Speakers for Cracking the Nut 2013

Expand All Bios
Collapse All Bios

Genevieve Audet
Advisor, Sustainable Agri-Business Team, KIT, Royal Tropical Institute
Read Bio

Geneviève is a Canadian citizen and holds an MSc degree in International Development Studies from Universiteit van Amsterdam and a BA from McGill University in Montréal. Over the last years she has gained experience through extensive periods of fieldwork in Africa, Latin America and Asia working with small-scale farmers, farmer groups, local entrepreneurs and international companies. She now works as an Advisor on the Sustainable Agri-Business Team at KIT in Amsterdam on projects related to value chain, sustainable procurement and agricultural development. She has participated in the formulation and the execution of a number of impact assessments and monitoring and evaluation assignments.

Eelco Baan
Senior Strategy Officer Agriculture, SNV Netherlands Development Organisation
Read Bio

Eelco has more than 20 years of experience in economic development and inclusive value chain development with a focus on agricultural production and commercialization. He has held various senior advisory positions, including microfinance advisor in Cameroon, senior advisor for micro and small enterprise development in Nepal and market access advisor for the poor in Laos. He also served fas country director in Hong Kong, Vietnam and Cambodia. On behalf of Triodos Bank, he served on the board of Sathapana Ltd., a Cambodian Micro Finance Institute. Presently, he is Senior Strategy Officer Agriculture with SNV Netherlands Development Organisation. He holds a Master of Science in Business Administration from Erasmus University, Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Jennifer Baarn
Deputy CEO, SAGCOT Centre
Read Bio

Jennifer is an experienced professional in the development and facilitation of international public-private partnerships (PPPs), with a particular focus on the role of partnerships in agriculture as drivers of economic growth. Prior to joining the SAGCOT Centre, Jennifer was an Associate Director at the World Economic Forum (WEF) where she helped develop the WEF’s New Vision for Agriculture initiative. Jennifer spent a number of years in financial services at Rabobank International, identifying growth opportunities in food and agribusiness and developing key insights into the agricultural sector. A South American who has lived in Europe and holds a passion for Africa, Jennifer brings knowledge and experience from around the globe to apply in furthering the objectives of SAGCOT.

David Kweku Babayara
Managing Director, NU Image Communications
Read Bio

David Kweku Babayara has more than seven years of experience in media and communications. He is the owner and Managing Director of NU Image Communications, a private media house operating in northern Ghana and based in Tamale. For the last three years, David has led media efforts by NU Image Communications, World Vision Ghana and Purdue University to build awareness about the existence of chemical-free cowpea storage technology (PICS bags) among farmers and consumers. As a public relations professional, David has worked with several institutions in the past including Damba Multimedia Ltd. and the Tamale Teaching Hospital.

Harun Baiya
CEO, SITE Enterprise Promotion
Read Bio

Harun Baiya is the Founder and Chief Executive Director of SITE Enterprise Promotion, a Nairobi-based development organization whose mission is to create opportunities for creation of incomes and employment especially among the poor. Mr. Baiya is a Mechanical Engineer and has an MBA. He is in charge of the overall management of SITE, including strategic planning and institutional development. He has worked in the area of enterprise development and skills training for 23 years, with 18 years of experience in supporting private sector development in Kenya and the East Africa Region.

Shari Berenbach
President/CEO, United States African Development Foundation
Read Bio

Shari Berenbach is President/CEO of the United States African Development Foundation, a public corporation in the U.S. government promoting economic development in marginalized, underserved populations. USADF builds capacity and expands businesses at the grassroots level, benefiting 1.2 million people and encouraging shared prosperity. Shari’s 30-year career spans from microfinance to international banking. From 2010-12, she directed USAID’s Microenterprise & Private Enterprise Promotion Office, increasing financial and market resources to rural areas and smallholders. A pioneer in impact investing, she was President/CEO of the Calvert Foundation, a non-profit financial intermediary that mobilizes capital from social investors to meet critical financing needs in communities.

Dr. Dieudonné Baributsa
Team Manager, Purdue Improved Cowpea Storage Project, Purdue University
Read Bio

Dr. Dieudonné Baributsa has more than 10 years of experience in international development. Currently, he is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Entomology at Purdue University. He is also the Team Manager of the Purdue Improved Cowpea Storage (PICS), a project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. PICS bags help small-scale farmers reduce post-harvest losses and improve their income while addressing food safety issues due to misuse and overuse of insecticides. Dr. Baributsa’s areas of interest include development, dissemination and commercialization of low-cost integrated pest management technologies. He has worked in Central Asia, Eastern Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Marije Boomsma
Senior Advisor and Team Coordinator, KIT, Royal Tropical Institute
Read Bio

Marije has over 10 years of experience in the private and semi-public sector in Europe, Africa and Asia. She specializes in sustainable business development through supply chain development and equity investments. Prior to working for KIT, Marije worked for four years in South East Asia as a market development consultant. In Vietnam consulted on value chain analysis and market development for several organizations, including SNV, the International Labour Organization, and the World Bank. In Laos, Marije worked for Arcadis Euroconsult/BMB on local private sector development. Marije has also worked as a management consultant in the Netherlands, advising Dutch enterprises in exploring market opportunities in African countries. She is skilled in market research, business planning, sustainable supply chain strategies, training and facilitation, project and team management.

