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2014-11-03 | News

Samwel Lwiza wins Gunnar Köhlin’s Best MSc Thesis Award 2014

Professor Thomas Sterner and Dr Yonas Alem congratulates Samwel Lwiza. Photo: Karin Backteman/EfD

Samwel Lwiza is the winner of the newly created Gunnar Köhlin’s Best MSc Thesis Award. He received the prize at the closing day of the 8th Environment for Development Initiative Annual Meeting held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

The Research Committee of the Environment for Development Initiative decided to award the very first Gunnar Köhlin’s Best MSc Thesis Award in acknowledgment of Samwel Lwiza’s MSc. thesis entitled Technical Efficiency in Agriculture and Its Implication on Forest Conservation in Tanzania: A Case Study from Kilosa district. Lwiza's findings indicate that farmers in the Kilosa District can improve their farming technical efficiency by about 35 percent, which in turn reduces pressure on further land clearing and forest extraction.

This award really means a lot to me. The Masters of Arts in Economics process is arduous one, and it is very nice to have recognition for that process, and to know that people are taking an interest in the topic of the dissertation,

says Samwel Lwiza. He is a graduate of the Department of Economics of University of Dar es Salaam and a supervisee of Dr. Razack Lokina, the Director EfD Tanzania.

Lwiza has examined the technical efficiency in farming activities and its implication on forest conservation in Kilosa District, where households living adjacent to the forest depend primarily on agriculture and secondarily on forest resources. Improvement in technical efficiency in agriculture is one important way by which agricultural production can be increased whereas pressure on further land clearing and forest extraction can be reduced.

The empirical findings indicate that the farmers in Kilosa District still have the room to improve their farming technical efficiency by about 35 percent. The farming technical efficiency is influenced by the level of farming inputs usage, gender and educational level of the household head, extension services, farm experience and access to formal credits. The empirical analysis was based on the data collected from villages under a REDD project. REDD is an acronym for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation.

The Examiners felt this was excellent work which offers an interesting new way to consider prospects for agricultural reform. The thesis has clear real-world relevance in the context of the Tanzania Agriculture and the potential to make a distinctive contribution to agricultural theory. The selection criteria for the award relate to relevance to EfD themes and rigor.

In the committee's congratulation, Samwel Lwiza was encouraged to continue interacting with members of the EfD network and to interact with policy makers. He was also encouraged to continue his education and, as to follow in Gunnar Köhlin’s fotsteps, continue to do good policy relevant research.

Among the competitors for the award were also thesis authors from the EfD centers in China, Kenya, and South Africa.

The 8th EfD Annual Meeting took place 23-26 October 2014 and was inaugurated with the EfD Policy Day on 22 October 2014.

By Salvatory Macha and Karin Backteman