Vice President of Agricultural Development, OCP (Morocco)
Fatiha is an intrapreneur, an experienced leader and a passionate advocate for entrepreneurs and farmers. In 2016, Fatiha participated in the Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (REAP) at MIT. In 2014, Fatiha was identified by the Choiseul Institute among Young African leaders of 40 and under who will play a major role in the development of Africa in the near future. As an intrapreneur, Fatiha spent 19 years in major Moroccan and multinational companies. Fatiha is currently Vice President in charge of Agricultural Development, Domestic Market in the OCP Group. In 2011, she was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the OCP Fund for Agricultural Innovation. In 2008, Fatiha joined OCP as a key resource in the Chairman’s office. Fatiha has also worked for Altadis group, Wafabank and Alcatel. Fatiha is an ICT Engineer from the École Mohammadia des Ingénieurs (2000); she also holds an MBA from the École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées in Paris (2008); a Certificate in Strategic Management and Geopolitics from HEC Paris (2011), and Certificates in Executive Management and Leadership from MIT (2014 and 2018).
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, a 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 practices 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, devoted to solutions for smallholders. Gareth has worked in high-level strategic consulting across a wide range of industries, particularly global agribusiness. His NGO experience includes working in West Africa with the microfinance platforms Kiva and Global Brigades. Gareth holds a First Class MSc in Chemistry from the University of Oxford, and a scholarship MBA from the London Business School.
Advisory Services Manager, West Africa, Root Capital (Senegal)
As Advisory Services Manager, Mireille leads Root Capital’s advisory operations in West Africa, including implementing projects in partnership with the MasterCard Foundation and Partners in Food Solutions. Previously, she served as the CEO of SEMFIN, a Senegalese microfinance institution (spun out from WorldVision), providing financial and non-financial services to entrepreneurs living in rural areas. She subsequently lived in rural areas for five years working directly with female micro-enterpreneurs before joining Root Capital. In addition, she held several positions at Citibank, including Head of Cash Management where she was responsible for monitoring loans extended to rural enterprises under the Swiss and Belgium Funds. Mireille holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Maryland.
Director & Chief Executive of Rothamsted Research (UK)
Prof. Achim Dobermann provides leadership for a wide range of research programs that aim to develop solutions for the sustainable management of agricultural systems. He has over 30 years of field experience working in every region of the world on the application of science and technology to sustainable agriculture. Achim has authored or co-authored over 110 journal papers, several books on a 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 development agenda. He received his MSc in Tropical Agriculture and PhD in Soil Science from the University of Leipzig.
Director R4D, Central Africa and Natural Resource Management, IITA (Kenya)
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 also has an oversight role in the Consortium Research Programs (CRP) on Humidtropics; Water, Land and Ecosystems; and CCAFS. Prior to this appointment, he was the leader of the Integrated Soil Fertility Management programme of the Tropical Soil Biology and Fertility research area of CIAT (TSBF). Bernard joined CIAT-TSBF in 2001 and led the development, adaptation, and dissemination of best ISFM practices in various agro-ecological zones in sub-Saharan Africa. In September 2010, he took up a visiting professor position at the Swedish Agricultural University in Uppsala in the Soils and Environment Department. His previous appointments have included work for IITA in Nigeria (1991-2000) and the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium (1989-1991), where he obtained his PhD in Applied Biological Sciences in 1996. Bernard has published over 100 papers in scientific journals and over 120 in other forms, and has supervised or co-supervised over 30 MSc and 10 PhD students.
With a background in marketing, media and intellectual property management, Peter transitioned from the private sector to consult on market development for CAS-IP, the CGIAR system office responsible for IP. In this capacity he advised member organizations on projects ranging from cacao conservation in Ecuador to establishing a seed alliance in West Africa. He then consulted for IFDC on projects across a dozen African countries, focusing on branding, media and agridealer development. Peter brings a wide range of skills and experience to iSDA, where his focus is on developing and testing solutions to last-mile delivery in the small farm sector.
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 related to 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 focussed increasingly on agribusiness development first in India, then Mexico and most recently in Africa. Jonathan is passionate about harnessing science, entrepreneurship and venture capital in the service of smallholders across the Global South. Jonathan earned an Executive MBA from the London Business School, a PhD in Plant Biotechnology from the John Innes Centre, and a BSc in Agricultural Botany from the University of Reading.
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
Bruce Kisitu is a project manager and development specialist with over 14 years experience as a consultant to a range of public- and private-sector organizations across sub-Saharan Africa. Since 2014, he has offered business development services through the Gutsinda Development Group, which managed the rollout of a village enterprise advisor model using mobile technology to deliver agricultural information on best practices. Previously, Bruce worked in various roles as a consultant, facilitator and trainer for the Uganda Management Institute, the East African Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities, the USAID Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation Cocoalink Plus Project, the Grameen Foundation and for the International Fertilizer Development Centre. Bruce earned his PhD in Public Governance and Management at North-West University, South Africa.
Matt launched his career conducting academic research on methods for improving crop photosynthesis in response to environmental changes. After moving to the private sector, he began working as a data scientist and software developer for an agri-tech startup, where he helped build a digital platform to remedy challenges in the UK agri-food industry. His professional interests currently centre on using science and software engineering to improve livelihoods. A keen traveller, Matt has been on two long-term trips, most recently exploring the wilds of Central Asia and hiking to Mount Everest base camp. Matt holds BSc, MSc and PhD degrees in Plant Sciences from the University of Manchester.
Head of Diagnostics and Decision Science
Keith has over 40 years experience in agricultural research and development, the last 30 of which have been with the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) based in Nairobi, where he has led research in several areas, including on-farm agroforestry, soil fertility management and soil-plant spectroscopy. Prior to joining ICRAF, Keith developed tillage systems for the drylands of Swaziland; agronomic recommendations for Mediterranean areas at the International Centre for Research in the Dry Areas in Syria; dryland cropping systems in rice-based systems at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines; and agronomic recommendations for Southern Darfur as part of an integrated rural development project. Keith holds a BSc in Soil Science and PhD in Agricultural Botany from the University of Reading, UK.
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