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.
Prof. Achim Dobermann
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.
Dr Ravi Prabhu
Deputy Director General (Research), World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)
Dr Ravi Prabhu is Deputy Director General for Research at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). As leader of the research programme, he is committed to providing evidence to help decision-makers direct investments to their most useful applications. Ravi 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 by supporting countries to realize multiple benefits from REDD+, and to use REDD+ as a catalyst in the transformation 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, and worked in various capacities at the Center for International Forestry Research. Ravi has served on numerous international committees, including the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, where he was part of 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, and earned his PhD in forestry from the University of Goettingen, Germany.
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 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 a range of 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 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.
Jonathan Crouch, PhD
Following an early career in agritech R&D in Europe and Africa, Jonathan devoted himself increasingly to agribusiness development first in India, then Mexico and most recently in Africa. His work has included roles as Global Theme Leader, Biotechnology, and Head, Applied Genomics Lab, for the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT); and Director of the Genetic Resources Program for the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). He commutes regularly from homes in London, Accra and Nairobi as he cultivates a passion for 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, and a PhD in Plant Biotechnology from the John Innes Centre.
David Ellis, PhD
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.
Bruce Kisitu, PhD
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 Miller, PhD
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 traveler, 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.
Keith Shepherd, PhD
Senior Scientific Advisor
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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