CEO and co-founder, Yagro (UK)
Gareth Davies is an entrepreneurial leader in digital agriculture, with a deep passion for the role of business in creating societal value.
He is CEO and Co-Founder of YAGRO, the UK-based data and technology company delivering commercial decision support systems to farms. He is also a Trustee and Member of the Board of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, a charity awarded the Queen’s Charter in 1840 to be the independent voice for science and best practice in agriculture.
Previously at Syngenta in Switzerland, Gareth led the Food Security unit exploring novel business models to serve smallholder farmers across the world. His contributions there include shaping the Smallholder Commitment of Syngenta’s Good Growth Plan; and forming a new venture capital initiative through Syngenta Ventures, specifically targeting smallholder solutions.
Gareth has worked in top tier strategy consulting across a wide range of industries, including global agribusiness. He has NGO experience in West Africa with the microfinance platforms Kiva and Global Brigades.
Gareth holds a First Class Masters degree in Chemistry from Oxford University, and a scholarship MBA from the London Business School.
Professor Achim Dobermann
Director & Chief Executive of Rothamsted Research (UK)
Professor Achim Dobermann is providing leadership for a wide range of research programs that aim to develop solutions for sustainable management of agricultural systems. He brings over 30 years expertise on science and technology for sustainable agricultural in all world regions, having authored or co-authored over 110 journal papers, several books on a wide range of agricultural issues, and numerous other technical and outreach publications. He is an Editor of the international journal Global Food Security and a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy, the Soil Science Society of America, and the Crop Science Societies of the Philippines. Achim is also a member of the Leadership Council and co-chair of the Thematic Group on Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) which contributes to defining goals and indicators for the global post-2015 development agenda.
Dr Ravi Prabhu
Deputy Director General (Research), World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)
Dr Ravi Prabhu has responsibilities to oversee the whole research programme, he is also a member of the Centre’s Senior Leadership Team. ICRAF is a Centre where focused, rigorous research provides the evidence that guides the policies of decision makers from the household through to national and global levels – the kind of decisions that help to direct investments to their most useful purposes.
Ravi is an accomplished scientist in his own right: he has engaged in multi-disciplinary research and action in forested landscapes for almost 20 years. He was previously a Senior Programme Officer, Forests and Climate Change with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi. He led the UNEP team that contributed to the UN-REDD Programme mainly by supporting countries to realize multiple benefits from REDD+, and to use REDD+ as a catalyst to transform to a green economy. Prior to that, he coordinated the Regional Plan for Collective Action in eastern and southern Africa, a joint initiative of CGIAR. He also worked in various capacities at the Center for International Forestry Research. He earned his professional degree and doctorate in forestry from the University of Goettingen, Germany.
Ravi has served on numerous international initiatives and committees, including the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment where he served on the review and editorial team, and the UN Millennium Projects Taskforce 6 on Environmental Sustainability. He received the Queen’s Award for Forestry at Buckingham Palace in 2005.
Dr Bernard Vanlauwe
Director R4D, Central Africa and Natural Resource Management (IITA)
Bernard Vanlauwe joined IITA in Kenya in March 2012 to lead the Central Africa hub and the Natural Resource Management research area. In this capacity, he is also having an oversight role in the Consortium Research Programs (CRP) on Humidtropics; the Water, Land, and Ecosystems; and CCAFS. Prior to this appointment, he was the leader of the Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM) program of the Tropical Soil Biology and Fertility research area of CIAT (TSBF). He joined CIAT-TSBF in 2001 and led the development, adaptation, and dissemination of best ISFM options in various agroecological zones in sub-Saharan Africa. In September 2010, he obtained a Visiting Professor position at the Swedish Agricultural University in Uppsala in the Soils and Environment Department. He had also worked at IITA in Nigeria (1991 – 2000) and the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium (1989-1991), focusing on unraveling the mechanisms underlying nutrient and soil organic matter dynamics in tropical agroecosystems. In that context, he obtained his PhD in 1996 in Applied Biological Sciences. He has published over 100 papers in scientific journals and over 120 in other forms and has (co-) supervised over 30 MSc and 10 PhD students.
After a 30-year career in the media business, Peter switched gears — moving from his base in Los Angeles to address challenges in agricultural development. Beginning in Ethiopia, he drew on his expertise in intellectual property to help win legal protection for Ethiopia’s right to trademark its premium coffees. Since then, he has continued his work in Africa’s small farm sector, with a passion for promoting entrepreneurship and innovation. He advises iSDA on communications and engagement with smallholder farmers.
Monica is a highly experienced, client-focused programme and operations manager. After 18 years working in the built environment, she brings a wealth of knowledge of placing products with clients and providing a training environment to ensure end-users are familiar with all operational requirements. This has included start-ups throughout China and Hong Kong. She is currently leading the programme management side of iSDA, co-ordinating partners in several countries. She has a strong track record in the multi-phased implementation of software and enterprise tools through the entire project life cycle.
Following an early career in agritech R&D in Europe and Africa, Jonathan increasingly focused on agribusiness development first in India, then Mexico and most recently back in Africa. Interspersing this with spells at business school, in incubators and with investors to keep excited and humble. Passionate about harnessing science, entrepreneurship and venture capital for smallholder value chains across the Global South. Living between London, Accra and Nairobi cultivating a never-ending thirst for diversity in global food, music, people and natural history.
Executive Editor, Online Content
David Ellis is an educator, public interest advocate and broadband evangelist who has devoted his career to demystifying new technologies and raising awareness of their costs and benefits. Over the last 25 years, he has written and consulted widely on the global public Internet as an engineering and social phenomenon. David earned his PhD from the University of Paris and teaches at Toronto’s York University. As part of the iSDA team, he has overall responsibility for ensuring its new website provides visitors with captivating, accurate and topical information.
Project Manager, Kenya
Established strategic partnerships with private sector, international NGOs and government which have resulted in successful implementation of farmer-oriented projects in Uganda and Tanzania. Developed innovative and integrated projects to support farmers through the rollout of the village enterprise agent model which uses mobile technology in delivering timely and relevant agricultural information on best practices, critical activities and input use. Bruce provides oversight for all projects implemented with partners and ensure results are realized as planned. Currently helping iSDA with a major PPP project in this space in Kenya.
Matt has always been interested in tackling the big challenges facing humanity. He began his career in academia, completing a PhD in Plant Science that focused on how plants are able to adjust photosynthesis in response to changes in the environment. Following this, he moved into the commercial sector, working as a Data Scientist/Software Developer for an agri-tech startup company. At iSDA, Matt works on all things data-related. A keen traveler, Matt has been on two long term trips, most recently exploring the wilds of Central Asia and hiking to Mount Everest base camp. When back home, Matt enjoys watching live music, drinking beer and exploring the wilderness.
Senior Scientific Advisor
Keith has over 40 years’ experience in agricultural research and development, the last 30 of which have been with World Agroforestry (ICRAF) based in Nairobi. Prior to joining ICRAF he developed (i) new reduced and mulch tillage systems for the drylands of Swaziland; (ii) agronomic recommendations for Mediterranean areas based on detailed crop, soil, water and nutrient measurements with the International Centre for Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) in Syria; (iii) dryland cropping systems in rice-based systems at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines; and (iv) agronomic recommendations for Southern Darfur as part of an integrated rural development project. At ICRAF he has led research on on-farm agroforestry, integrated soil fertility management, land restoration, soil-pant spectroscopy and decision analysis. Keith holds a BSc in Soil Science and PhD in Agricultural Botany from the University of Reading, UK.
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