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Paperback,  7″ x 10″
198 pages with color photographs
ISBN 978-1-63381-255-0

by David C. Wilcock

David C. Wilcock began his career in Africa in 1968 as a 22-year-old Peace Corps English teacher in the Ivory Coast. He ended it in 2014 as an independent consultant analyzing the economics of small-scale palm oil processing in the tropical forest zone of neighboring southern Ghana. In the time between, he followed a common post–Peace Corps career path: going back to graduate school for advanced degree training—in political science and economics in his case—and culminating in a PhD in agricultural economics at Michigan State University. He lived and worked in 20 other African countries, from Morocco to Madagascar, but concentrated on the semiarid countries of French-speaking West Africa. Almost all his professional work was funded by US or international foreign assistance agencies or projects. In this book he provides insights into how this work is done in Africa, covering topics such as crop development research and farm-level extension, food security, food marketing and policy reform, agricultural trade promotion, integrated rural development, and cash crop development efforts. He also reflects on working for two US land grant universities, the US government-connected consulting industry in Washington, the United Nations food agencies in Rome, the World Bank and other international development banks, and charitable NGOs. He hopes that the project descriptions and adventures in this memoir might be of use to university students considering this type of career path.


David C. Wilcock is a retired agricultural and political economist. After serving in the Peace Corps in Cote d’Ivoire from 1968–70 and finishing his PhD training at Michigan State University in 1977, he served the university as the chief of party of a USAID-funded integrated rural development project in Burkina Faso for four years. From 1981–86 he was Assistant Professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of Massachusetts, working primarily with the agricultural extension service, serving dairy and vegetable farmers, and teaching computerized farm management. Then he spent 11 years employed in Washington by USAID contractor Development Alternatives, Inc. (DAI) designing projects and doing agricultural policy studies across Africa. From 1997 through 2002 he was a senior economist in the Economic and Social Department of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in Rome, working mostly on African food security. In the final chapter of his career (2002–2014) he was an independent consultant working for a variety of US and international agencies in 22 different countries. He currently lives in Falmouth, Maine, with his wife, Karen, and their faithful schnauzer, Spenser.

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