Edward Bresnyan
Senior Rural Development Specialist, World Bank
Read Bio

Edward has a Ph.D. in Food and Resource Economics from the University of Florida (USA) and is a Senior Rural Development Specialist at the World Bank, where he has worked since 1997 on agricultural and rural sector operations throughout Latin American, primarily in Brazil and Central America. Edward’s main areas of interest have been community-driven development, particularly in Northeast Brazil, and market access for smallholder producers. He also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras from 1985-1988, where he worked with rural artisans to build stronger, more financially viable businesses.

Russell Brott
Senior Industry Advisor, Fintrac
Read Bio

Russell Brott is Fintrac’s Senior Industry Advisor for Food Analytics. In this capacity he leads the company’s efforts to drive better development outcomes through rigorous and practical analysis. Russell previously served as the Director of Fintrac’s Food Analytics department and Chief of Party on the Enabling Agricultural Trade (EAT) Project. Before joining Fintrac, Russell worked as a management consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton.

Anita Campion
President, AZMJ
Read Bio

Anita is President and Founder of AZMJ, a global consulting firm that specializes in rural and agricultural finance and enterprise development in developing countries. Anita is an agricultural finance and value chain specialist with more than 20 years of experience in international finance and private sector development. Previously, she worked for Chemonics International, managing projects related to SME finance, leasing and bank restructuring, as well as prudential regulation and supervision of microfinance institutions. She also led research on agricultural value chains and designed training tools as Director of the AMAP/Knowledge Generation project.

Dan Charette
Senior Development Specialist, DAI
Read Bio

Dan is a Senior Development Specialist in DAI’s Inclusive Economic Growth Department where works on new business acquisition and provides technical assistance to economic development projects. Dan also teaches a graduate-level course on Microenterprise Development at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). In the area of new business, he has served as lead strategist and lead technical writer on proposals that generated more than $180 million in new wins for DAI. In the area of technical assistance, he has worked with projects focused on agricultural value chain development and business environment reform in Tanzania, Nigeria, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Timor Leste, and Somalia.

Chusak Chuenprayoth
President, Kamphaeng-Saen Commercial
Read Bio

Chusak Chuenprayoth is the President of Kamphaeng-Saen Commercial, the leading company exporting fresh vegetables and fruits from Thailand to UK, EU and other parts of Asia. Chusak is also the Vice-Chairman of ThaiGAP Institute and Vice-Chairman of the Committee on Food and Agriculture Business at the Thai Chamber of Commerce/Board of Trade of Thailand. He earned his College Degree in German and trained in Logistic and Supply Management in Germany while working at Lufthansa Cargo.

Michael de Groot
Manager, Rabo Rural Fund, Rabobank
Read Bio

Michaël is one of the founding members of Rabobank’s Rural Fund. Rabobank is the largest co-operative bank in the Netherlands. Michaël currently serves as Fund Manager and he brings nearly 20 years of banking and financial sector experience in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Previously, he was Regional Manager of Latin America at Rabobank Foundation which focuses on technical assistance and lending to co-operative microfinance institutions. Prior to that, he worked for the Africa and Asia departments. Before joining Rabobank, Michaël worked with the Dutch development program in Gedaref, Sudan to start an Islamic based community banking scheme. Michaël has a degree from the Vrije University Amsterdam and studied in Maastricht and Cologne.

Paolo De Salvo
Junior Professional Associate, World Bank
Read Bio

Paolo studied Economics at the University of Bologna and the London School of Economics. Before joining the World Bank, he worked for Grameen Bank in Bangladesh as Research Assistant. Prior to that, he spent two years as a Poverty Reduction Economist in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs in Zanzibar, Tanzania. At the World Bank, he works in the Agriculture and Rural Development Unit of the Latin American and Caribbean Region, focusing on the monitoring and evaluation of projects related to agricultural competitiveness for smallholders, agricultural innovation, and rural finance. He is currently working on projects in Mexico, Colombia, Panama, Peru, and Jamaica.

Daan de Vries
Markets Director, UTZ Certified
Read Bio

Daan de Vries currently leads the market development activities of UTZ in Europe and India for coffee, cocoa and tea. In previous roles at UTZ, Daan set up the cocoa program and the global Field Development unit. Daan has international experience in many agricultural and forest product sectors. He is an expert in sustainable market transformation and has led the development of various sustainability standards, solutions and coalitions at UTZ and for other organizations. Before joining UTZ Certified, he worked as a sustainability consultant with assignments such as advising the largest Dutch energy company on responsible sourcing of palm oil, the creation of an agri-commodities policy for a large international bank and the evaluation of an FSC group-certification project in Ghana. Daan holds an MBA from INSEAD and a MSc. in Mechanical Engineering from Delft University of Technology.

