one (21) countries in Africa and Latin America. In addition to the above surveys, he led the team of researchers to analyze the performance of the value chains of the three P4P targeted crops in Ghana (maize, rice and cowpea) and to assess the contribution of the P4P programme on the economic empowerment of women in Ashanti and Northern Regions of Ghana. He has also been involved in the training of farmer groups on book keeping. Having just completed the 2013 follow-up survey for WFP, he is hoping to be called upon next year to conduct the final impact evaluation of the P4P programme in Ghana.
He completed his secondary education at Bibiani Secondary Technical School in 1993 and was admitted into Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in 1994 where he pursued a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agriculture with specialization in Agricultural Economics. After his national service at Bibiani Secondary Technical School, he continued with his MSc and PhD in Agricultural Economics at the same university.
He joined the service of Asamoah and William Consulting firm in Kumasi from December 2002 – 2004 as a Business and Financial Analyst. From 2005 to January 2007, he moved to Adwumapa Buyers Company Limited (a private cocoa marketing company) where he served as the Deputy Area Manager with Assin Fosu as his duty station. Due to his love for education, he was schooling and working at the same time. In 2009, by dint of hard work, he was appointed as a Lecturer at Valley View University-Techiman Campus where he also acted as the Academic Dean for that campus. After defending his PhD thesis, he was employed at KNUST.
Dr. Aidoo has a passion for discovery and this has been his drive to undertake several research activities. During his days as a consultant at Asamoah and Williams Consulting,he worked with a team to evaluate the performance of Government Micro Credit Programmes being implemented by Microfinance institutions and Rural Banks in Ghana. He was also involved in capacity building for staff of Microfinance NGOs and business planning for Small and Medium-scale enterprises.Since his appointment as a Lecturer, he has been actively involved in several departmental researches including IITA’s (International Institute of Tropical Agriculture) yam research projects which focused on the economics of yam marketing, seed yam production and status of yam research in Ghana.
Again, Dr. Aidoo is the principal investigator for a DANIDA funded research project which seeks to strengthen Root and Tuber Value Chains in Ghana. He is also the principal investigator for the AUSAID funded project on yam storage for improved food security and income in Ghana which is aimed at reducing postharvest losses in the yam value chain. Dr. Aidoo has so far worked on approximately seven (7) projects.
When asked about his motivation for doing research, he said his greatest motivation is the hope of winning a grant though he gets worried when his proposals do not go through sometimes; but encourages himself because he realizes it as part of the research business. He sometimes writes to test his writing skills and is motivated to write more when he wins even one of them. He believes that research comes with experience and whatever is written serves as a basis for other research writings.
Since to every event there is a challenge, the greatest challenge Dr. Aidoo faces in his research field is time management. This is due to the heavy teaching loads and supervision of both undergraduate and post graduate students. As a result of this, his leisure time and publication suffer at the end. He, however, has a pool of postgraduate students he has trained to support with his research work.
Dr. Aidoo also highlighted that there is delay in accessing project funds from the university due to the bureaucratic processes the requisition goes through. He therefore suggested that the bureaucracies in the system be reduced to facilitate smooth running of projects.
He also suggested that, in order to encourage staff to write more proposals, the criteria for promotion in the University should give ‘more’ weight to lecturer’s ability to win projects/funds to the university to serve as a form of motivation for those who are not interested in handling research projects.