Speakers

Speakers Line-Up

Welcome Keynote Addresses

Dr. Dechen Tsering
Regional Director and Regional Representative for Asia and Pacific
UN Environment

Dr. Matthew Morell
Director General
International Rice Research Institute

Dr. Kundhavi Kadiresan
Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations

 

United Nations Representatives

James Lomax
Programme Management Officer
UN Environment

Mark Radka
Chief, Energy and Climate Branch, Economy Division
UN Environment

Dr. Wyn Ellis
Coordinator
Sustainable Rice Platform

Jan Willem Ketelaar
Chief Technical Officer
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Thailand

Dr. David Dawe
Senior Economist
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Bangkok

Peter Sprang
Technical Coordinator
Sustainable Rice Platform

Dr. Lucy Garrett
Specialist, Incentives for Ecosystem Services
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome

 

Private Sector Rice Supply Chain Actors

Paul Nicholson
Vice President, Rice Research and Sustainability
Olam International 

Luc Beerens
Global Sustainability Director
Mars Food 

Chris Brown
Vice President
Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, Olam International

Nicholas Spencer
Executive Director
IBIS Rice Conservation Company Ltd, Cambodia

Clint Coo
Business Development Manager
Siam Organic, Thailand

Dr. Kon Kee Fui
Asia-Pacific Head of Crop Protection Development for Solutions
Syngenta, Singapore

Yong Lee Keng
Agriculture Services Manager
Nestle, Malaysia

Kenneth Kyaw Shein
Chief Executive Officer
PRIME Holdings, Myanmar 

Andy Beadle
Global Sustainability and Product Stewardship - Crop Protection
BASF, Germany

Simon-Thorsten Wiebusch
Country Group Head, Southeast Asia, Crop Science Division
Bayer

Pampapathy Gurulingappa
APAC Regional Product Development Manager
for DuPont™ Pyraxalt™

Mahesh Girdhar
Head of Crop Management, Rice
Bayer

Somsak Samanwong
Asean Technology Transfer Leader
Dow AgroSciences, Thailand

Emmanuelle Bourgois
Chief Executive Officer
FairAgora Asia, Thailand

Ashutosh Kumar Sinha
Head- Agribusiness
LT Foods Limited, India 

 

Research, Academia and Industry Associations

Dr. V. Bruce J. Tolentino
Deputy Director General
International Rice Research Institute

Dr. David Johnson
Leader for Sustainable Rice-based Production Systems Theme and Head, Crop & Environmental Sciences Division, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)

Dr. Amitha Priyadardshani Bentota
Director, Rice Research and Development
Department of Agriculture, Sri Lanka

Dr. Yasukazu Hosen
Sub Project Leader
Japan International Research left for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS), Japan

Dr. Bjoern Ole Sander
Scientist
International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Philippines

Dr. Rattanawan Mungkong
Lecturer
Kasetsart University, Thailand

Kazuyuki Yagi
Research Manager for Climate Change Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences
National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO), Tsukuba, Japan

Dr. Made Adnyana
Senior Researcher
Indonesian Agency for Agricultural Research and Development

Dr. Reiner Wassmann
Coordinator, Climate Change Research
International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Philippines

Dr. Petra Schmitter
Agricultural Water Management Researcher
International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Myanmar

Matty Demont
Senior Economist
International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) , The Philippines

Sandra Khananusit
Independent Consultant
Sustainable Rice Platform

Jalini Kaushalya Galabada
Agricultural Economist
Socio Economics and Planning Centre, Sri Lanka

Dr. Bas Bouman
Director
CGIAR Research Program on Rice Agri-Food Systems (RICE), International Rice Research Institute 

Mr. Suriyan Vichitlekarn
BRIA Regional Project Director
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

Dr. Matthias Bickel
Program Director for Agriculture & Food
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

Robert Ziegler
Director Emeritus
International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)

Dr. Somporn Isvilanonda
Director
Knowledge Network Institute of Thailand (KNIT), Thailand

Dr. Abha Mishra
Director
Asian Center of Innovation for Sustainable Agriculture Intensification (ACISAI), Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Bangkok, Thailand

Nguyen Thi Phuong Nga
BRIA Vietnam
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

Astari Widya Dharma
BRIA Regional Secretariat
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

Dr. Nipon Poapongsakorn
Distinguished Fellow
Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI), Thailand

Oliver Benjamin Frith
Head of Resource Mobilization
International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)

Zhenzhen Xu
Regional Director – Asia Pacific
Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS)

Lucy Fisher
Associate Director of Communications
SRI-Rice, Cornell University, USA

Joel D. Janiya
Senior Associate Scientist – Extension Agronomist
International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)

Dr. Grant Singleton
Principal Scientist
International Rice Research Institute

Jeremy Zwinger
President and CEO
The Rice Trader

NGOs / Non-Profit Organizations

Mary Grady
Deputy Director
American Carbon Registry, an enterprise of Winrock International, U.S.       

Nguyet Minh Le
Global Agriculture Advisor
Oxfam

Dr. Andrew D Powell
Chief Executive, Officer/Secretariat Director
Asia BioBusiness Pte. Ltd./The Rice Bowl Index, Singapore  

Ashish Srivastava
State Program Coordinator, Rural Economy, Intercooperation Social Development, India

U Yan Lin
Member of Upper House of Myanmar’s Parliament and The Chairperson of The Parliamentary Council for Agriculture, Livestock & Rural Development

Lissy Van Noort
Program Manager
AKVO, Vietnam

Christ Vansteenkiste
Rice Cluster Coordinator
VECO       

Dr. Apichai Thirathon
Agronomist and Environment Specialist
GMS Core Agricultural Support      

Jens Soth
Senior Advisor Value Chains & Sustainable Commodities
Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation

 

Certification and Sustainability Experts

Georges Le Nigen
Global Sales Manager
SGS Transparency-One

Rachel Zedeck
Director
Peterson Asia

Geert Eenhoorn
Rice Project Manager
UTZ, Netherlands

Dr. Thomas Unger
Managing Director
Eurofins Global Control GmbH, Germany

Dr. Sergiy Zorya
Senior Agricultural Economist
World Bank Group

 

Technology, Equipment and Financial Services

Manuel Murrenhoff
Grain Logistics
Buhler, Germany

Eli Vered
R&D Senior Agronomist
Netafim, Israel

Dr. R. Sabarinathan
Manager, Agronomy, Tamilnadu & Kerala
Netafim Irrigation India Pvt. Ltd

Arindom Datta
Asia Head, Sustainability Banking
Rabo India Securities Limited, India

Yannick Foing
Regional Director - Nutrition Improvement Program, Asia Pacific
DSM, Singapore

Dr. Simon M. Holland
Chief Executive Officer
Barefoot Lightning Ltd, India

 

Kunal Prasad
Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer
CropIn Technology Solutions Pvt Ltd.

Aakash Parekh
Lead, International Sales
CropIn Technology Solutions Pvt Ltd. 

 

 

Speakers Profile

Welcome Keynote Addresses

Dr. Matthew Morell
Director General
International Rice Research Institute

Matthew Morell is IRRI’s director general with decades of leadership experience driven by a passion for scientific excellence, an understanding of private-public partnerships, a sound capacity for stakeholder engagement, protection of intellectual property, and people engagement skills.
As director general, Matthew is the institute’s chief executive officer (CEO), directly managing and administering its affairs in accordance with the policies and decisions of the IRRI Board of Trustees. He sets the institute’s strategic direction in close consultation with the board.