Lesley Denyes
Program Director, Agri-Fin Mobile, Mercy Corps
Read Bio

Lesley is the Agri-Fin Mobile Program Director for Mercy Corps and has worked in the financial services sector for over 10 years; specifically in the areas of financial analysis, mobile banking, strategic planning, product development and channel management in Asia & Africa. She previously worked with Canadian investment and financial services companies, as well as working as a Senior Ratings Analyst for a leading microfinance rating agency in India. Lesley has worked with commercial banks, mobile network operators, research institutes, mobile app developers, NGOs and consulting companies to reach smallholder farmers through technology and branchless banking, including research and program development centered on agriculture financial inclusion. Lesley is based in the Zimbabwe where she works in program management, technical advisory and strategic development.

Fleming Duarte
Finance and Investment Specialist,
Read Bio

Fleming Duarte has 12 years of experience in senior management roles as an investment and finance specialist with international and multilateral organizations such as the UNDP, USAID and IDB. He has 15 years of experience in project management and has worked for the last ten years in providing banking advisory services to SMEs in Latin America and the Caribbean. He is an economist with a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University and an MA in Banking and Finance from Wales University. He is currently the Finance and Investment Specialist to different financial and non-financial organizations.

Svetlana Edmeades
Senior Agricultural Economist, World Bank
Read Bio

As Senior Agricultural Economist, Agriculture and Rural Development Department in the Latin America Region of the World Bank, Svetlana leads operational work related to productive alliances in agriculture, biodiversity and sustainable rural development focusing on Mexico and Guatemala. She has also been involved in analytical work related to public expenditure in agriculture (in Bolivia) and climate change adaptation (in Uruguay and Mexico). She holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from North Carolina State University. Before joining the Bank in 2006 she worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), where her work focused on the assessment of banana production in Uganda and Tanzania.

Nikolaus Eichman
Agribusiness and PPP Specialist, AZMJ
Read Bio

Nikolaus is an International Development Consultant with nine years of experience in project management, developing agricultural value chains and creating market and investor linkages, including for large USAID and private sector development projects. He is currently the Head of New Business Development and an Agribusiness and Public Private Partnership (PPP) Specialist at AZMJ and for the AZMJ led Finance Component of the USAID funded Peru Cocoa Alliance. Nikolaus plays a crucial role applying the AZMJ business model of connecting corporate sustainable sourcing initiatives in agriculture to comprehensive development projects including donors, investors and value chain actors as project stakeholders. Before entering the field of International Development, he worked as a scout for angel investors, a management consultant for manufacturing companies and a project manager for large commercial building and mining operations.

Rashmi Ekka
Finance & Research Specialist, AZMJ
Read Bio

Rashmi is a Finance and Research Specialist at AZMJ with 5 years of experience in quantitative economic research and due diligence of microfinance institutions and investment funds. For USAID/Afghanistan, she conducted an assessment of FINCA’s operational and financial performance. For USAID in the DRC, Rashmi analyzed findings of an impact survey of 100 youth who received technical assistance and training on enterprise development. For the Inter-American Development Bank, she researched interest rate structures and implication for microfinance institutions and clients.

Albert Engel
Deput Director General, Sectoral Department, GIZ
Read Bio

Albert Engel is Deputy Director General of the Sectoral Department of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. He obtained higher education degrees in agricultural studies (Georg-August-University, Göttingen), rural development (Technical University, Berlin) and agricultural economics (Cornell University, Ithaka, New York). He joined GIZ (formerly GTZ) in 1983 and worked for the institution as project manager and country expert both in the German headquarters and in Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe and Namibia among others. He was in charge of the GIZ division Rural Development and Agriculture since 2008, and took over his current position in 2012. His core competencies are in the areas of rural development, agricultural economics and project management.

Alejandro Escobar
Senior Investment Officer, FOMIN
Read Bio

Alejandro is an Agricultural Economist and Systems Analyst by training, and has worked for almost 20 years in rural microfinance and agricultural value chains. He is currently Lead Investment and Operations Officer with the Multilateral Investment Fund, where he has led multiple projects in sustainable agriculture, financing of farmer cooperatives, development of investment vehicles for agricultural finance, rural microfinance, and value chain development with small farmers throughout the Latin American region. Prior to joining FOMIN, he worked at Du Pont in the Global Supply Chain group of Tyvek on the development of global demand planning and financial forecasting tools. Earlier in his career Alejandro worked with MEDA and Sarona Global Investment Funds, based in Bolivia and Peru, where he worked as a technical advisor to cooperatives and farmer associations in the export sector.

Elies Fongers
Senior Project Manager, Rabo Development
Read Bio

Elies joined the Rabobank Group in 1997. She currently serves as Senior Project Manager in the AgriBusiness Team of Rabo Development. In this role she is responsible for identifying, selecting, acquiring, managing and executing advisory projects for both banks and other value chain partners, aimed at realising access to finance and strengthening agri value chains in developing and emerging countries. Within the team, Elies focuses on projects pertaining to capacity building within banks (i.e. knowledge, products and credit policies and agri credit skills) and commodity price risk management. Prior to that, she served as Product Researcher at the Food & Agri Risk Management Products Desk and later as Investment Manager of the Rabo Innovative Capital Fund.

