Market Development


Monica Roa, a Ph.D. student in Agricultural, Environmental, and Regional Economics and Operations Research, is working on her dissertation on credit constraints in Colombia.  Specifically, she is researching the impact of credit constraints on exports and how to define a credit market in developing countries.  Early observations indicate that small and medium firms in Colombia have more constraints due to the differences of interest rates and distance to bank offices.  Since distance is a credit barrier, an excessive reliance on cash transactions has increased the cost of business.  Both Penn State and the government in Colombia fund the research


Dr. Bill Lamont, Professor of Vegetable Crops in the Department of Plant Science, had previous work in Mexico for the Training, Internships, Exchanges, and Scholarships Program (TIES).  The project is designed to help with both job and skills development and to operate in its capacity to aid small farmers.   Key observations from the research indicated the high level of one-on-one interaction and collaboration between crop growers and trainers for a wide variety of vegetable crops.  Funding for the research originated from a partnership of United States and Mexican governors as well as USDA and USAID Grants.  In addition to that, the University of Guanajuato in Mexico and the Gates Foundation provided assistance as well.


Mauricio Espinoza is a student at Agricultural Economics, Sociology and Education department. He is finishing his MS in Agricultural, Environmental and Regional Economics and his field of interest is Development economics in Latin America. Mauricio is studying land market in Peru and the mechanisms through which land inequality is affected. He studies land market at district level, and in his preliminary results, he finds that it contributes to reduce disparities in land access. Mauricio’s research contributes to the debate of land property rights in Latin America and is part of a long-term agenda to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Land Reform in Peru. He is collaborating with researchers from Columbia University and GRADE (Grupo de Analisis para el Desarrollo).   

In Peru, Dr. Dan Tobin studied the dynamics between farmers and companies that existed during value chain development for native potato varieties. In
particular, he looked at how value chains influenced food security and
biodiversity conservation among smallholding farmers. He also investigated the
different perspectives of important value chain actors including farmers, local
government representatives, facilitating NGOs, private companies, and
multilateral research for development organizations like the International
Potato Center. His research was funded by a U.S. Borlaug Fellowship in Global
Food Security, a Graduate Student Competitive Grant from the College of
Agricultural Sciences, and a Graduate International Research Competitive Grant
from the Office of International Programs in the College.