Prior to assuming the role of director general, Matthew was deputy director general for research, providing strategic leadership to IRRI’s research and outreach programs across various dimensions of rice science, including climate change-ready rice, healthier rice varieties, environmentally sustainable crop farming systems, farmer-friendly crop management and value chain practices, timely and accurate provision of rice information, capacity building, and building the next generation of rice scientists.
Prior to his senior management roles at IRRI, Matthew was theme leader for 17 years at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) where he led a research program on Future Grains and Plant Oil Production.

Matthew also has extensive experience in identifying, protecting, and managing intellectual property, as well as establishing a means for strong compliance with the requirements of gene technology regulations, genetic modification stewardship, and occupational health and safety legislation. He holds a PhD in agricultural chemistry from the University of Sydney, and did postdoctoral studies at the University of Michigan and the University of California, Davis and served as research fellow at the Australian National University. Matthew is also a Fellow of the American Association of Cereal Chemists (AACC), the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE), and of the International Association for Cereal Science and Technology (ICC Academy)


Dr. Dechen Tsering
Regional Director and Regional Representative for Asia and Pacific
UN Environment

Originally from Bhutan, Ms. Tsering has held management and leadership positions with the United Nations and has over 25 years of experience in national government and intergovernmental organizations including the World Bank. She has been actively involved in intergovernmental negotiations as a key negotiator for least developed countries and contributed to the establishment of the Least Developed Countries Fund and the Least Developed Countries Expert Group. She also has experience in the management of complex development projects.

She comes to UN Environment from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change secretariat where she served as Director of the Finance, Technology and Capacity-Building Programme. In that position, she supported international cooperation on mobilization of finance, technology development and transfer and capacity building to enable countries to take enhanced action on climate change. Prior to that position, she was the Deputy Regional Director of UN Environment in Asia and the Pacific.

Ms. Tsering holds a Ph.D. from the Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich in forest economics and policy. She also has a Master’s Degree from Georgetown University and Undergraduate Degrees from UC Berkeley. She is married with three children.


Dr. Kundhavi Kadiresan
Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations

Kundhavi Kadiresan, Assistant Director-General and FAO’s Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific, has more than 25 years of senior managerial experience in economic and policy development.

With a focus on delivering high-quality value-for-money services to member countries, Ms Kadiresan, an economist, has spent most of her professional career with the World Bank Group. She has worked in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe and Latin America, where she led senior-level policy dialogues and managed large loan portfolios. 

With extensive experience in both developed and developing countries, Kadiresan brings a strategic perspective and pragmatic approach to the developmental challenges facing the world. She has engaged with Heads of State, senior government officials, parliamentarians, policy makers, community leaders, civil society organizations, development partners, private sector and citizens. Her strong track record of working with policy makers, in programme development and resource mobilization has resulted in the implementation of projects leading to improvements in agriculture, health and nutrition, energy, transport, water, sanitation and social protection.

As FAO’s Assistant-Director General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific, her primary objectives are to advocate FAO’s policies throughout the region, support the coordination and monitoring of regional events, knowledge and information exchange and the further development of regional norms and standards. This includes joint UN approaches on policy and regulatory frameworks, collaborative capacity development of FAO constituents, resource mobilization and aid coordination.

Ms Kadiresan will lead the prioritization of FAO’s work across the region in close consultation with technical specialists in the Organization and in partnership with relevant regional organizations.

United Nations Representatives

James Lomax
Programme Management Officer
UN Environment

James Lomax has been the Sustainable Food Systems and Agriculture Programme Officer in UN Environment's Division of Technology, Industry and Economics based in Paris, France since 2009. James leads work on mainstreaming sustainable consumption and production practices from 'farm to flush' in the agriculture and food sector. He has pioneered the idea of systems thinking in the food and agriculture sector where nutrition, waste, environmental externalities and livelihoods must be considered if a shift to more sustainable food systems is to be realized.

At UN Environment specifically, James manages activities and programmes on catalyzing public/private partnerships notable in sustainable agriculture (www.sustainablerice.org), sustainable consumption like food waste reduction and prevention through developing tools and methodologies (www.thinkeatsave.org) and sustainability activities at national and regional levels looking at building policy frameworks for more inter-connected thinking in government and the food and agriculture sector as a whole.

A tropical agriculturalist by training (MSc Reading University), before joining UN Environment James had a varied career in the private sector in farming, small holder development, food processing and export of vegetables in East Africa and large-scale agribusiness management in Southern Europe.


Mark Radka
Chief, Energy and Climate Branch, Economy Division
UN Environment

Mark Radka heads UN Environment’s Energy and Climate Branch, which is part of the organisation's Economy Division. He manages UN Environment’s energy and climate change mitigation efforts. Mark has a special interest in the technology needs of developing countries, and was a coordinating lead author of the Special Report on Methodological and Technological Issues in Technology Transfer issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Before joining UN Environment, Mark worked in Washington, D.C. as a consultant to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the World Bank, where he managed technology cooperation projects in developing countries, primarily in Asia.

Mark received a Master of Public Policy degree in Environmental Policy from Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, where he was a Kennedy Fellow. He has also received a M.S. degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley, and a S.B. in Civil Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Dr. Wyn Ellis
Coordinator
Sustainable Rice Platform

Dr Wyn Ellis is Coordinator of the Sustainable Rice Platform, a member-based global initiative convened by UNEP and IRRI. SRP works with stakeholders in the public and private sectors, research and non-profit organizations to develop practical guidelines, standards and incentive mechanisms to promote smallholder adoption of sustainable best practice.
Most of his 30-year career has been in Asia, covering diverse fields related to sustainable development, including organic agriculture, aquaculture, food safety, certification, crop protection and innovation systems. With a Ph.D. from Chulalongkorn University in Thailand, he has authored a number of academic publications and book chapters, and serves on the Editorial Board of several international journals.


Dr. David Dawe
Senior Economist
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Bangkok

David Dawe, Ph.D., Senior Economist, Agricultural Development Economics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations David Dawe is a senior economist in the Agricultural Development Economics Division of FAO, and is currently working at FAO’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok. He is also the economics editor for the journal Global Food Security. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University, and specializes in agricultural and food policy analysis, much of it concerned with the Asian and world rice economies. He has spent much of his professional career resident in Southeast Asia, having worked for the Harvard Institute for International Development in Indonesia, the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines and FAO in Thailand, in addition to working several years at FAO headquarters in Rome. He has written and edited numerous books and research articles relating to trade and markets, domestic price policy, production and natural resources (fertilizer and water management, climate) and nutrition, and was an editor or co-editor of two recent books on rice: “The Rice Crisis: Markets. Policies and Food Security” and “Rice in the Global Economy: Strategic Research and Policy Issues for Food Security.”


Jan Willem Ketelaar
Chief Technical Officer
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Thailand

Over 25 years of work experience with FAO in Asia and Africa on the development and promotion of sustainable intensification of rice production, including for farmer education on Integrated Pest Management/ pesticide risk reduction. Involved in technical support and programme development for FAO’s ongoing Regional Rice Initiative in the Asia region.


Dr. Lucy Garrett
Specialist, Incentives for Ecosystem Services
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Rome

Lucy is a specialist in incentives for ecosystem services at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. She has a background in ecological economics and a PhD in the use of incentives to support natural resource management. She has experience in the valuation of ecosystem services, and the design and evaluation of incentive-based mechanisms to support conservation and sustainable agriculture in Cambodia, China, Indonesia and Rwanda, among other countries.