Juan Forero
Vice President, Projet Sans Frontieres
Read Bio

Juan is a “Seeds of Confidence” Project Leader and Vice President of Projet Sans Frontieres. He has taken part in various projects involving consulting services for microfinance institutions, banks and international organizations. He has worked for ECLOF International (Switzerland) and Financiera Te Creemos (Mexico), and has consulted for PlaNet Finance (France) and Fundación Capital (Colombia) on projects in Africa, Europe and Latin America. Juan holds a Master’s in Economics of Development from CERDI and a Bachelor’s in Finance and International Relations. He speaks English, French and Spanish, and after more than ten years studying and working abroad, he is currently based in Bogotá, Colombia.

Roger Frank
Managing Director, Innovare Advisors
Read Bio

Roger has an MBA in International Finance from NYU Stern School of Business (1983) and a BFA, cum laude, from the University of Delaware (1978). He spent twenty years on Wall Street and was one of the first US-based investment professionals to work in international and emerging markets. He began his work in Africa in the early 1990s when he traveled to the region with leading international investors for meetings with senior government officials and managements of leading public and private companies. In 2004, he became a partner in Developing World Markets (DWM). Building on his work in international and emerging markets and microfinance, he founded Innovare in 2009.

Mattieu Guemas
Head of Business Development, GeoTraceability
Read Bio

Matthieu is an Agro-Economist and has been involved in farmer support programs in Africa and Asia and spent most of the last 10 years in developing countries. Previously, he worked as Program Director for IDH and Sustainable Sourcing Manager for the cocoa division of Cargill. He played an active role in implementing large scale certification programs, and believes that sustainability has to be market driven. He is now Head of Business Development for GeoTraceability in charge of developing and diversifying the services of the companies to new commodities and partnerships.

Harm Haverkort
Microfinance Advior, Terrafina Microfinance
Read Bio

Since 2011, Harm has been working as a Microfinance Advisor in Ethiopia. He has worked in microfinance for seven years for Terrafina Microfinance and Triodos Bank. His educational background is in Business Management and Marketing. Harm has experience in rural microfinance in Rwanda, Burundi, Congo DRC and Ethiopia. Currently his activities are: providing technical assistance to the microfinance partners in Ethiopia, setting up guarantee schemes with local banks, selecting a Management Information System and linking microfinance products to various value chains. Harm is involved in six value chains in both local and international markets.

Nadia Hoarau-Mwaura
Head of Africa and Middle East, Fairtrade International
Read Bio

Nadia has an international background in marketing and project management. She began working with Fairtrade International in September 2005 as Regional Coordinator East Africa. Since 2010, she has been managing the decentralized African and Middle East team. Within the Producer Services and Relations department, Nadia is responsible for the implementation of the regional strategy and its alignment with Fairtrade’s global mission and vision. Based at the head office in Bonn, Nadia’s role is key in building linkages between the regional operations and the variety of Fairtrade stakeholder and partners in the North.

Bronwyn Irwin
Senior Technical Director, ACDI/VOCA
Read Bio

Bronwyn is Senior Technical Director for Enterprise Development ACDI/VOCA and an agricultural economist with a strong focus on private sector-led agribusiness development. As Chief of Party for ACDI/VOCA’s Restoring Economic Agricultural Livelihoods in Zimbabwe Program, she managed a team of 26 to facilitate strengthened outgrower networks of five firms and leveraged over $90,000 in investment in inputs with smallholder farmers. Other assignments include serving as lead writer for the World Bank study on contract farming in Zimbabwe, writing a USAID study on using market mechanisms to impact food security in Zimbabwe, and writing the Agricultural Sector Guide for the USAID Global Development Alliance Office. Ms. Irwin has a M.Sc. in Agricultural Economics from Michigan State University and speaks fluent Spanish and intermediate French.

Dr. Fritz Jaekel
State Secretary in the Saxon State Ministry of the Environment and Agriculture
Read Bio

Fritz started his career in 1992 as academic assistant at the Institute for International Business Law of the University of Münster, where he was conferred a doctorate in international procedural law in 1994. Dr. Jaeckel has held numerous positions within the State Chancellery of Saxony during his career. Most notably, after the flood of the Elbe River, he took a position in the central office for post-flood reconstruction. In 2004, he became Head of Division for Cabinet, Parliamentary and Federal Affairs in the Saxon State Ministry of the Environment and Agriculture. In 2007, he moved to the Cabinet and Parliamentary Division of the State Chancellery of Saxony, and in April 2008, he became the Head of the Office of the Prime Minister. In March 2012, Dr. Jaeckel was appointed State Secretary in the Saxon State Ministry of the Environment and Agriculture.

Koert Jansen
Investment Officer Trade Finance, Triodos
Read Bio

Having completed a Masters in International Relations and Organizations, as well as an MBA, Koert joined Triodos Investment Management in 2003 as Investment Officer Trade Finance. Since 2008, he has been Fund Manager of Triodos Sustainable Trade Fund.

Juan Ketterer
Division Chief, Capital Markets and Finance at Inter-American Development Bank
Read Bio

Juan is the Division Chief, Capital Markets and Finance at the Inter-American Development Bank. He has written numerous scholarly articles on finance and mathematical economics and an award-winning book on interest rate risk management. Juan has a Ph. D. in Finance and Mathematical Economics, from the University of Minnesota and has served as a Professor and Research Fellow in Finance and Game Theory at both Carnegie Mellon University and Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern University.

