Speakers

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Hilda Abambire
Value Chain Coordinator, GROW Project, MEDA
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Hilda is a development worker with 10 years of experience in the development sector both local and international NGOs in areas such as food security, value chain, women empowerment and poverty alleviation projects. Hilda is MEDA Ghana’s Value Chain Coordinator and currently facilitates linkages and access to market between value chain actors and the GROW Women farmers. GROW (Greater Rural Opportunities for Women) project is a 6-year, GAC funded project which is helping 20,000 women farmers in Northern Ghana improve their household food security. She holds a Masters degree in Business Administration from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana.

Rumana Akhter Tulee
Senior Executive Officer, Agent Banking, Bank Asia
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Rumana Akhter Tulee works in Product Development and Project Management for the Agent Banking Service of Bank Asia Limited. She is an engineer by profession but a banker by choice. Since 2006, she has utilized her strengths to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the banking departments that she worked for. She has more than 8 years of experience in alternative delivery channels as a Product Development & Customer Service Management Personnel. Rumana has worked for Trust Bank Limited, Mercantile Bank Limited with an expertise in Alternative Delivery Channels.


Eelco Baan
Global Coordinator of Sustainable Markets, SNV
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Eelco Baan is SNV’s Global Coordinator of Sustainable Markets. Eelco has worked with SNV since 1999, focusing on inclusive agricultural value chain development, agricultural commercialization, and income generation for SMEs. On behalf of Triodos Bank, he served on the board of Sathapana Ltd., a Micro Finance Institute with a loan portfolio of more than USD $100 million and over 60,000 clients. Eelco received his MSc in Business Administration from Erasmus University, Rotterdam, in The Netherlands.

Joanna Blackwell
Project Manager, Chemonics International
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Joanna Blackwell is an agriculture and food security project manager for Chemonics’ East and Southern Africa Division. She manages a climate change adaptation program supporting coastal city resilience in Mozambique, and spent the past two years supporting an agriculture policy and climate change adaptation activity in Uganda. She joined Chemonics in 2007, supporting proposal development and various competitiveness economic growth programs in the Eastern Europe and Eurasia portfolio.


Melanie Bittle
Chief of Party, USAID Rwanda Private Sector Driven Agricultural Growth (PSDAG) Project, IRG, a Subsidiary of RTI International
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Melanie Bittle is Chief of Party for PSDAG. Previously, Ms. Bittle worked on the USAID Food and Enterprise Development (FED) program in Liberia, as well as with the USAID Afghanistan Small and Medium Enterprise Development (ASMED) project. She has a M.A. in International Affairs, a B.B.A in Finance, and served in the Peace Corps in Nicaragua.

Roongchat Boonyarat
Director and Chief Operation Officer, Malee
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Roongchat has been working at MALEE for 8 years as a second generation and has helped MALEE double the business from an annual revenue of THB 3 billion to THB 6 billion. Her vision is to not only expand Malee beyond fruits into health and well-being categories, but also to expand MALEE beyond Thailand.Prior to joining the Company, Khun Roongchat received her Master’s Degree in MBA from Sasin Graduate Insititute of Business Administration of Chulalongkorn University, and her Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Bowdoin College, Maine USA. She also obtained a Certificate from Directors Certification Program, Thai Institute of Directors in Thailand in 2014.


Peris Bosire
Co-Founder, Farm Drive (Kenya)
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Peris Bosire is a social entrepreneur from Kenya who grew up in a remote smallholder farming community, experiencing first-hand the daily struggles of smallholder farming. Peris is the founder of FarmDrive a fintech company improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in Africa using simple mobile phones and alternative credit scoring models to increase flow of capital from financial institutions to underserved smallholder farmers. Peris has a First Class Honours BSc. Computer Science degree from the University of Nairobi and has been awarded the prestigious 2016 Queen’s Young Leaders Award from Her Majesty the Queen and the 2016 Commonwealth Youth Awards for Excellence in Development Work in recognition of her outstanding role in transforming livelihoods and making a lasting difference in communities - contributing to global development.

