Melinda Smale

Melinda Smale

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Adjunct Professor
Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics



Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park
M.S., University of Wisconsin-Madison
M.A., Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
B.A., Duke University

Publications on Google Scholar

Dr. Melinda Smale joined the Food Security Group in 2011 as a fixed-term Professor of International Development, working intensively with research partners in Kenya, Zambia, Mali and Burkina Faso. From 2002, at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Bioversity International, she led a global research program about the economics of crop genetic resources. The team studied biotech crops, genebanks, on-farm crop diversity, local seed markets, and underutilized crops in numerous countries, including Mali, Uganda, India, Nepal, Bolivia, Colombia and the Philippines. While living in Malawi and later in Mexico (1989-2000), she analyzed the adoption and impacts of improved wheat and maize seed for the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). During the 1980s, Melinda worked in Pakistan, Somalia, Mauritania and Niger on shorter-term assignments. She has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles, has received awards for outstanding articles and has served on the editorial committees of several journals. Dr. Smale is a 2022 Fellow in the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association and retired from fulltime employment in AFRE at the end of 2022.

Professional Interests

  • Adoption and impact processes for seed, including biotechnology, and improved crop management practices, including practices to rehabilitate soil fertility and moisture
  • Analysis of farm productivity
  • Crop biodiversity, on-farm and ex situ conservation of crop genetic resources
  • Formal and informal seed systems