Dr. Eberhard Krain
Advisor for Agricultural Sustainability Standards at GIZ
Read Bio

Dr. Eberhard Krain has been working for more than 20 years in long and short-term assignments in technical and research cooperation projects in several countries in Africa and Asia, mostly for GIZ. He is an agriculturalist by profession, well conversant with value chain promotion, rural development and decentralization and a seasoned trainer cum moderator. Since August 2010 he has worked at the GIZ headquarters as Advisor for Agricultural Sustainability Standards.

Cornel Kuhrt
Senior Manager Food Corporate Responsibility, Tchibo
Read Bio

Cornel has worked since 1989 in coffee when she started at the German coffee association where she gained experience with certification and sustainability before moving on to a small roaster in Germany. Cornel returned to the German coffee association in 2000, when the entire coffee sector was facing difficult times. She became member of the development unit of the 4C Association, today’s coffee sector baseline standard and platform. Since 2005, she has been working for Tchibo to contribute to bring the company’s goal “toward a 100% sustainable company” to life. In view of coffee this includes supporting procurement to turn conventional into sustainable coffee supply chains, to conduct and support various programs in origin, and to work together with other stakeholders in diverse networks.

John Leary
Senior Director of Training, ACDI/VOCA
Read Bio

John Leary is the senior director of training at ACDI/VOCA. Mr. Leary co-developed ACDI/VOCA’s Sell More For More™ program, linking farmer organizations to markets by improving their ability to meet quality specifications. Sell More For More™ was named a Best Practice by IFAD and InterAction. Mr. Leary oversees ACDI/VOCA’s other successful training programs, including Farming as a Business, Farmer Field School and the CEDAR climate change adaptation program. He has also developed over 30 e-learning tutorials, including two that were finalists in the e-Learning Global Giveback Competition. Mr. Leary is currently pursuing a PhD in mobile training technology.

Allison Loconto
Research Officer, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA)
Read Bio

Allison Loconto is a Research Officer at the National Institute for Agricultural Research in France. She holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Michigan State University and a MA in International Affairs and Development from American University. Dr. Loconto has significant field experience working with producers and standards-setters on sustainability standards systems. She has collaborated with FAO, ITC and the ISEAL Alliance. She has expertise in value chain governance, voluntary standards, and responsible innovation. Her research is published in the Review of International Political Economy, the Journal of Business Ethics and the International Journal of the Sociology of Agriculture and Food.

Charlene McKoin
Senior Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Read Bio

Charlene McKoin is a Senior Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where she works on the Access and Markets team focusing on integrated value chain development and post-harvest loss. Before joining the Gates Foundation in 2012, Ms. McKoin spent more than eight years working as “Chief of Party”, managing a variety of USAID funded agri-business, financial, nutrition and HIV/AIDS projects for Abt Associates, Cardno Emerging Markets and AFRICARE. Prior to her years in international development, Ms. McKoin spent 20 years in corporate, international structured trade, and project finance working for Bank of America, JP Morgan and Wells Fargo. She has lived and worked in Africa and Latin America with specific expertise in Lusophone countries including Brazil, Mozambique, Angola and Guinea Bissau.

John Mennel
Director, Private Sector Development, Deloitte
Read Bio

John Mennel is a Director with Deloitte Consulting where he leads the Private Sector Development Group to deliver services to development banks, donors, governments, and companies. He has over 20 years of experience in emerging markets economic development, specializing in export and investment promotion strategies, country competitiveness, food security, and policy. John has worked with investors on strategic investments with a focus on agriculture and agribusiness in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He has also directly advised clients at the Minister level or above in over 20 countries on various issues, including investment and export promotion. John holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Mariel Mensink
Regional Coordinator East Africa, Terrafina Microfinance
Read Bio

Mariel Mensink has over 25 years of work experience in microfinance and rural finance in Tanzania, India, Bhutan and Uganda, including five years of experience in value chain development in Tanzania. She is now working as the Regional Coordinator East Africa for Terrafina Microfinance and also has coordinated the eMFP rural innovation group from 2007-2010 and the working group on rural finance of the Dutch Microfinance platform since 2006.

Edward Millard
Director, Sustainable Landscapes, Rainforest Allianace
Read Bio

Edward is Director of Sustainable Landscapes in Rainforest Alliance, heading the program that supports farmers and small holder producer groups to apply sustainable agriculture practices and prepare for Rainforest Alliance certification. The work, in 30 tropical countries, includes developing local technical partnerships, promoting dialogue with government agencies, facilitating training and technical assistance to farmers and analyzing the impacts of certification. Edward is a graduate in Business Administration who worked previously with Oxfam Fair Trade and Conservation International. He has published books and articles on small-scale business development, is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Enterprise Development and Microfinance journal (UK), and Board Chair of Goodweave International, an international body to eradicate child labor in the rug industry.

Ruth Moloney
Head of Developmentand Sustainability, Americas, Armajaro Based in New York
Read Bio

Ruth has been managing Armajaro’s Development and Sustainability programs for the Americas since 2011. Ruth was previously the strategic cocoa buyer in Los Angeles for Nestlé USA. Before that she worked for Nestlé in sugar procurement for operations in Asia, Oceania and Africa. Ruth has a Bachelor of Agricultural Science from the University of Queensland. She also holds a Master of Commerce degree from the University of New South Wales. She grew up on a small crop farm in North Queensland, Australia. Ruth has previously been a board member of the Cocoa Merchants’ Association of America. She is currently on the board of Swisscontact North America.