Elizabeth Buckingham
Foreign Affairs Officer, Office of Global Food Security, U.S. Department of State
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Elizabeth Buckingham is a Foreign Affairs Officer in the Secretary’s Office of Global Food Security at the U.S. Department of State. She is responsible for overseeing nutrition and gender integration in the U.S. government’s food security policies and programs such as Feed the Future. Ms. Buckingham is also responsible for the State Department’s engagement on food security and nutrition in the G20, APEC, the UN General Assembly, the Committee on World Food Security, and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.


Anita Campion
President & CEO, Connexus
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Anita is an economist with more than 20 years of experience in international and US finance and private sector development. She is a rural and agricultural finance expert and has authored a primer, FS SHARE Primer #8: Rural and Agricultural Finance for Food Security, for USAID. Anita managed a youth and enterprise development project in the DRC and assisted in the launch of UNCDF’s YouthStart. Previously, she managed the Financial Sector portfolio for Chemonics International, overseeing projects related to small and medium enterprise finance, insurance, leasing and investment funds, as well as regulation and supervision of microfinance institutions. Anita has designed and led participatory trainings in English, Spanish and French.

Sandrine Chetail
Director, Agriculture, Mercy Corps
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Sandrine Chetail is the Director for the Agriculture Technical Support Unit of Mercy Corps. She is responsible for defining Mercy Corps’ strategic positioning in agriculture programming, representing Mercy Corps among the agriculture and development community, and assisting country teams in strategic agricultural program development and implementation. Sandrine brings over 15 years of professional experience in international development in West Africa and South East Asia.


Eddie Chew
Head of Corporate Affairs, Syngenta
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Eddie Chew is Head of Corporate Affairs for Syngenta in ASEAN. Based in Singapore, he is responsible for issues management and stakeholder engagement across six key markets in the territory. He joined Syngenta in 2013 as the Corporate Affairs Business Partner for the Global Rice Strategic Crop Unit, with additional responsibilities as the Head of Public Policy for the Asia Pacific region. Previously, he championed corporate social responsibility initiatives at DBS Bank and Cargill in Asia.

Caitlin Coast
Director of Business Development, Chemonics International, Supply Chains Solutions Division
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Caitlin Coast is the director of business development for Chemonics’ Supply Chain Solutions Division. Based in Washington, DC, she is responsible for overseeing supply chain program design, proposal management, and partnerships for Chemonics. She joined Chemonics in 2010, supporting Chemonics’ agriculture and food security efforts with a regional focus on East Africa.


Mamadou Diop
Finance and Investment Advisor, Nataal Mbay Project, IRG, a subsidiary of RTI International
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Mamadou Diop is the Finance and Investment Advisor of the Feed the Future Senegal Naatal Mbay Project. He is an expert in agriculture value chain finance with experience in donor funded international development projects; financial sector and investment climate in Africa; SME finance and agribusiness development.

Emmanuel Dormon
Chief of Party, ADVANCE Project, ACDI/VOCA
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Dr Emmanuel Dormon is the ADVANCE Chief of Party. He is an agricultural economist with over 20 years of experience in value chain development, agricultural advisory and extension services, and M&E. Emmanuel has been working with ADVANCE since its first phase during which he served as Deputy Chief of Party. He has a PhD in social sciences, a Master’s degree in management of agricultural knowledge systems both from the Wageningen University and Research Center, and a BSc. Agriculture.


David Dyer
Chief of Party, Sri Lanka SOLID, Chemonics International
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Mr. Dyer is the Chief of Party for the USAID-funded Sri Lanka Supporting Opportunities for Livelihoods Development (SOLID) Pilot Activity and has over 20 years of experience leading multifaceted agriculture projects and organizations, including more than 10 years overseeing USAID-funded projects in South and East Asia. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from The American University and has a proven track record of integrating food security and utilizing the facilitative value chain approach to enhance agricultural productivity, market linkages, local institutional capacity, SME access to finance, and household livelihoods.

Rashmi Ekka
Co-Founder, Queen Sheba Winery
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Rashmi is an international development consultant and has worked in microfinance and agricultural development. Her passion for working in agribusiness and entrepreneurship led her to taking the helm of Queen Sheba Winery – an Ethiopian honey winery based out of California. She is now working on expanding the winery to Ethiopia. Rashmi continues to work in the development sector and has an MBA from UC Davis.