Peter Sprang
Technical Coordinator
Sustainable Rice Platform

In 1998, while still at the University of Freiburg studying Forestry, Peter started working part time on Social and Envirinmental Standards at GIZ (GTZ). In 2002 he joined the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) at their previous headoffice in Mexico. From 2003 till 2008 Peter mostly worked as an auditor in tropical and temperate forest ecosystems, including Chain of Custody assignments. From 2008 till 2014 Peter built the Asia Pacific sustainable agriculture program for the Rainforest Alliance, including coffee, cocoa, tea, banana, pineapple, oilpalm and spices. In 2014/15 Peter worked on certification of ecosystem services and set up a group certification management for concession. In 2015/16 Peter acted as Regional Director for VECO at the Indonesia office, which included work with smallholder rice farmers. At that time Peter joined the SRP Advisory Committee and became fascinated with the SRP drvelopments. With support from the German Government (CIM/GIZ/BMZ) Peter took on the role of SRP Technical Coordinator, hosted by IRRI (International Rice Research Institute) in Los Baños, Philippines.

Private Sector Rice Supply Chain Actors

Paul Nicholson
Vice President, Rice Research and Sustainability
Olam International 

Paul Nicholson is the General Manager of Research and Risk Management for the Rice Division at Olam International Limited based in Singapore. Paul is developing this role for Olam and began in August. Prior to this, Paul has worked throughout the commodity industry, seeing the financial, international policy, and corporate procurement activities related to global commodity markets. Most recently, he worked 4 years as the head of Kraft Foods Global Commodity Research which supported Price Risk Management for Kraft’s Global Procurement group. In that role, he oversaw the global monthly reporting of commodity exposures, price forecasting, OTC strategies, and internal/external presentations on long-term commodity price risks. He has also served as the Executive Director of the Texas State Pension Review Board, which is meant to identify issues related to funding status of 400 pension funds worth over $200 billion. In that role, he spent time working with the Pension Funds to understand their financial portfolio, especially investments related to alternative markets. His resume also includes six years at the International Monetary Fund where he worked primarily in commodities, establishing a global commodity price index and forecasting operations for 53 commodities. He has a wife and two children. Paul holds two Bachelor’s degrees, Political Science and Economics both with honors, from the University of Missouri – Columbia. He has a Juris Doctor degree from The George Washington School of Law and is Bar licensed in Texas (inactive status).


Chris Brown
Vice President
Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, Olam International

Chris Brown is the VP with responsibility for environmental sustainability for Olam International Ltd., a leading global integrated supply chain manager and processor of agricultural products and food ingredients, supplying various products including cocoa, coffee, cashew, sesame, rice, cotton and wood products to 65 countries. In this role Chris leads on Olam’s climate change and water agenda, where he works with the business to build, drive and embed environmental value as a tool for delivering business and societal value. This requires him to work with all aspects of the business from Finance to factories and engage a range of stakeholders from farmers to customers. Chris holds an honours degree in Chemical Engineering and a Postgraduate diploma in Environmental Management. He brings 20 years of environmental experience in a range of managerial positions from a variety of sectors including the waste sector, steel sector, automotive sector with Toyota and the power sector with E.ON. His move into the agriculture sector may look like a huge leap but Chris says the challenges facing this sector are global in scope and much broader than agricultural and the opportunity to work for a company which believes that doing business involves creating value on an ethical, socially responsible and environmentally sustainable basis was simply an offer he couldn’t refuse.


Yong Lee Keng
Agriculture Services Manager
Nestle, Malaysia

Yong Lee Keng started his agricultural adventure as a Cadet Planter in Sabah, Malaysia in 1980, and over the next 4 years, took part in a plethora of plantation operations from land development to field planting involving crops such as rubber, oil palm, cocoa, and forest-products. In 1984, he joined Nestle Malaysia as the pioneering staff of the Agricultural Services Dept , and over the next 32 years, has been involved ‘farm-to-fork’, in a variety of crops and commodities such as chilies, cocoa, coffee, soya, spices, rice, herbals and oil palm. He currently heads the said Dept, a position he has held since 2000.


Clint Coo
Business Development Manager
Siam Organic, Thailand

Clint Coo currently serves as a Business Development Manager for Siam Organic. Siam Organic is a Thai social enterprise that works to eliminate poverty among smallholder farmers by producing healthy and delicious organic food products for the international market. Siam Organic works with over 1,800 smallholder farmers to grow Jasberry rice, a new strain of non-GMO rice that is purple in color and extremely high in antioxidants. The rice is marketed internationally as a premium superfood, and Siam Organic pays farmers up to 200% more than they would otherwise receive if they grew commodity rice instead.

As a social enterprise, Siam Organic maximizes farmer profits by providing farmers with access to credit and high-quality seeds, training to increase yields, assistance with cooperative formation and international organic certification, guaranteed purchase of harvests, and access to international markets.

Clint’s role as Business Development Manager for Siam Organic involves building partnerships with external stakeholders to increase Siam Organic’s social impact for farmers. He also develops internal systems for farmer training as well as manages monitoring and evaluation processes for measuring the social impact Siam Organic generates for its farmers.

Prior to working with Siam Organic, Clint served as a Program Manager for One Acre Fund in Rwanda. One Acre Fund is an NGO that supplies smallholder farmers in East Africa with financing and agriculture training services to reduce hunger and poverty. Clint’s three years with One Acre Fund involved founding and managing Twigire Muhinzi, a nationwide agriculture extension program in partnership with the Government of Rwanda that trains over 14,000 local extension agents every year.

Clint has eight years of prior service as an officer in the United States Army Reserve, including one year in Baghdad managing multi-sector development projects in partnership with the Government of Iraq. He is also a former management consultant who has supported the United States government on agriculture and public health projects.

Clint holds a Masters in International Development & Management from Lund University, Sweden, and earned his BA in Anthropology from the College of William & Mary.


Andy Beadle
Global Sustainability and Product Stewardship - Crop Protection
BASF, Germany

Andy and his team are responsible for the implementation of BASF Crop Protection’s sustainability strategy. We believe that every man, woman and child must have access to safe and nutritious food, now and in the long term – it is essential for quality of life. Only continuous improvement, delivered by all partners in the value chain working together, can bring about the change that is required in a sustainable way. For the last 5 years Andy, has been working to embed sustainability into the business and to forge the required connections across various value chains that are essential if we are to make any kind of difference. Prior to this, he was pro-actively leading a number of plant biotechnology projects to produce new traits of value to the farmer, consumer and society in general.  He is an Englishman very happily living in Germany.


Simon-Thorsten Wiebusch
Country Group Head, Southeast Asia, Crop Science Division
Bayer

Simon-Thorsten Wiebusch is Country Group Head of Southeast Asia for the Crop Science Division of Bayer since May 2015, where he is responsible for the CropScience business across Southeast Asia (comprising Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar and Cambodia). He is
also Country Division Head for Crop Science Thailand since January 2016.

Simon joined Bayer in 1999 after completing his management training program with the company. With over 15 years of deep knowledge and experience in the agricultural industry, Simon has held various senior roles in sales, controlling and general management. He spent eight years leading and developing country organizations in Europe, then moved into global roles in Bayer responsible for developing go-to-market strategies, before taking on his current role in Asia Pacific.

Simon holds a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from Bradford, UK. He is born in Germany, and now resides in Bangkok, Thailand with his spouse and two sons.


