Agriculture News, jobs

Agricultural University Graduate Admission

USask Agricultural Economics Graduate Calculates the Value of a Wetland Certification Program

22 Nov, 2022 – Would you pay more for a bag of flour if it had a wetland certification label? It’s a question that Valentina Ofori set out to answer in her master’s thesis research.

“While certification programs exist for forestry, marine and organic products, and have been studied extensively, no research has been conducted to assess a certification program for wetlands,” said Ofori.

Ofori will officially receive her Master of Science in Agricultural Economics at University of Saskatchewan (USask) Fall Convocation, taking place in-person on November 9 at Merlis Belsher Place.

In June 2022, she successfully defended her master’s thesis, Economic feasibility of a wetland certification program in the Canadian Prairies. Her thesis was supervised by Dr. Patrick Lloyd-Smith (PhD), assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics in the College of Agriculture and Bioresources at USask.

For her research, Ofori estimated the price premium that consumers of prairie wheat would be willing to pay for a product that had a distinctive wetland certification label. The label would tell consumers that the product was produced on a wetland-friendly agricultural landscape and the level of wetlands restored on that landscape.

Ofori’s research also assessed the profitability that a wetland certification program would offer wheat farmers.

“Although wetlands are very beneficial to the environment and society, farmers and landowners do not reap many economic benefits of maintaining wetland on their agricultural landscapes,” said Ofori.

To conduct her research, Ofori developed and designed a survey questionnaire which was administered in Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba.

“I enjoyed the survey design and development stage of my research,” she said. “I had the opportunity to conduct focus groups and the interactions I had with participants were helpful in the final questionnaire design process.”

Ofori analyzed the survey results using R statistical software (a programming language for statistical computing and graphics).

“The results of my research showed that Canadian wheat flour consumers were willing to pay about 16 to 40 per cent more for a bag of wheat flour with a wetland certification label,” said Ofori. “Saskatchewan wheat farmers who adopt this program would enjoy a profit of about $21 to $32 more per acre than conventional wheat farmers.”

Ofori’s research was funded by Smart Prosperity Institute and the Global Institute for Water Security at USask. She also received the Dollie Hantelman Agricultural Scholarship, which is awarded for academic achievement by the College of Agriculture and Bioresources.

Originally from Accra, Ghana, Ofori received her bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Cape Coast. After attending a lecture on the economics of natural resources and environment, she realized that she wanted the focus of her graduate program to be on agricultural economics. She heard about USask via a friend who was an alumni.

“I chose to study agricultural economics at the USask College of Agriculture and Bioresources because of the level of high-quality research produced by both faculty and students,” she said. “I have passion for research, and I was excited to learn that the faculty has built such a great program with a strong research component.”

Currently, Ofori is working as a Research Assistant for the College of Agriculture and Bioresources, with plans to pursue a PhD and become a professor, with a focus on natural resources and water economics. Ofori is interested in how the needs of society, policymakers, and producers can be jointly met via economics research.

“I hope a wetland certification program will be developed by policymakers as it has great potential, aligning society benefits to producer costs and helping reduce wetland loss.”


Copyright © 2017 · All Rights Reserved · IndiaAgroNet.Com