Gert Engelen
VECO International
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Gert Engelen is working for the international network organization VECO which is committed to linking smallholder farmers to markets and build sustainable food chains between different companies. Currently Gert is focusing on co-creative trajectories between different actors in Belgian food chains to look for innovative pilots and upscaling programs which contribute to systemic changes and break-troughs at the level of sustainability and a better inclusion of smallholder farmers.

Shaun Ferris
Director of Agriculture and Livelihoods, Catholic Relief Services
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Shaun works with the Agricultural Livelihoods team at CRS to develop strategies that support smallholder farmers to improve their food, financial and nutritional security. His specific responsibilities include developing marketing and training materials to build the agro-enterprise capacity of field staff, and working with public and private sector agencies to develop new business models for inclusive market linkage.


Katie Garcia
Division Chief, Private Sector Engagement Division in the Office of Market and Partnership Innovations, USAID BFS
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Katie Garcia leads the Private Sector Engagement Division in the Office of Market and Partnership Innovations in USAID's Bureau for Food Security. She engages food and agriculture companies and promotes agricultural markets systems development. Prior to joining the Agency, she managed USAID-funded projects in Latin America and Caribbean and served as an agroforestry and environmental education Peace Corps Volunteer in El Salvador. She holds a Masters in International Economic Relations and a Bachelors in Anthropology.

Amanda Grevey
Manager, Palladium Group
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Amanda Grevey is a Manager at Palladium, where she serves as a technical advisor and project manager for projects within Palladium’s economic growth portfolio, including the USAID Financing Ghanaian Agriculture Project (USAID-FINGAP), a 5-year project focused on mobilizing finance and investment for staple food value chains in the North of Ghana. Amanda specializes in agricultural finance and investment, Public-Private Partnership (PPP) development, supply chain management, and transport and logistics. She has an MS in International Development and International Business Diplomacy from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service (MSFS) in Washington, DC.


Dr. David Hall
Chief of Party, USAID/Philippines Science, Technology, Research, and Innovation for Development (STRIDE) Program, RTI International
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Dr. David Hall is the Chief of Party for the USAID Philippines Science, Technology, Research, and Innovation for Development (STRIDE) Program. His past roles have included Dean of Engineering at universities in the UK and in the UAE as well as Director of the Appropriate Technology Center at Kenyatta University in Kenya. More recently, he was Chief of Party for the USAID Excellence in Higher Education for Liberian Development (EHELD) Project.

Gibran Huzaifah
Founder and CEO, eFishery
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Gibran is a former fish farmer turned agriculture tech entrepreneur, and the founder and CEO of eFishery, an Internet of Things (IoT) startup that manufactures smart fish feeding technology which claims to reduce the amount of feed fish farmers use by 21%. eFishery is the first IoT startup in Indonesia to receive venture funding, backed by Ideosource and Aquaspark in Sept 2015, and currently is one of the most distinguished AgTech startups in Southeast Asia.


Andi Ikhwan
Agriculture and Financial Services Program Director, Mercy Corps
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Andi Ikhwan is the Agriculture and Financial Services Program Director for Mercy Corps in Indonesia, and works with the Agrifin Mobile Program. He is an access-to-finance expert with 16 years’ experience supporting the financial sector and diverse stakeholders in Indonesia. Before joining Mercy Corps, he worked as a consultant for access to finance of smallholder farmers, micro, small and medium enterprises, and is well-connected with Indonesia Financial Service Authority, Bank Indonesia and the Ministry of Cooperatives and SMEs. Equipped with experience in designing capacity building programs, he is skilled in designing incentives for smallholder farmers, micro and small entrepreneurs with long-term impact potential, including how to use digital channels to achieve objectives and strengthen businesses.

Alison Ion
Project Manager, Palladium Group
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Alison Ion is a value chain and market development specialist, with a focus on agriculture and private sector development projects across Africa, Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe. As a manager, she has been a key part of Palladium’s US Economic Growth and Livelihoods team for five years, conducting sector assessments, market studies, and designing and implementing market oriented economic growth projects. Specific areas of technical expertise include agricultural value chain development, export development, access to finance, investment and trade promotion, and public-private partnerships. She holds an MS in International Development from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service (MSFS) in Washington, DC and a BA in International Relations from The American University of Paris.