Kenneth Kyaw Shein
Chief Executive Officer
PRIME Holdings, Myanmar 

Mr. Shein is a co-founder of PRIME Holdings Pte Ltd, an associate member of the private, closely held PRIME Group of Singapore who also conduct Asian-focused investment banking, asset management, and private equity operations – all licensed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. PRIME Holdings is an industrial developer, investor, and operator in the Energy & Infrastructure and Agri & Food Sectors, also co-investing alongside PRIME Group funds and vehicles. Mr. Shein directs PRIME Holdings’ investment initiatives and operations, with a special focus in Myanmar. He directly oversees the Agri & Food Division including PRIME Farms, PRIME Agri Technologies, and Smallholder Prosperity Enterprises (SPE) subsidiaries. SPE is a for-profit developer and operator of innovative projects that improve livelihoods at the ‘base of the pyramid’ by transforming subsistence and rural farmers into commercial producers. Smallholders access drip-irrigation, crop inputs, microfinance, GAP training, direct market access and value chain integration through PRIME Farm’s commitment to allocate at least 20% of its primary production to SPE. Mr. Shein brings to PRIME over 27 years of direct investment and international operating experience in start-ups, growth companies, MBO’s, privatizations, M&A, and control-stake private equity. He is an Executive Board Member of the Zurich based Swiss-Asian Chamber of Commerce & Co-Chairperson of the Myanmar Committee. Mr. Shein holds a B.A. Economics and earned an M.B.A. from the University of California, Irvine.


Pampapathy Gurulingappa
APAC Regional Product Development Manager
for DuPont™ Pyraxalt™

Dr. Pampapathy Gurulingappa, is a APAC Regional Product Development Manager for DuPont™ Pyraxalt™ at DuPont since 2011. His major contributions are in the areas of product development (pesticides), host-plant resistance, biological control and IPM.

Pampapathy was born in Bellary, Karnataka, on 15 December 1974. He attended University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad, Karnataka, India, where he received his B.S. degree and M.S. degree in Entomology. He earned his Ph.D. in Biological Sciences at the University of Sydney, Australia. He was employed at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), Patancheru from 2000 – 2006. He accepted a position of Product Development Manager at DuPont, becoming a APAC Regional Product Development Manager for DuPont™ Pyraxalt™ in April 2017.

He has published more than 20 research papers mostly in international journals. He has also participated and presented in many of the international/national symposia.


Ashutosh Kumar Sinha
Head- Agribusiness
LT Foods Limited, India 

MBA (Agribusiness), M.Sc. (Ag - Plant Breeding) with 2 decades of Leadership experience in entrepreneurship, agri inputs, animal feed, , contract farming, sustainability, renewable energy, rural distribution management and helping startups scale. Deep experience in Marketing, Sales, Product Management, Supply chain, Business Strategy, Business modeling, Startup, Business Incubation, Consulting and Investment raise. Worked in diverse and large corporations in multicultural & multinational teams as well as in start up.  Prerna Fellow 2013 of IIM Lucknow and Alumnus of Dasra Social Impact.  Awarded as “50 Most Influential Rural Marketing Professional, 2017 & 16”, "25 Most Talented Rural Marketing Professional, 2014" by World Brand Congress. Speaking at leading business management institutes like IIM Ahmadabad, MANAGE Hyderabad, Agriculture and Food Institute Mysore, VIT Vellore.


Emmanuelle Bourgois
Chief Executive Officer
FairAgora Asia, Thailand

Emmanuelle Bourgois, founder and CEO, has been working on trade facilitation in food for the past 20 years. She has worked for governmental agencies, development banks and international organizations, including FAO, ADB, USAID. She founded FairAgora Asia, a Thai based company, delivering sustainability and compliance services to small holders of food and agro industries in South-East Asia. 

After two years of operations, her assessment of the barriers holding back small holders to international trade, drove her to co-design, with Yann Laurent, Agronomist and Agro-fisheries data-information system specialist, an innovative and inclusive compliance solution to foster transparency and mainstream credibility to agriculture and aquaculture: VerifiK8.


Nicholas Spencer
Executive Director
IBIS Rice Conservation Company Ltd, Cambodia

Nick has been involved in start-ups, social enterprises for the last ten years. Having been previously in London focusing on zero-emission logistics addressing the boom of online retail, Nick has now been based in Phnom Penh as Executive Director of Ibis Rice since January 2015. He is responsible for building a brand, products and enterprise that delivers for consumers, farmers and wildlife.


Luc Beerens
Global Sustainability Director
Mars Food 

Luc joined Mars Inc. in 1993 following his graduation from Eindhoven University where he completed his Masters in Industrial Engineering & Management Science. During his career at Mars he has worked across Procurement, Quality Management, and Logistics.

For the last two years, Luc has held the role of Global Sustainability Lead for Mars Food. He has a seat on the advisory board of the Sustainable Rice Platform, a multi-stakeholder platform established in December 2011. The SRP is co-convened by UN Environment and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) to promote resource efficiency and sustainability in the global rice sector.


Mahesh Girdhar
Head of Crop Management, Rice
Bayer

Mahesh Girdhar is global head of rice crop management at Crop Science division of Bayer and he is based in Singapore. Before taking up this role he was heading seeds business of Bayer in India from 2005 to 2009. Prior to Bayer, he was working with Monsanto for about nine years in various responsibilities in India.

He has been engaged in Agri. input industry for over two decades and has extensive experience in business operations, strategy and general management across seeds, traits and crop protection businesses in Asia Pacific. In the recent years he has been quite active in development and adoption of integrated rice crop solutions, impacting largely small holders and rice value chains.  

By education, Mahesh is post graduate in Agriculture from HAU, India and gone through advance management program at INSEAD.    


Dr. Kon Kee Fui
Asia-Pacific Head of Crop Protection Development for Solutions
Syngenta, Singapore

Dr KeeFui Kon holds B.Agr.Sc. and M.Agr.Sc. (Hons) degrees from Massey University (NZ), and a Ph.D. from the University of Western Australia in agriculture. His studies included a wide range of disciplines: plant physiology, agronomy, microbiology, population genetics, and weed ecology and control. Kon joined Syngenta, an Anglo-Swiss agribusiness concern, as a weed scientist and agronomist where he worked in diverse roles in research, development, and marketing in Malaysia, Switzerland and New Zealand. Returning to Singapore in 2009, he managed the technical development of a new, blockbuster insecticide. After two years, Kon transitioned into the global lead for Rice Crop Protection R&D, receiving the prestigious Syngenta Fellow Award in 2010, as the first Asia-Pacific recipient. He is currently the Asia-Pacific Head of Crop Protection Development for Solutions. He has authored or joint-authored 32 publications and three patents.


Somsak Samanwong
Asean Technology Transfer Leader
Dow AgroSciences, Thailand

Mr. Somsak Samanwong, currently Technology Transfer Leader & Customer Agronomist Team Leader for South East Asia Region for Dow AgroSciences LLC, USA. Mr. Samanwong obtained an MSc in Agricultural Entomology from Kasetsart University, Thailand in 2004. He has held multiple roles for Dow AgroSciences Thailand in Crop Protection R&D function.

Mr. Samanwong joined Dow AgroSciences, Thailand in 2006 as R&D Manager with additional responsibility of Regulatory function. For the course of his carrier, Mr. Samanwong accepted various roles including; Customer Agronomist for Thailand & Regional Insecticide Principle Biologist for ASEAN.

From April 2014, Mr. Samanwong took the role of Technology Transfer Leader for ASEAN, and accepted additional role of Customer Agronomist Team Leader for ASEAN since Jan, 2015 until now.

In addition to the above, Mr. Samanwong served as a team member on the Global Insecticide Technology Transfer Team. Externally, Somsak used to serve as member of technical and safe use committee of Thailand Crop Protection Association (TCPA) and Biotechnology Thailand Team under Crop Life Asia. Before Joining Dow AgroSciences, Mr. Samanwong had 10 years of experience within Agro-Chemical Industry.