Jeff Morgan
Director of Global Programs, Mars, Inc.
Read Bio

Jeff is Director of Global Programs for Mars, Incorporated, based at global headquarters, McLean, Virginia. With Mars since 1979, his efforts focus on the chocolate value chain. He is part of a program team in Côte d’Ivoire in which Mars supports national institutions to train farmers and distribute improved planting material - raising yields and incomes. Mars also works in communities to sensitize families and community leaders regarding responsible labor practices. Jeff serves on boards of the International Cocoa Initiative – a foundation that addresses child labor in cocoa – and the World Cocoa Foundation.

Felix Musau
CEO, MobiPay
Read Bio

Felix is the CEO and Founder of Mobipay, a seven year old company operating out of Kenya, recognized for its innovation in the provision of technologies and services that impact the masses with a special focus in agriculture. Felix is an experienced business professional with 10+ years of senior management experience in strategy, startup, sales, marketing, business development and operations in the telco and financial services industry. In the past, Felix has founded two startups and has worked and consulted with global brands including British Telcom and UUnet (Now Mtn Business) in various capacities.

Anthony Ngugi
SMS Regional Program Coodinator, Ecom Trading
Read Bio

Anthony is responsible for design and management of Ecom Agroindustrial Corp’s sustainability program in East Africa, mainly in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. He has rich experience in smallholder farmer projects and is in his fourth year working at Ecom. Within Ecom, he has implemented projects sponsored by Ecom, Mars, IFC, Solidaridad and Hivos, among others. Anthony holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agriculture Finance and has eight years of experience in the coffee industry.

Amy Paulose
President, Ames International
Read Bio

As President of AMES International, Amy has been with the organization for more than 15 years. As an active participant in the global expansion efforts of the company, she has played a key role at various operational stages from raw material sourcing to product development, finance and strategic business development. With the companies first international operations in Kerala, India, she has taken a keen interest in understanding how to bridge the gap between the needs and expectations of global retailers and consumers and the capabilities of raw material suppliers in developing countries.

George Paulose
CEO, Ames International
Read Bio

As Chairman and CEO of AMES International, George has more than 45 years of experience in the global market place. Extensively traveling and conducting business throughout Asia, Europe and the Middle East, George brings a wealth of experience, analysis and expertise as it relates to the changing global business environment. As the principal visionary for the organization, he led the efforts in building AMES first International manufacturing facility in Kerala, India. Prior to AMES, George led the strategic planning and research and development efforts for several global paper companies including International Paper and Weyerhaeuser.

Roger Peltzer
Head of Special Programs, DEG
Read Bio

Roger is Head of the Special Programs Department at the German Investment and Development Corporation (DEG), a member of the KfW banking group, and Project Director of the Competitive African Cotton Initiative (COMPACI). He has more than 25 years of experience in the field of agribusiness development in Sub-Sahara Africa through his work as a Senior Investment Manager for DEG, his board membership in various agribusiness as well as commercial and development banks and his involvement in the set up and financing of outgrower schemes for small scale farmers. He has extensive knowledge of the Sub-Saharan African cotton sector and since 2006, he has been managing the COMPACI program that aims to sustainably improve the living standard of 470,000 African cotton farmers and their families.

Sandi Roberts
Regional Technical Advisor, Fintrac
Read Bio

Sandi holds an MSc degree in Agriculture majoring in Horticulture from the University of Natal, South Africa and is currently based in Harare, Zimbabwe. She has over 20 years of commercial experience advising growers on all aspects of vegetable production in Zimbabwe and the region and extensive contacts with commercial operations and NGOs in the DRC, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia. Sandi is recognized as an expert trainer of the EU-funded Pesticide Initiative Program for horticultural exporters in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Namibia. Her training expertise is in the area of Train the Trainers, crop protection, safe use of pesticides, integrated pest management, scouting techniques and good agricultural practices. She is currently working with smallholder farmers on irrigation schemes in Zimbabwe, incorporating them into the export horticulture value chains.

Martha Rosas
Project Coordinator, CONABIO
Read Bio

Since 2009, as Director for International Cooperation of the Biological Corridors and Resources Coordination Unit at Conabio, Martha has worked on the Sustainable Production Systems and Biodiversity Project, which she now coordinates. The project intends to support producer associations to introduce biodiversity-friendly production and management practices and enable them to gain or increase access to markets that reward biodiversity-friendly goods and services. The project will be launched in April 2013 and will be implemented by Conabio in Mexico with funding from the GEF and support from the World Bank. Martha holds an MA in Environment, Development and Policy from the University of Sussex, UK.