Nicholas Issaka Gbana
Team Lead, Trade and Marketing, ADVANCE Project, ACDI/VOCA
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Nicholas has 25 years of experience in management consulting and project management covering agricultural value chain development, strategy, corporate finance, organizational capacity development, audit and financial management in Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. He is currently Team Lead for the Trade and Marketing component of the USAID Agricultural Development and Value Chain Enhancement Project (ADVANCE) in Ghana. He is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (Ghana) and holds a BSc Administration degree from the University of Ghana Business School.

Abhineet Jain
Regional Director, Sales Engineering (Asia Pacific), Digital Globe
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Abhineet Jain is the Regional Director of Sales Engineering and Business Development for DigitalGlobe’s Asia Pacific region. Mr. Jain holds a Masters in Botany from the Indian Institute of Remote Sensing. Over his 20 year career, Mr. Jain has served various roles for leading companies in the industry. He has particular expertise in Environment & Forestry, Disaster Management, and remote sensing applications.


Xie Jing
Senior Program Coordinator, Mercy Corps
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Xie Jing works for Mercy Corps China, helping humanitarian aid programs in response to earthquakes and recovery and development programs for rural communities and market development. She is a gender trainer and promoter, integrating gender into program management. She has been working with multiple partners to leverage the private sectors involved in rural market development. She piloted and demonstrated urban and rural market linkages through E-commerce by connecting farmers directly to end-consumers, cutting out the middlemen, and encouraging farmers to modernize and improve the quality of their products.

Joachim Kutoyi
Project Officer, Livestock Production, Catholic Relief Services, Kenya Country Program
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Joachim Kutoyi is a Kenyan veterinarian with 8 years’ experience in the dairy sector. He has extensive understanding working with small scale dairy farmers organized into cooperatives societies towards access to and utilization of agricultural inputs, skills, services and markets. Joachim is with CRS Kenya as a project officer for the Kiambu airy project providing technical support. He is pursuing an MSc in Animal Genetics and Breeding.


Annah Latane
Food Security and Agriculture Specialist, RTI International
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Annah Latané is a global food security and agriculture specialist at RTI International. She currently manages the development of a mobile app platform for the Smallholder Alliance for Sorghum in Haiti. She also works on reduction of post-harvest losses in smallholder agriculture as part of the monitoring and evaluation team for The Rockefeller Foundation’s YieldWise initiative. Ms. Latané earned undergraduate degrees in agricultural and applied economics and international studies from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She also holds a Master’s degree in applied economics from Oregon State University.

Mar Maestre
Researcher, IDS
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Mar Maestre is an international development researcher with the Business and Development Center at IDS. She uses systems thinking as well as participatory and qualitative methods to understand the different market pathways (eg. market systems approaches, agri-food value chains) towards more sustainable and equitable outcomes, such as nutrition or women’s empowerment. She has over 10 years of professional experience, which combine an international development profile with investment banking professional experience.


Bidyuth Mahalder
Chief of Party, USAID Agricultural Extension Support Activity, Dhaka Ahsania Mission
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Bidyuth K. Mahalder is the Chief of Party of USAID's Agricultural Extension Support Activity Project. He has been working for over 23 years on food security, agricultural extension, rice research, community development, and ICT for rural farming families. His research involves household food security, ICT applications for agricultural extension, smallholders’ access to market information and ICT-based microfinance services, and their impacts on improvement of household livelihoods. He holds an MBA, a M.Sc. in Agricultural Engineering, and a Master's degree in GIS.

Melissa Matlock
Project Manager, Connexus
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Melissa is a Project Manager at Connexus where she manages and provides support to programs and new business development. Previously, she worked at the SEEP Network on microfinance association strengthening in Brazil and Africa and coordinated the Social Performance Working Group for Networks. Prior to SEEP, Melissa served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Costa Rica. She holds a BA in Global Studies and Economics from North Central College and is fluent in Spanish.