Research, Academia and Industry Associations

Dr. V. Bruce J. Tolentino
Deputy Director General
International Rice Research Institute

Bruce has served as IRRI’s Deputy Director General (Communication and Partnerships), since 2012, returning to IRRI after an earlier stint as Research Associate in the Social Science Division in 1980-81. Bruce is also the elected Secretary to the IRRI Board of Trustees. Bruce leads several key areas of IRRI programming: fund-raising, communication, and partnerships with donors, international and regional organizations, national governments, and agriculture-related ministries and agencies. He also oversees IRRI’s legal services.

Bruce earned a Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Hawaii and the East West Center, and a Master’s in Economics at Xavier University in the Philippines. He served as Deputy Minister/ Undersecretary of Agriculture of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food/ Department of Agriculture of the Philippines from 1986-1993.

With more than 35 years of progressive experience in governance, management, analysis, and planning socioeconomic development reforms and initiatives, Bruce has successful projects with NGOs and government agencies in Asia, Africa, and Central America under his belt. He has served as a consultant on development issues for the Philippine Government (both executive and legislative branches) and international policy research and donor agencies, including CGIAR institutions and various UN agencies, the World Bank Group, and ADB.

Bruce has extensive field experience in top management of large-scale, governance, rural, agricultural, and agro-enterprise development programs. His experience includes working under difficult conditions, including civil war and cross-cultural/religious contexts.
Bruce also has substantial research work and teaching experience, both in formal and non-formal settings.. His publications focus on governance and economics in the development context, specifically on food security.


Dr. Rattanawan Mungkong
Lecturer
Kasetsart University, Thailand

Tam has been intensively work on LCA and its application for sustainability with the particular focus on food products.  She has conducted the life cycle inventory database development as well as LCA (including carbon, water and biodiversity footprints) of paddy rice and processed rice products (such as instant noodle, vermicelli, jasmine rice with chicken green curry). She has been involved in the research national networks: “Life Cycle Assessment and Policy for Food, Feed, Fuel & Climate change”, (the national level), LCA Agri-Food ASIA (the regional level), as well as LCA Food (the international level). She has intensive experiences providing consultancy services for private companies for more than 10 years. Recently, she has been awarded the Research Chair Grant (Thai Nobel, equivalent) from NSTDA to study on the sustainability of Thai rice industry.


Dr. Yasukazu Hosen
Sub Project Leader
Japan International Research left for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS), Japan

Soil scientist; since getting PhD from the University of Tokyo in 1996, having been studying in the field of the agricultural environment in Asian countries, including China, Philippines, and Vietnam, belonging to NIAES (in 1996), JIRCAS (1996 – 2012 and 2015 – present), and IRRI (2004 – 2010), and been engaged in overseas agricultural research administration in MAFF (2013-2015). (NIAES: National Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences, Japan; MAFF: Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Japan)


Dr. Bjoern Ole Sander
Scientist
International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Philippines

Ole is a scientist in IRRI’s climate change research group with a focus on greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation technologies. He joined IRRI in January 2010 as a Collaborative Research Scientist with Dr. Reiner Wassmann.

As climate change specialist, Ole analyzes the GHG balance of different cropping systems in Vietnam and the Philippines. He evaluates different mitigation options through water, fertilizer, and crop residue management. Ole also identifies suitable conditions to support dissemination of mitigation technologies particularly the water saving method alternate wetting and drying (AWD), which offers huge potential in reducing methane emissions. Ole works with different stakeholders in Vietnam, Bangladesh and the Philippines to foster implementation of this climate-smart farming practice.


Matty Demont
Senior Economist
International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) , The Philippines

Matty joined IRRI in 2013 as a senior economist and currently leads the newly created market and value chain research team (MRT) that aims at making IRRI’s research more market-driven. Matty’s team provides research support in product profiling and market segmentation to the newly restructured breeding program, post-harvest and other product development programs. This will enable IRRI and rice value chain stakeholders to proactively adjust their focus and steer markets when new opportunities arise for reducing poverty and improving nutrition in Asia, and East and Southern Africa. Priority countries are the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, India and Bangladesh.

He has authored or co-authored 40 peer-reviewed scientific papers, 4 books and 24 book chapters on various topics such as experimental value chain and consumer analysis, development policy, impact assessment of biotic constraints, new technologies and innovations, and coexistence and evolution of farming systems. He has also written 183 proceedings of conferences, reports, policy briefs and other articles.


Dr. Reiner Wassmann
Coordinator, Climate Change Research
International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Philippines

Reiner is climate change expert at IRRI in charge of coordinating IRRI’s research program on rice and climate change, heading the Climate Unit and acting as IRRI contact person for CCAFS (Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security). In these functions, his tasks consist of

  • Streamlining ongoing work at IRRI that is directly and indirectly related to climate change and ensuring sound integration of this work within the CGIAR-programs GRiSP and CCAFS,
  • Initiating new research activities and developing project proposals, and
  • Contributing directly to bilaterally funded projects through coordinating functions or addressing specific research tasks.

Reiner is closely interacting with a range of actors involved in mitigation and adaptation in Southeast Asia, namely international organizations such as the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, policy makers at different levels, development agencies etc.
Reiner’s research portfolio at IRRI encompasses mitigation, adaptation and impact assessment, namely

  • Developing the water-saving technique ‘Alternate-Wetting-and-Drying’ into a practical option for mitigating Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions,
  • Defining guidelines on ‘Measurement, Reporting, Verification’ for mitigation projects,
  • Integrating socio-economic aspects into planning of Climate Change adaptation/ mitigation,
  • Assessing temperature effects on GHG emissions and quantifying emission factors from straw burning,
  • Employing GIS mapping of climate variability for prioritizing regional dissemination of mitigation and adaptation,
  • Developing Decision Support Systems on mitigation/ adaptation through mobile phone apps
  • Leading the CLUES project (Climate change affecting land use in the Mekong Delta: Adaptation of rice-based cropping systems; funded by ACIAR)
  • Contributing to process-based research on element cycles and GHG emissions, e.g. by using Eddy Covariance techniques and facilitating field work of ICON (Introducing Non-Flooded Crops in Rice-Dominated Landscapes: Impact on Carbon, Nitrogen and Water Cycles)
  • Reiner was a technical consultant in the developing a Baseline Methodology for Clean Development Mechanism that has been approved by UNFCCC as AMS-III.AU: “Methane emission reduction by adjusted water management practice in rice cultivation --- Version 3.0”

EXPERTISE

  • Greenhouse gas emissions
  • Carbon and nitrogen cycling
  • Climate change impact assessment
  • Adaptation to climate-induced stresses
  • Soil and water management

Kazuyuki Yagi
Research Manager for Climate Change Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences
National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO), Tsukuba, Japan

Kazuyuki Yagi obtained his PhD in soil science from Nagoya University, Japan in 1996. The task of his position is to coordinate research activities of the Institute, in particular for international cooperation and climate change studies. He has been studying on emissions of greenhouse gases in association with different land use and agricultural management, in particular on methane from rice paddies and nitrous oxide from fertilized agricultural fields. His research covers the agroecosystems in Japan and other Asian countries.  He works as a co-chair of the Paddy Rice Research Group of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA) since 2010.


Dr. Made Adnyana
Senior Researcher
Indonesian Agency for Agricultural Research and Development

2009 – present : Project Director, Naima Agro Industry Ltd./Mulia Group in collaboration with IAARD.

2007 -2008 : Senior Consultant and Designer of Merauke Integrated Rice Estate (MIRE) and Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE) Development Master Plan, District of Merauke, Papua Province.

2005-present : Research Professor in Agricultural Economic at Indonesian Institute of Science (IIS) and Indonesian Agency for Agricultural Research and Development (IAARD).

2006-present: Council Board Members of Research Professor Inaugural Session, Indonesia Institute of Science (IIS).

