Short interview with IMMANA Fellow Rosemary Isoto

What got you interested in this work and how did you get your start on this career path?
I have always been enamored by issues of economic development and how they relate to the development of the human being as a whole, hence, as an economist I felt I could contribute a lot in the nexus between agriculture, nutrition and health.
What is the nutritional and agricultural landscape in Uganda where your work is taking place?
Uganda where my work is based is an interesting case in that over 68 % of the population is engaged in agriculture and most derive their livelihood from it. The country is blessed with very good weather, high production in some areas yet other areas of the country experience food insecurity and high levels of malnutrition. This is in itself interesting in that there is a clear relationship between levels of productivity and nutritional intake. Issues of low productivity despite good weather need to be investigated to ascertain the effect of low levels of nutrient intake on agricultural productivity.
Which particular challenges does your work seek to address?
My research seeks to address two important issues: Establishing thresholds of nutrient intake that may be associated with higher levels of agricultural productivity. Secondly, to test for gender differences in the nutrient productivity gaps so as to inform the measurement of gender disparities.

How does your IMMANA project aim to improve on those metrics?
A literature survey of nutrient productivity relationships in developing countries specifically, in Uganda shows that there is no such a metric in form of thresholds necessary to achieve some level of productivity. Hence, my project will develop thresholds that policy makers can use to ensure small scale farmers nutritional intake is met to achieve economic growth.
Where are you in the process of your project?
I am now in the third quarter of my project. I should be finishing up in August 2016.
What are the next steps you anticipate for your project in the near future?
I hope to be able to publish the findings of this research project. I hope to be able to disseminate the results to policy makers and other concerned entities so the results can be used for policy intervention
Has anything in particular struck you about the community you are conducting your research in that is different from what you expected? Have you experienced any particular insights that have been meaningful to you personally or professionally since starting your project that you’d care to share?
It has been a pleasure working with the national data of Uganda. These data represents individual voices and my research outcome will speak directly to their needs and concerns through better policies that if implemented can improve the livelihoods of numerous rural small scale farmers.
Career wise, I hope to extend the knowledge, experience, and new research ideas developed in the process of this fellowship to another level.
Rosemary is a Round 1 IMMANA Fellow and member of the ANH Academy

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