Karis McGill
Project Coordinator and Grants Specialist, USAID/Rwanda PSDAG Project
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Karis McGill is a global food security and agriculture specialist at RTI International. She currently works as a Project Coordinator and Grants Specialist on the USAID/Rwanda PSDAG project, which aims to increase smallholder farmer incomes by facilitating private sector investment into agriculture. Ms. McGill earned undergraduate degrees in International Relations and Economics from Mills College, and she holds a master's degree in International Development with a concentration on Agriculture from American University.

Josephine Miingi Kaiza
Co-founder, BRiTEN
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Josephine Miingi Kaiza is an experienced international consultant who has worked across Kenya, Tanzania, and Malawi for international organizations managing programs funded by USAID, AGRA, WFP, AFAP, and Comic Relief. She has more than 15 years of experience managing non-profit organizations and agricultural development projects across the input and output value chains, designing and overseeing socio-economic studies for projects, and engaging in agricultural development programs that have a significant impact on smallholder farmer incomes and livelihoods. In Tanzania, Ms. Miingi successfully headed CNFA, a US-based international non-profit organization, and later founded BRiTEN (Building Rural Incomes Through Enterprise), a non-profit organization that works to increase incomes and improve livelihoods by empowering rural agribusinesses. BRiTEN was a key partner in an RTI International-led pilot project to test ICT use in Tanzania last year.


Daniel Miller
Deputy Director, Economic Growth and Agriculture Office, USAID/Pakistan
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Daniel Miller is the Deputy Director (Agriculture), Office of Economic Growth and Agriculture, USAID/Pakistan. He has worked for USAID for 16 years, serving in Nepal, Afghanistan, India, Philippines, Papua New Guinea and Mongolia. He has a Master’s Degree in Forestry from the University of Montana, Missoula, Montana with an emphasis on rangeland ecology. He has done research on nomadic pastoral systems in Bhutan, China, Nepal and Mongolia and was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nepal.

Hillary Miller-Wise
CEO, ESOKO
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Hillary Miller-Wise is CEO of Esoko, a pioneer in mobile agriculture. She is leading the company through a pivot towards mCommerce for smallholder farmers. Prior to joining Esoko, she led Grameen Foundation’s ICT4D portfolio across Africa, serve as Country Director and Regional Director at TechnoServe, and spent six years in management consulting. She started her career in microfinance, running an MFI in Tanzania. She holds an MBA from INSEAD and a Master’s in International Economics from Johns Hopkins University-SAIS.


Tracy Mitchell
Chief of Party, Growth, Health and Governance program, Mercy Corps
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Tracy Mitchell is the Chief of Party with Mercy Corps for the USAID Growth, Health and Governance program in the Karamoja region of Uganda, focused on maternal and child health, governance and livelihood development. Tracy has worked in international development for 17 years focused mostly on economic development programming in Africa and the former Soviet Union

Mubashra Mukadas
Development Specialist, Economic Growth and Agriculture Office, USAID/Pakistan
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Dr. Mubashra Mukadas is a development specialist and senior agriculture sector advisor, Office of Economic Growth and Agriculture, USAID/Pakistan. A veterinarian with more than 18 years of experience in Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates, her expertise includes project design and implementation and extending technologies and innovation for agricultural development. Before joining USAID, she worked with ADB, GTZ, CIDA and other donors and with the private sector providing technical advice on livestock and dairy development.


Pornpen Nartpiriyarat
Head of Quality, Tesco
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Ms. Pornpen Nartpiriyarat is Head of Quality at Tesco Lotus, Thailand’s leading multi-channel retailer, operating 1,800 stores nationwide and online shopping platforms. As Head of Quality, Ms. Pornpen is responsible for ensuring that all of the products sold at Tesco Lotus meet the stringent safety and quality standards required by the Thai government and international bodies. This is particularly important for fresh food items. Ms. Pornpen and her team have been working very closely with farmers across Thailand, in collaboration with various government agencies, to uplift farming practices and increase productivity. Tesco Lotus currently sources more than 150,000 tons of fruits and vegetables per year through its direct sourcing program, and aims to increase the volume every year.