2006-present: Council Board  Member of Research Professor Inaugural at Indonesian Agency for Agricultural Research and Development (IAARD).
2002 -2007: Deputy Director for Research and Development Program Planning and Evaluation, Center for Food  Crops Research and Development (ICFORD), Bogor.

2002-2010: National Coordinator and contact person for Consortium on collaborative  research for Unfavorable Rice Environment (CURE): rainfed lowland, rainfed upland, swampy and flood prone areas, IARRD-IRRI.

2001-2002: Resource Person/Consultant for research and development on Multifunctional Role of Agricultural (ROA) in Indonesia: West Java case, FAO.

1999 - 2000: Senior Consultant for Study on The impact of economics crisis on farm household economy in Indonesia, World Bank.

1997 - 1999 : Project Leader for Swampy Area Rice Development in South Sumatra and South Kalimantan, Indonesia Agency for Agricultural Research and Development (IARRD).

1995-1997: Project Leader for  Business Oriented Rice Farming System Development in 14 provinces in Indonesia, IARRD and World Bank.


Dr. Petra Schmitter
Agricultural Water Management Researcher
International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Myanmar

Petra has over 10 years of experience in multidisciplinary and international research and consultancy projects with universities, research centers (e.g. CGIAR), national and international NGO's and governmental agencies in Europe (Belgium, Netherlands, Germany), Asia (Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam) and Africa (Benin, Mauritius, Togo). She has trained research assistants and guided Bsc., Msc. and PhD students in Europe, Africa and Asia in the field of agricultural water management, irrigated and rainfed agriculture, land degradation and hydrological modeling. She has profound expertise in water quantity/quality, water and crop productivity monitoring using a wide variety of tools and techniques (e.g. stable isotope techniques, mid-infrared spectroscopy and optical sensors for indirect nutrient measurements): Evaluation of suitable irrigation and water management technologies for SSA (Ethiopia, Ghana and Tanzania). Effect of Land use change on carbon and nitrogen fluxes and its effect on lowland rice production (Northwest Viet Nam); Effect of water management on rice production in African Inland Valleys (Benin). She uses her field experience during numerical hydrological and flood modelling (1-2D) across various scales (sub- basin and basin level):: Chao Praya basin including Bangkok flood modeling for 2011 (Thailand); Member of the flood expert panel and advisor for the Mauritian President and Government (Mauritius), Effect of green roofs on hydrological processes and operational reservoir management (Singapore).


Dr. Amitha Priyadardshani Bentota
Director, Rice Research and Development
Department of Agriculture, Sri Lanka

I have been working in The Department of Agriculture, Sri Lanka for about 33 years with the responsibility of developing rice varieties for the problem soils especially in iron toxic rice lands in Sri Lanka and released five iron toxicity tolerant rice varieties.  Further, Bw 363 (tested as Bw 328) was nominated for international testing through International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).  The variety was recently released in Bangladesh as BRRI dhan 59 for general cultivation as a high yielding variety.

Formulation and implementation of rice research and development co-operate plan in Sri Lanka is presently led by me as the Director in Rice Research and Development in Sri Lanka.

I am also an Advisory committee member for Closing Rice Yield Gap in Asia Project (CORIGAP)  in IRRI.

I was a PhD research scholar at IRRI, in 1993/1994 under the supervision of Late Dr. D. Senadhira, Senior Scientist at IRRI, and Prof. Micle Lawrence from University of Birmingham, UK. 


Jalini Kaushalya Galabada
Agricultural Economist
Socio Economics and Planning Centre, Sri Lanka

I have graduated in Agricultural Technology and Management with specialization on Agricultural Economics & Business Management from University of Peradeniya. I obtained the masters degree on Agricultural Economics in 2014 from the same university. I have been working as an Agricultural Economist since 2011 in the Department of Agriculture attached to Socio Economics and Planning Centre.

As an Agricultural Economist, by authentication, I engaged in conducting socio-economic research, production and marketing studies and policy analysis related to food crops sector, preparation of policy notes, project proposals and project appraisals, coordination, monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment of national and international R & D projects, supervising field surveys, reviews and evaluate their progress, maintenance of rice statistics data base and data dissemination.


Mr. Suriyan Vichitlekarn
BRIA Regional Project Director
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

Mr. Suriyan Vichitlekarn is a dedicated professional in sustainable development of agriculture and food security in Southeast Asia. In June 2014, he joined GIZ as the Regional Project Director of the Better Rice Initiative Asia (BRIA), based in Bangkok. He also concurrently holds the positions of Senior Regional Advisor for the ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood Systems Project, and Senior Advisor for the Remote Sensing-based Information and Insurance for Crops in Emerging Economies.

In November 2014, he assumed the spokesperson role of the agriculture working group under the GIZ Sector Network for Natural Resources and Rural Development (SNRD) Asia.

Prior to joining GIZ, Mr. Suriyan worked with FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific based in Bangkok as the Partnership Officer (2013-2014), and with ADB as the Manager of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Working Group on Agriculture (WGA) Regional Secretariat (2013). During 2008-2013, he worked at the ASEAN Secretariat based in Jakarta, Indonesia where he was the Head of Agriculture Industries and Natural Resources Division and the main author of ASEAN Integrated Food Security (AIFS) Framework.

Mr. Suriyan, a Thai national, is a graduate of Faculty of Fisheries, Kasetsart University, Thailand. He also studied Management of Agricultural Knowledge Systems (MAKS) at the Wageningen Agricultural University, the Netherlands.  


Dr. Matthias Bickel
Program Director for Agriculture & Food
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

In 2007, Matthias Bickel joined GIZ (German International Cooperation), a German government-owned private company for sustainable development.

After various assignments in Germany, Ghana and Cambodia, he was assigned as Project Director in Bangkok in 2011 and since 2017 Matthias Bickel oversees various agricultural projects in the ASEAN region as Program Director and Cluster Coordinator for Food and Agriculture, leading international teams of agribusiness and supply chain experts, advising the ASEAN Secretariat and the ASEAN Member States as well as private sector corporations in the field of Sustainable Agriculture www.asean-agrifood.org.

In 2012, Mr. Bickel was honored as “Asia-Europe Young Leader” at the Asia Pacific Conference in New Delhi and he has lived and worked in Santiago de Chile (Chile), Sydney (Australia), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Accra (Ghana), Phnom Penh (Cambodia) and Bangkok (Thailand) and has spent about seven years in Asian countries.
Matthias Bickel holds degrees (master level) in Economics, in Business Administration, and in Business Law and Economic Law as well as a PhD in Public International Law from Martin-Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg, Germany. He has also studied at University of Sydney, Australia, specializing in development economics and international finance and banking.

He has published various journal articles, discussion papers and monographs in the fields of international finance, agricultural development, regional integration and trade law.

Matthias Bickel represents GIZ in various boards and committees, among these the Advisory Committee of the Sustainable Rice Platform.


Dr. Somporn Isvilanonda
Director
Knowledge Network Institute of Thailand (KNIT), Thailand

Mr.Somporn Isvilanonda was an associate professor at Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Faculty of Economics, Kasetsart University. His field of interest is in area of agricultural economics, particularly on the economic of rice in Thailand. He used to be a collaborator in rice economic research with Social Science Division, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI).
At the nationalengagement, he was appointed a member of Thailand National Rice Policy Committee chaired by the Prime minister during 2006-2011. His previous rice research papers were collected and published in a book “Readings in Thailand Rice Economy”. Presently, he is a senior fellow at the Knowledge Network Institute of Thailand, a coordinator at Agricultural Policy Research Office, the Thailand Research Fund, and a committee member of Thai Rice Foundation Under Royal Patronage.