Marco Rosini
Director of Sustainable Agri-Business, ResponsAbility Social Investments AG
Read Bio

As Director of Sustainable Agri-Business, Marco is responsible for coordinating ResponsAbility\s overall approach on topics related to fair trade, sustainable agri-business, and their short- and long-term financing, globally. Marco brings nearly 20 years of professional experience in the banking industry, including six years at Crédit Lyonnais. At Société Générale, he served as Director of Commodity Finance, where he was in charge of structured transactions of soft commodities, such as cotton, cocoa, coffee, sugar, and fertilizers, in Africa, the Middle East and Asia for more than ten years. Marco took part in a credit-rating project for fair-trade-producer organizations sponsored by Max Havelaar France and the Fairtrade Labelling Organization (FLO) during a sabbatical. He holds a degree in Finance and Business Administration from the University of Venice, Italy.

Pilar Santacoloma
Agribusiness Economist, FAO
Read Bio

Pilar Santacoloma is an Agribusiness Economist at FAO. She holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from University of Hohenheim, Germany and a M.Sc. in Agricultural Economics, National University of Colombia, Bogotá. Her professional experience in agricultural economics and rural development includes expertise on agribusiness public-private partnerships, market linkages, value chain development, enterprise development, food safety and quality, and project design and management in East Africa and parts of Asia, East Europe and Latin America. She has published numerous analytical reports and capacity development materials both for FAO and international journals.

Claudia Schmerler
Principal Sector Economist, KfW
Read Bio

Claudia Schmerler has been with KfW Development Bank for the past six and a half years. She is a Principal Sector Economist in the competence center of KfW for financial sector development and global funds. As such, she has strategic and operational responsibilities – amongst others in the areas of MSME and rural/agro finance. Claudia is particularly familiar with several international microfinance holdings and funds. She is a member of the supervisory board as well as investment and TA committee of an internationally active microfinance debt and equity fund that focus on rural development (Rural Impulse Fund ll). Prior to her current position, Claudia worked as a project manager responsible for financial sector projects in Asia. Before joining KfW, Claudia worked for the German Technical Cooperation (today GIZ) in the area of rural and private sector development. Claudia holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Leipzig.

Howard Shapiro
Chief Agricultural Officer, MARS
Read Bio

Howard is Chief Agricultural Officer at Mars, Incorporated, a Senior Fellow in the Department of Plant Sciences, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at University of California, Davis, and a Distinguished Fellow at World Agroforestry Centre in Nairobi, Kenya. Howard has been involved with sustainable agricultural and agroforestry systems, pattern recognition, plant breeding, molecular biology and genetics for over 40 years, releasing hundreds of cultivars into the public domain. In September 2011, he announced the formation of the African Orphan Crops Consortium, which was set up to sequence, assemble and annotate 100 of the key African food crops. Two plant breeding academies are being set up to train senior scientists and technicians on the methods of Marker Assisted Selection/Breeding to speed new cultivars to the African rural population.

Blaine Stephens
Chief Operations Officer and Executive Vice President, MIX Global Operations
Read Bio

Blaine is responsible for MIX’s global operations, ensuring relevant coverage of the microfinance market, managing MIX’s team of microfinance analysts, publishing and training widely on MFI performance and leading MIX’s efforts to standardize microfinance reporting. He brings training experience from the United Nations’s UNCDF Microfinance unit and retail microfinance experience from Al Amana, Morocco’s leading microfinance provider. Blaine holds a B.A. in International Relations from Claremont McKenna College and a Masters of International Affairs from Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs. He speaks French, Arabic, and German.

Nurul Amin Siddiquee
Coordinator, Agriculture and Value Chains, Extreme Rural Poverty Program, CARE Bangladesh
Read Bio

Nurul is leading the agriculture and value chains portfolio at CARE Bangladesh and is one of the key contributors to CARE’s global value chain programme development in Asia and Africa. His food and non-food value chain expertise are in some of the most promising sectors and value chains in the Northwest and Southern Delta. This includes large agriculture extension project(s) as well as dairy, horticulture, jute and aquaculture value chains in Bangladesh funded by USAID, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Royal Dutch Embassy of Netherlands and the EU. During the last six years, Siddiquee has developed some of Bangladesh’s most innovative value chain development activities in dairy and horticulture including micro-franchising in input service delivery.

Tina Stridde
Managing Director, AbTF
Read Bio

Tina Stridde is one of the Managing Directors of the Aid by Trade Foundation. She is responsible for Marketing, Communication and Sales for the Cotton made in Africa initiative, which aims to sustainably improve the living standards of African smallholder cotton farmers and their families through trade, marketing the label to leading retailers and fashion brands worldwide. Prior to joining the Foundation, Tina worked as Senior Consultant in the Corporate Social Responsibility department of the Otto Group, managing the Group’s sustainable assortments, e.g. organic cotton or wood from sustainable sources and CSR Communication. Tina studied Business Administration in Germany, France and the USA and specialized in advertising. Before joining the Otto Group she worked in strategic marketing for international advertising agencies.

Francesco Tramontin
Director of Sustainability for Europe, Mondelēz International (formerly Kraft Foods)
Read Bio

As the Director of Sustainability for Europe at Mondelēz International (formerly Kraft Foods Inc.), Francesco Tramontin is responsible for driving sustainability as a business strategy across Mondelēz European business operations. Prior to heading up sustainability at Mondelēz, Francesco worked at Kraft Foods’ Headquarters where he was responsible for coordinating the company’s global sustainability and environmental activities with special focus on agricultural commodities. In this role he managed Kraft Foods regular relationship with NGOs and external partners. Previously, Francesco worked in EU public/government affairs in Brussels for Cargill and then Kraft Foods, focusing on environmental, trade and agricultural policy.