Machteld Ooijens
Senior Advisor, ICCO Cooperation
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Machteld Ooijens is senior advisor of the Dutch NGO ICCO and has her own company, Partnering for Social Impact. She has ample experience within a range of internationally operating organizations (UN, government, research, NGOs). She was member of ICCO’s management team (responsible for global thematic policies) and continues supporting ICCO’s regional office in South America in the creation and implementation of the Manq’a model. Machteld holds a Master in Economics and in Cultural Anthropology and finished a post-University degree (2015) in Corporate Social Responsibility.


Nataly Pinto Alvaro
VECO International
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Nataly Pinto Alvaro is an expert in sustainable territorial development and works as advisor at Veco, an international organization that seeks to improve the living conditions of small farmers, generating evidences of good practices in the field while reinforcing urban – rural linkages by developing strategies together with cities. Their work aims at transitioning towards sustainable food systems and connecting with several partners from around the world interested in taking part in this, locally and internationally.

Katherine Pittore
Nutrition Convenor, IDS
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Katherine Pittore is a nutrition convenor within the health and nutrition cluster with a background in advocacy work and a current interest in improving the nutritional impact of agricultural value chains, evidence based advocacy, and how to monitor the impact of advocacy and policy engagement. She is a nutritionist by training and has previously worked in nutrition programming and nutrition advocacy in the UK and overseas


Andrew Powell
CEO, Asia BioBusiness
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Andrew Powell has worked as a consultant in the public and private sectors since 1994 and founded Asia BioBusiness with Professor Paul Teng in 2005, where they developed the Rice Bowl Index. Recent clients include APEC, USDA, the US State Department, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Chilean Ministry of Agriculture, the Asia Productivity Organization, and Tate and Lyle’s Open Innovation group. He studied Biological Sciences at Edinburgh University and obtained his PhD in Plant Physiology from the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Dr. Thomas Reardon
Professor of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics, Michigan State University
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Tom Reardon is a Professor of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics at Michigan State University and worked for the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). Tom is an expert on urbanization, diet transformation, transformation of agrifood value chains, including the “supermarket revolution” and the “Quiet Revolution” in the proliferation of SMEs in supply chains. Tom has over 30 years of combined experience in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. He most recently wrote the Chicago Council for Global Affairs 2016 report, “Growing Food for Growing Cities: Transforming food systems in an urbanizing world.” He holds a Ph.D from UC Berkeley.


Saumil Shah
Managing Director & Founder, Energaia
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Saumil Shah is the managing director and founder of EnerGaia, a biotech social enterprise that produces sustainable, healthy food products from microalgae. While at EnerGaia he has: developed a new algae bioreactor system (patent pending); built three commercial spirulina farms; and assembled a top-notch local team to support the company’s goals and objectives. The company has won several international awards and been recognized globally as a pioneer in its field by the international press.

Laura Smith
Operations Manager, Connexus
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Laura is an economist by training with 20 years of experience providing technical assistance and support to small businesses. She has experience working on youth and extending financial services to them in Africa. Prior to serving as Connexus’s Operations Manager, Laura spent 10 years as an Economist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC, working on pesticide and agricultural issues.


Catherine Sobrevega
Country Project Manager, Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA)
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Catherine Sobrevega, MEDA’s Country Project Manager in Ghana, is a Management and Industrial Engineer. She has a Master's degree in Management from Atlantic International University in USA. She is a Certified Development Project Manager from PM4DEV. Catherine has been primarily involved in implementing economic development and women projects in post-conflict countries like Bosnia, Eritrea, Afghanistan, the Philippines, Bangladesh and Ghana.

Kipp Sutton
Agricultural Team Lead, USAID Regional Development Mission/Asia
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Kipp Sutton is the Agriculture Team Lead for USAID’s Regional Development Mission for Asia, based in Bangkok since 2013. He has worked on Food Security and Economic Growth projects in Nepal, Afghanistan, Mongolia, Paraguay and Bolivia for over 12 years. Kipp enjoys focusing on private sector engagement in agriculture, youth, innovation and the environment, especially climate smart programming. His graduate studies were in International Development and Soil Science at the University of California, Davis.


Teunis Van Rheenen
Head of Partnerships and Business Development, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
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Dr. Teunis van Rheenen is the Head of Partnerships and Business Development at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), responsible for the development, enhancement, and maintenance of strategic partnerships and networks. He also facilitates IFPRI’s fundraising efforts, provides support to the IFPRI-led CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs) Policies, Institutions and Markets (PIM) and Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH), and remains active in projects that address food security challenges in developing countries.