Dr. Abha Mishra
Director
Asian Center of Innovation for Sustainable Agriculture Intensification (ACISAI), Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Bangkok, Thailand

  • Founder of the ACISAI Center, AIT, Thailand
  • Over ten years of research, teaching and project management experience in agriculture, more particularly in sustainable crop intensification
  • Received a number of international awards for excellence in research and several prestigious international research grants for research and outreach activities
  • Currently, leading a multi-country and multi-partner regional rice project in the Greater Mekong Region funded by the European Union for addressing food security in rainfed areas of the Lower Mekong River Basin countries
  • More than 30 publications 
  • Core member of the Climate Change and Sustainable Development Field of Study of AIT.

Oliver Benjamin Frith
Head of Resource Mobilization
International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)

Oliver Frith is a development professional with over 10 years experience working with Governments, private sector, multilateral, and civil society organizations across Asia, Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Natural Sciences for the University of Cambridge and Masters Degree in Environmental Change and Management. Currently, Oliver is the Head of Resource Mobilization a the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), where he is responsible for guiding the institute's business development and market research activities. Oliver's main areas of interest are on program development and fundraising, as well as advocacy to link research to development strategy and policy reform initiatives. Prior to joining IRRI, Oliver was the head of Global Program at the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), a multilateral intergovernmental organization headquartered in Beijing, China. In this role, Oliver also gained extensive experience managing large scale agriculture, natural resource management and agri-business development programs.


Zhenzhen Xu
Regional Director – Asia Pacific
Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS)

Zhenzhen Xu is the Asia Pacific Regional Manager for the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS). Prior to AWS, she worked in the China Water Program of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) during 2013-2015.  Zhenzhen also worked as business developer for industrial water outsourcing projects with Veolia Water, and as environmental consultant for World Bank and ADB projects with Sogreah.  She has worked in projects across China, Thailand, Australia and the Pacific.  She holds a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Engineering from Tongji University and a Master’s degree in Environmental Management and Development from ANU in Australia.


Astari Widya Dharma
BRIA Regional Secretariat
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

Astari is a regional coordinator of GIZ BRIA project - which is implemented in Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam. She joined GIZ as Junior technical advisor on Sustainable Rice Standard in 2014, and since 2015 she support the project as a regional coordinator on knowledge sharing management, innovation, and business relation with partners. At the same time, she’s also support GIZ as the Sustainable Rice Standard expert.
She focuses on the technical support for the promotion of sustainable value-chain upgrading in Southeast Asia region for export and local market, both for national and regional level. Other than that, she also responsible to promote collaboration with related stakeholders in supporting farmers to adopt the recommended interventions.

She is supporting the adoption of the global sustainable rice cultivation standard, which was developed by the global sustainable forum (Sustainable Rice Platform / SRP) in the SEA region as one of the added value from the upstream in enhancing the rice value chain in the region.

Astari Dharma holds a degree of Master of Science, on Food Business and Consumer Studiy from the University of Kassel, Germany. Prior to that, she studied in Indonesia for Food Technnology. Prior to her master study, she has drawn working experiences in the project management of new product development in the functional food – pharmaceutical company.


Joel D. Janiya
Senior Associate Scientist – Extension Agronomist
International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)

Has Bachelors degree in Agriculture and Masters of Science in Agronomy at UP Los Baños. Conducts and facilitates in training and technology transfer of IRRI technologies in Southeast Asia in partnership with government and non-government agencies and private sector in IRRI partner countries in Southeast Asia. With wide experience in Agronomy, Crop Protection, Rice Production and Management, and Community Based Seed System and Extension. Take lead in the implementation of SRP Standard Pilot testing in Vietnam and Philippines. Recipient of Best paper award in weed science 1981 and 2001, Pest Management Award in Research in 2008 and Pest Management Award in Extension and Community Development in 2013.


Dr. Grant Singleton
Principal Scientist
International Rice Research Institute

Grant coordinates field research that obtains quantitative data on the contribution of best management practices to closing yield gaps. He also works in lowland favorable rice production systems in six countries in Asia.

Grant has a strong interest in ecologically sustainable production of rice, particularly on the effects of intensification of rice production on biodiversity. He supervises PhD students working on bird, amphibian and rodent communties. The bird and amphibian focus is on developing positive inidicators on the conservation and health impacts of rice-based systems at a landscape scale. The rodent focus is on ecologially-based pest management.


Dr. Bas Bouman
Director
CGIAR Research Program on Rice Agri-Food Systems (RICE), International Rice Research Institute 

As of September 2012, Dr Bas Bouman is the Director of the CGIAR Research Program on rice, also known as the Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP) at the International Rice Research institute (IRRI) in the Philippines. With an annual value of around 100 M $US, GRiSP strategizes and aligns the rice research for development agenda of a global partnership of over 900 partners worldwide from the governmental, nongovernmental, public, private, and civil society sectors. Bas provides strategic leadership and directs the program on science and research, strategic and development outcomes, and impacts on food security, poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability, and gender equity.

Bas is an agricultural engineer and agro-ecologist with more than 25 years of experience working in Asia, Latin America, and Europe. He is an internationally-recognized expert on sustainable agricultural development and food security, with specific expertise on water management and rice. He has published extensively in leading agricultural journals and is an editorial board member of a number of journals in crop and agricultural sciences. He authored 128 peer-reviewed journal papers, wrote/edited 5 books, and authored 138 other papers and proceedings. His H-score (using Web of Science) is 32. He held/holds positions on various international advisory an governance bodies (eg CGIAR Consortium Board, Sustainable Rice Platform, Comprehensive assessment of Water and Food) and is member of the prestigious Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities.

From 1987 to 1996, Bas worked at the Research Institute for Agrobiology and Soil Fertility (AB-DLO, former CABO) in Wageningen in the field of agro-ecology, specializing in remote sensing, crop and water balance modelling and systems analysis. He then worked at the Wageningen Agricultural University and the Centre for Research and Education in Tropical Agriculture (CATIE) in Costa Rica on land use analysis and livestock system optimization from 1996 to 1998. Since 1999, Bas Bouman worked as senior water scientist at the International Rice Research Institute. In 2004-2006, he was employed as the Theme Leader Crop productivity of the CGIAR Challenge Program Water and Food. From 2007 to 2012, he was head of the International Rice Research Institute’s (IRRI) Crop and Environmental Sciences Division (CESD), and from 2008 to 2012, Leader of IRRI’s Intensive Rice Production Systems program.


Nguyen Thi Phuong Nga
BRIA Vietnam
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

Nga joined GIZ Vietnam in September 2014 as a Senior Forestry and Agriculture Policy Advisor. She has led the Agriculture Task Team, ICMP and Better Rice Initiative Asia, Vietnam (BRIA Vietnam) until July 2017. With her strategic advice and leadership, the Agriculture component, ICMP as well as BRIA Vietnam have successfully achieved their goals in line with the country and region ‘s  sector development priorities.

She focuses on technical support to promote sustainable rice value chain development in Vietnam including adaptation of IPM and  climate smart farming practices; farmer empowerment through strengthening farmer cooperatives and production groups; market linkages to connect farmers through cooperatives with rice trade companies, and where possible with input suppliers. Field experiences have been analyzed and turned into evidence based policy briefs submitted to relevant agencies in the Government of Vietnam. She is supporting the promotion of national and global rice quality standards in Vietnam especially in Mekong Delta.

She has played a key role in establishing and developing the collaboration between GIZ and the private sector in this case, Bayer Vietnam and a number of local companies as well as with other development partners who work in the relevant areas. Furthermore, with her initiative and support the Rice Public and Private Partnership has been established by MARD.