Kerry Turner
Manager, Source Trust
Read Bio

For the last three years, Kerry has been responsible for the management of Source Trust, a not-for-profit organization established by Armajaro Trading to help farmers improve their livelihoods through better crop yields and quality, achieved through sustainable farming practices. Prior to joining Source Trust, Kerry managed the corporate charity partnerships of the Royal Mail Group, bringing a commercial approach to charitable initiatives, ensuring business wide support across the Group. Kerry previously served as a Commercial Manager at Marks & Spencer before taking a career break to backpack around Australia and New Zealand. Kerry began her career by gaining 6 years of experience in the charity and not-for-profit sector, gained at one of the UKs largest national charities, where she advised and developed their network of local affiliated groups across London.

Kerstin Uhlig
Manager, GLOBALG.A.P
Read Bio

Kerstin has worked with GLOBALG.A.P. since May 2004 and is responsible for corporate relations. This includes projects with GLOBALG.A.P. members and stakeholders such as the development of entry level standards to introduce food safety and sustainability standards in emerging markets. Kerstin has developed an awareness-raising tool to assess social risks in primary production, the GLOBALG.A.P. Risk Assessment on Social Practice (GRASP) and the Smallholder Ambassador project in public private partnership projects with GIZ. She studied sociology, politics and psychology with a focus on development cooperation and empirical studies at the Universities of Bremen, Alicante and Hamburg. Kerstin has five years of experience in practical, quantitative and qualitative social research and speaks German, English, Spanish and French.

Rémy Vandame
Researcher in Tropical Bees Ecology, ECOSUR
Read Bio

Since 2000, Remy has been a Researcher in tropical bees ecology at El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (Ecosur), a public research center of Mexico. His main focus is on bee’s biodiversity studies, with application to regional development and environmental conservation in Chiapas, southern Mexico. Remy holds a PhD in Ecology from the University of Lyon, France.

Bernai Velarde
Senior Private Sector Development Advisor, United States Agency for International Development
Read Bio

Bernai is a Senior Private Sector Development Advisor for the United States Agency for International Development. He has worked with USAID for more than 30 years, promoting commercial sector engagement and public and private sector partnerships through value and supply chain arrangements. He has extensive experience working with commercial banks, cooperatives and finance companies to services micro, small and medium businesses. He has worked extensively linking international and national private businesses with small rural producers, identifying new market opportunities to support employment generation and increased incomes. Bernai has a master’s degree in Economic Policy form the University of Oklahoma and a B.S. degree in Economics from Florida State University.

Lindsay Wallace
Program Manager, Microfinance Team, The MasterCard Foundation
Read Bio

Lindsay is Program Manager on the Microfinance Team at The MasterCard Foundation. She brings over fifteen years of experience in economic development, having lived and worked in numerous countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America. She recently led the Economic Growth Team of the UK Department for International Development’s Rwanda office where she established a large microfinance support project along with a portfolio of growth-related projects agriculture, land tenure reform, and trade. Lindsay holds a Master’s in Economics from the University of Toronto, a Master’s of Public Policy from Carleton University, as well as an undergraduate degree from McGill University.

Christof Walter
Director, Christof Walter Consulting Ltd
Read Bio

Christof Walter is a management consultant specialized in agri-supply chains and sustainable agriculture. Formerly with Unilever, Christof strongly shaped the company’s sustainable sourcing and smallholder farmer programs. He now works with leading brands in the retail, agri-food and investment sectors, helping his clients develop and implement strategies for sustainability. Christof has a special interest in farming and climate change and in agri-sourcing opportunities from smallholder production systems. He has a PhD in Horticultural Sciences and a background in agronomy, economics and environmental sciences.

Morag Webb
Head of PIP Market Access Component and Policy Advisor for the Director, PIP?COLEACP
Read Bio

Morag Webb holds a B.Sc. in Environmental Science (Applied Ecology) and a M.Sc. in Tropical Pest Management. She has 25 years of experience in tropical agriculture notably in IPM, farmer participatory research and smallholder farming. In the past she managed several projects financed by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) in South America and Africa, as well as advising the DFID Crop Protection Programme. After a number of years within the Capacity Building Component, Morag is now Head of PIP Market Access Component as well as acting as Policy Advisor for the Director. Morag represents the Programme in numerous international forums and technical working groups.

Emerson Zhou
Executive Director, Beira Agricultural Growth Corridor
Read Bio

Emerson Zhou is the Executive Director the Beira Agricultural Growth Corridor (BAGC), a Public Private Partnership which aims to promote investment in the agriculture sector in central Mozambique by facilitating entry of socially responsible investors who are willing to develop business models that support smallholder farmers. Emerson is an Agricultural Economist with over 25 years of experience in managing and providing technical assistance to “inclusive” agribusiness support initiatives in Africa. He holds an MSc degree from the University of London as well as an Advanced Diploma in Accounting and Finance.

This conference is organized by Connexus Corporation