Inaugural Lecture - Professor Felix Ankomah Asante (Director, Institute of Statistical, Social & Economic Research)

Thursday, March 28, 2019 - 17:00
Great Hall, University of Ghana


Members of the University community are hereby invited to the Inaugural Lecture of Professor Felix Ankomah Asante, BSc (Ghana), MPhil (Ghana), PhD (Bonn), Director, Institute of Statistical, Social & Economic Research (ISSER)


Topic: The Linkage between Agriculture, Nutrition and Health: Issues for Research and Policy


Date: March 28, 2019

Time: 5:00 pm

Venue: Great Hall

Chairman: Prof. Ebenezer Oduro Owusu, Vice-Chancellor


All are cordially invited




Agriculture systems have grown in complexity due to globalisation, trade openness and economic development, and their tentacles are evident in other sectors. The agriculture, nutrition and health sectors are treated in isolation. Programmes and policies are designed and tailor-made for each sector without considering the linkages that exist among them (Hoddinott, 2012). Over the years, a strong linkage has been established between agriculture, nutrition and health. These sectors have an intricate bi-directional interaction. Agriculture affects nutrition and health, and nutrition and health affects agriculture. The process of agricultural production and the output it generates can contribute to both good and poor nutrition and/or health. Vice versa, the nutrition and health condition has implication for agriculture.

The agriculture sector has an important and profound influence and effect on both nutrition and health of the individual and the society (Jones & Ejeta, 2016). More than 800 million people globally suffered from chronic undernourishment in 2017. This represents about 10.9 percent of total world population. The number of overweight and obese people are also on the increase (FAO, 2018). The undernourishment is leading to stunting, wasting, and underweight individuals especially among children leading to cognitive challenges (Walker et. al., 2007). However, at the same time, overweight and obesity is leading to an increase in the number of non-communicable diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, among others (Stuckler, Mckee, Ebrahim, & Basu, 2012). These challenges are a major public health problem globally (Black et. al, 2013; Popkin, Adair & Ng, 2012).

Policymaking initiatives in agriculture, nutrition and health are often done in parallel and unconnected ways. A joint and coherent action could have potential benefits and substantially reduce the risk among the population (Hawkes and Ruel, 2006). The policy interventions of this interaction include; addressing the triple burden of malnutrition, technological changes and farming practices in the food system to promote healthy diets and food safety, dealing with the raise of zoonotic diseases, and the effects of climate change.

Although the past decade has seen significant advances in linking agriculture, nutrition and health within policy, research, programme design, and implementation (Fan, Yosef and Pandya-Lorch, 2019). Yet, knowledge gaps remain. Opportunities for further research include; food safety and impacts of hazardous inputs, climate change impact on agriculture systems and public health, impact of the nutrition transition in developing countries, effective early warning systems to monitor and track incidence of pests and diseases, and identifying new pathways of human exposure to climate change variabilities.

This lecture draws on a body of research studies to provide a conceptual framework to understand the linkage between agriculture, nutrition and health. It also examines the challenges to the linkage and comes out with issues for further research and policymaking



Professor Felix Ankomah Asante was born in Kumasi to Prof. George Stephen Asante (deceased) and Victoria Mayfred Poku. He started his basic education at the KNUST Primary School and completed at the University of Ghana Primary School by passing his Common Entrance Examination in 1978. His secondary education (O’Level and A’Level) was at the Presbyterian Boys Secondary School (Presec), Legon, from 1978 to 1986. After national service, he gained admission to the University of Ghana, Legon, to read Agriculture graduating in 1990 with a second class upper in Agriculture Economics. After his second national service, he proceeded to study for an MPhil in Agriculture Economics again at the University of Ghana, graduating in 1995.

He joined the University of Ghana in January 1996 as a Research Fellow at the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER). He won a German Academic Exchange Programme (DAAD) scholarship to pursue a PhD in Agriculture Economics at the Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, Germany, from August 1999 to July 2002, he returned to the University of Ghana on 1st October 2002.

Then Dr. Asante was promoted to Senior Research Fellow in 2005; Associate Professor in 2010; and Professor in 2015. Prof. Felix Asante, since August 2013 is the Director of the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) of the University of Ghana. He previously served in various capacities at the Institute as Deputy Director from 2011 to 2013; Head of the Economics Division from 2007 to 2011; and Coordinator of the Graduate programme (MA/MPhil and PhD). He has also served on committees at the Institute either as chairperson or as member. The committees include Publications, Welfare, Graduate programmes and Short Courses.

Professor Felix Ankomah Asante was instrumental in working with the Center for Development Research (ZEF) of the University of Bonn in securing DAAD sponsorship for the ISSER’s PhD programme for the past 10 years. Felix has raised funds for the institute as an individual researcher and also in his present position as a director. In the past 5 years during his term as Director and with support from Research Fellows at ISSER over US$20 million has come in as research and institutional grants.

In 2007, he was the first Ghanaian to be inducted into the DAAD sponsored “African Good Governance Network”, which is under the patronage of the former President of the Federal Republic of Germany, H.E Horst Köhler.

Research interest of Professor Asante includes development economics relating to poverty and household food security issues; decentralisation, provision of public goods and services; health issues, specifically burden of disease, spending assessments, health accounts, costing and budgeting; and climate change issues. He has been involved in projects sponsored by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), The World Bank, Danish Research Council, the United Nations System and the German Government, among others. He has worked as a consultant for the UNAIDS where he supported some nine (9) African countries namely Mozambique, Eritrea, The Gambia, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Liberia and Ghana.

Professor Asante has over 65 publications consisting of books, book chapters, peer reviewed journals and technical papers. He also has numerous research and technical consultancy reports.

He teaches mainly at the graduate level and covers courses in Policy Analysis and Population, health and environment. He has supervised and co-supervised several Master’s and PhD thesis at various stages, completed and some on-going in the University of Ghana, Aarhus University, Denmark and Wageningen University, The Netherlands. He also served as an external PhD examiner at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST); University of Western Cape, South Africa; University of New England, Australia; Wageningen University, The Netherlands and Aarhus University, Denmark; among others.

At the University of Ghana, Professor Asante serves on the Business Executive Committee (BEC); Management Board of the Office of Research, Innovation and Development (RID); Ethics Committee for the Humanities, and currently the chairperson of the College of Humanities Research Board, and member of the Academic Quality Assurance Committee.

Nationally, he chairs the Council of the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers (COPEC), and he also serves on the Local Content Committee of the Board of the Petroleum Commission; the National

Accounts Committee of the Board of Ghana Statistical Service; and the Business Regulatory Committee of the Business Enabling Environment Programme of DfID, Ghana.

Internationally, he is a member of the Grant Review Committee of the Board of Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) based in Kenya, and a Thematic Resource Person for the Partnership for Economic Policy (PEP). He is a board member of the International Center for Evaluation Development (ICED) based in Kenya.

Currently, he is the President of the Ghana Association of Agricultural Economics; and a member of the American Evaluation Association, the Africa Agricultural Economic Association, and the Ghana Science Association. He is also the President of the 1983 Presec Old Students Association.

Socially, he enjoys watching football and listening to music.

Felix Ankomah Asante is married to Mrs. Naa Odey Asante and blessed with two daughters; Samuelle and Gracelle