Jean Michel Voisard
Chief of Party, Naatal Mbay Project, IRG, a subsidiary of RTI International
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Jean-Michel Voisard is the Chief of Party of the Feed the Future Senegal Naatal Mbay project, implemented by IRG, that promotes small farmers’ inclusion in the country's rice, maize, and millet value chains. For over 20 years he has worked on business-to-farmer interventions that link the private sector with grassroots rural organizations to introduce innovations that benefit small farmers: seeds, farming practices, logistics and traceability, quality certification, financial services and market development, both locally and for export.


Sophie Walker
Chief of Party, AflaSTOP Program, ACDI/VOCA
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Ms. Sophie Walker is a skilled manager, agribusiness market systems specialist, and research facilitator with over 16 years of experience in private sector agricultural investment, grain trade and logistics, and commodity management. She is currently the Chief of Party on the AflaSTOP program. Ms. Walker is a senior regional technical advisor, providing ongoing support to a range of ACDI/VOCA market development programs. Her significant experience combines the varied use of warehouse operations, best practices in arbitration and trade tailored for East Africa, and strategic plans on behalf of governments.

Lark Walters
Senior Associate and Project Manager, Chemonics International
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Lark Walters is a senior associate for Chemonics’ Agriculture and Food Security Practice and project manager for Chemonics’ East and Southern Africa division. Based in Washington, DC, she contributes to proposal development for Chemonics’ agriculture and food security portfolio and provides backstopping support to the Feed the Future Uganda Commodity Production and Marketing Activity. Prior to joining Chemonics, Lark worked as a Resettlement Director for World Relief, coordinating service delivery for refugees from Somalia, Iraq, and Myanmar.


Martin Waweru
Program Manager, Agriculture and Livelihoods, Catholic Relief Services, Kenya Country Program
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Martin Waweru is an agriculture economist from Kenya with 12 years of experience in agricultural market systems and private sector linkages for small scale farmers. He has extensive understanding of the Kenyan dairy industry which is dominated by small scale dairy farmers who mostly get exploited illegal milk vendors who offer very law prices. Martin is currently the Agriculture and livelihoods program manager for CRS Kenya Program which is implementing the Kiambu Dairy project.

Ryan Whalen
Independent Consultant
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Ryan Whalen is an international consultant with more than 10 years of experience in the African agricultural sector, leading initiatives for improved technologies, extension services, and market linkages to smallholder farmers and agribusinesses. He began his career with the Peace Corps in Cameroon. He has managed USAID investments in input suppliers, outgrower schemes, and farm infrastructure throughout Kenya, Zimbabwe, and Tanzania. He recently provided management and technical oversight on an RTI International-funded pilot project fostering linkages between locally developed ICT solutions and businesses to connect rural and urban agricultural supply chains.


Josh Woodard
Regional ICT and Digital Finance Advisor, FHI 360
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Josh Woodard is the Regional ICT & Digital Finance Advisor at FHI 360. He has over ten years of experience in international development, focused on effective ICT use in development. Based in Bangkok, he oversees the promotion of digital technologies, including digital finance services, in Bangladesh, Thailand and Myanmar. He leads USAID’s Mobile Solutions Technical Assistance and Research (mSTAR) activities in Bangladesh since 2013, working to increase the use of digital financial services in the agriculture and health sectors through awareness raising, assessments, technical assistance, and market facilitation.

Ayrin Zahner
Manager, Chemonics International
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Ayrin is the manager of the USAID Mali Climate Change Adaptation Activity at Chemonics International. She has over 10 years of experience implementing and managing climate change adaptation projects in West Africa and the US, including community-based dune stabilization in Mauritania, local governments “climate action planning” in California and urban garden projects in Port-au-Prince, Haiti and Nairobi, Kenya. Ms. Zahner holds a B.A. in International Sustainable Development from Boston University and an M.C.P. (Master of City and Regional Planning) with a focus on climate change planning from the University of California, Berkeley.

This conference is organized by Connexus Corporation