Knowledge for a sustainable world

BSc, MSc

Hanneke Lam joined the Natural Resources Institute (NRI) at the University of Greenwich in November 2010. She is involved with research and consultancy projects related to socio-economic and institutional aspects of rural development, mainly in developing countries. Her recent projects focused on the inclusion of smallholder farmers in local, regional and international markets through, for example: risk management linked to improved access to financial services; enhanced market institutions; a conducive policy environment; inclusive value chains; business management; and improved coordination between the public and private sector as well as civil society. Hanneke holds an MSc in Development Economics and BSc in Economics of Rural Development from Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR) in the Netherlands, the world's second leading university in agriculture. She has overseas experience in Malawi, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria.

Hanneke enjoys research projects which are not only interesting from an academic perspective, but which also have a real life impact in terms of improving livelihoods for smallholder farmers and contributing to a thriving agricultural sector. One of the projects she is currently involved in, promotes tools and methods to enable farmers to manage farm risks, and looks at the conditions in which these tools are best applied. For example, warehouse receipt systems and collateral management can improve the ability for farmers to access to financial services and output markets through collective marketing, but policy constraints will need to be addressed simultaneously.

Hanneke has a keen interest in the field of development economics that focusses on the institutional prerequisites of economic development. These institutions, or "rules of the game", are the formal legal rules as well as the informal social norms that govern individual behaviour and structure social and economic interactions. Whereas the traditional (and dominant) neoclassical economics' taking of the market usually considers the institutional environment as a given, institutional economics demands an interdisciplinary perspective, drawing on political science, law, governance and administration, history, anthropology, and even psychology. In order to be able to further deepen this research interest, Hanneke will be combining her consultancy work, which is often of a more applied nature, with a PhD programme in institutional economics.

Farm Risk Management for Africa (FARMAF)

Location: Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Zambia
Year: 2012-2015
Funding Body: European Commission
Position Held: Economist; Project Co-Coordinator

Description of the Project: The objective of the project is to enhance access to and use of effective pre- and postharvest farm risk management tools (systems, institutions and infrastructure) by smallholder farmers in Tanzania, Zambia and Burkina Faso. This includes access to agricultural insurances linked to improved access to financial services, and enhanced collective action by farmers. It is expected that by using these tools, smallholder farmers will be able to reduce their exposure to downward shocks, improve access to credit and, therefore, their capacity to invest in yield-enhancing technology. Specific contributions are overall project management (shared with project leader); research inputs on innovative financing systems, such as Warehouse Receipt Systems, and commodity marketing; and support of national implementing partners in Tanzania. Research was presented at UK Houses of Parliament in February 2013. The project, led by NRI, is a partnership between AGRINATURA (consortium of European agricultural research institutes and universities) and several national, regional and Pan-African Farmers' Organisations.

Agrifood Standards (ASEC)

Location: Kenya, Tanzania, UK
Year: 2010-2012
Funding Body: Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO, formerly DFID)
Position Held: Economist

Description of the Project: To increase compliance with international private and public agro-food standards in order to increase trade and enhance rural livelihoods. Development of a toolkit for institutional analysis, aimed at improving coordination, effectiveness and resource utilisation within national and regional sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) systems.

Cassava: Adding Value for Africa (C:AVA)

Location: Malawi, Nigeria
Year: 2010-2012
Funding Body: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Position Held: Economist

Description of the Project: Overall objective of the project is to strengthen value chains for high quality cassava flour (HQCF). Specific objective of inputs: to understand the needs of small-medium scale enterprises with regard to an enabling environment for business development, with specific experience of developing business plans for medium-scale investors in cassava processing technologies in Nigeria and Malawi

Marula value chains in Namibia

Location: Namibia
Year: 2010
Funding Body: Wageningen UR, DGIS
Position Held: Researcher (as part of MSc programme)

Description of the Project: Study on commercialisation of the marula fruit (non-timber forest product) and its effect on socio-economic institutions in rural communities and on governance of the marula value chain. Part of a WUR-DGIS programme which focussed on the connection between local biodiversity conservation initiatives and (inter)national markets.

  • Member of the Development Studies Association (DSA)
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