Lucy Fisher
Associate Director of Communications
SRI-Rice, Cornell University, USA

Lucy Fisher has been Associate Director of Communications for the SRI-Rice Center at Cornell University for the past seven years.  She is also co-coordinator of the Cornell University Conservation Agriculture Program. Previously she was outreach coordinator for the Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture and Development (CIIFAD) and consulted for various NGOs in Southeast Asia.


Dr. David Johnson
Leader for Sustainable Rice-based Production Systems Theme and Head, Crop & Environmental Sciences Division, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)

David is Leader for Sustainable Rice-based Production Systems theme and head of the Crop and Environmental Sciences Division (CESD).

David has experience in rice farming systems in Central America, West Africa, and Asia. He is recognized internationally for his work on weed management in rice; he has also authored or co-authored over 70 scientific papers and two books.

He is involved in projects in Myanmar on reducing risks and raising livelihoods in rice environments through improved knowledge of environment and management in the Ayeyarwaddy Delta and Central Dry Zone.


Robert Ziegler
Director Emeritus
International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)

Dr. Robert "Bob" Zeigler is an internationally respected plant pathologist with more than 30 years of experience in agricultural research in the developing world. He is the first Director General Emeritus of IRRI.

Bob's professional life spanned Africa, Latin America, US, and Asia. He has had a productive research career on diseases of rice that focused on host-plant resistance, pathogen and vector population genetics, and their interactions to develop durable resistance and sustainable disease management practices.

As Bob's career moved increasingly towards research management his interests expanded to include broader crop management issues, the social forces shaping the agricultural environment, and finally the economic and political arena that frames food security and poverty issues. He has published over 100 scientific works in these areas and often serves as an expert resource on rice security in the regional and global media.

Bob is also the founding chairman of the board of the IRRI Fund Singapore, an incorporated nonprofit charitable organization established to raise the profile of international rice research and generate funding for it. He served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Association of International Agricultural Research Centers that manages a wide range of employee benefits for internationally recruited staff for the 15 CGIAR centers and several affiliated centers. He also served on the Golden Rice Humanitarian Board.


Dr. Nipon Poapongsakorn
Distinguished Fellow
Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI), Thailand

Dr. Nipon Poapongsakorn is currently a distinguished fellow, Thailand Development Research Institute Foundation (TDRI). He formerly held the position of President of TDRI, and Dean of the Faculty of Economics, Thammasat University, where he was also Associate Professor. He has been teaching  managerial economics and political economy course  in the Executive MBA  program of Thammasat University.

He received a BA in economics from Thammasat University, MA (economics) from Middle Tenessee State  University, and PhD (economics) from University of Hawaii, Manoa. He also received certificates from the Director Certification Program, the Thai Institute of Directors (IOD), and the Capital Market Academy Leadership Program, the Capital Market Academy.

His main research is in the areas of agricultural policies and labor market. Dr. Nipon Poapongsakorn  is the author of over 170 research projects, academic papers and publications in five areas, namely agricultural policies and  rural credit markets;  water management; labour economics and human resources;  trade, competition and industrial policies; and corruption and conflicts of interest. He has recently finished a research work on corruption in the paddy pledging program of the Yingluck government and a three-year IDRC-funded  research project entitled “Improving Water management Planning in Thailand” which deals with the climate change issues of water management, farmers’ adaptation, land-use regulations and planning, and water management institutions under both the normal and crisis situations. His on-going research is the transformation  issues facing the Thai agricultural sector particularly the rice industry, and water-land-energy nexus.

Nipon Poapongsakorn has advised governments, the ADB and the World Bank on issues from the rice price and agricultural  policies, education and industrial policy to trade strategy. He is currently an executive member of the Asian Society of Agricultural Economists, and the Asia Pacific Agricultural Policy Forum  (APAP), member of the National Rice Policy Committee, president of the Thai Economics Society, council member of the Chiangmai University Council, member of  the Tribunal of Public Information on Economy and Fiscal Information, the Legal Development Committee of the Council of State, and the Thailand Productivity Institute Board of Directors, etc.  He used to serve as committee members and directors of several government agencies, state enterprises and foundations, e.g., the Board of Investment, the National Economic and Social Development Board, the Trade Competition Committee, the Port Authority of Thailand, TMB Board of Directors,  the Foundation of Rural Reconstruction and Development, and the National Reform Assembly Committee, and advisor to the Minister of Finance  in 2006-2008.


Sandra Khananusit
Independent Consultant
Sustainable Rice Platform

Sandra is a consultant to the International Rice Research Institute, supporting process management and communications related to the revision of the Sustainable Rice Platform Standard and Performance Indicators for Sustainable Rice Cultivation. Prior, she led work of the Asia Low Emission Development Strategies Partnership Secretariat, a regional partnership of policymakers and practitioners for low-emission growth in Asia, as well as supported USAID projects in Asia focused on accelerating private sector investment in and finance of climate-smart agriculture and clean energy development, and designing and integrating low emission development strategies in public sector plans.


Jeremy Zwinger
President and CEO
The Rice Trader

Mr. Jeremy Zwinger is the CEO / President of The Rice Trader, Farm And Trade Inc., and International Commodity Institute.  He was raised on his family’s farming operations in North Dakota, USA, and is a graduate of North Dakota State University, where he also attended graduate school for agriculture economics. His interests are broad, ranging from commodities markets to the digitalization of global business to the rapidly changing international cultural / geopolitical environment. On a personal note, Mr. Zwinger is blessed with five children and an amazing wife (Susan), whose support has allowed him to be here today.

A regular participant at international rice events and conferences, Mr. Zwinger has, over the years, contributed extensively on the analysis of rice markets by analyzing inter-commodity effects (wheat, corn, soybeans, sugar, etc.), as well as currency and oil price led impacts on the rice markets. He is also well-known among clients for his direct advisory work and market analysis that has, over the years, proven to be very close to actual market developments.  His 2007 speech forecasting rice prices to go past US$1,000 per ton levels, and his predicting the recent U.S. Trump presidency more than a year in advance of the U.S. elections, are a just a few examples that are well regarded.  

Mr. Zwinger has extensive experience that extends globally in the fields of publishing, brokerage, water trading, advisement, production financing, and consultancy services to a number of internationally respected players, including several Fortune 500 companies.  More recently, he has become extensively involved on globally critical topics such as water rights and value, food security issues, international production financing, global investment strategies with a focus on the commodity fields, market development strategies, and the coming solar cycle which is likely to lead to major global issues on a multitude of levels.

Mr. Zwinger looks forward to contributing more insights on the future and hopes to make yet another accurate assessment of the direction the market is headed in aid of the Global Sustainable Rice Conference 2017 audience. As we have seen in the past, there are likely to be some interesting insights that come from his speech.

NGOs / Non-Profit Organizations

Dr. Andrew D Powell
Chief Executive, Officer/Secretariat Director
Asia BioBusiness Pte. Ltd./The Rice Bowl Index, Singapore

Andrew got his early education in Scotland at Ayr Academy and Edinburgh University (Biological Sciences) and obtained his PhD in Plant Physiology from the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He has held research and academic positions in Crop Science at the University of Guelph, the National Institute of Human Sciences, Tokyo, the Medicinal Plant Research Station, Tsukuba, and the National University of Singapore. 

Andrew has been working as a consultant for both the public and private sectors since 1994 and founded Asia BioBusiness with Professor Paul Teng in 2005. 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 is also trained in Risk Communication and is establishing a network of centers in the field in Latin America, Australia and New Zealand, Asia and the EU.


Nguyet Minh Le
Global Agriculture Advisor
Oxfam

Le Nguyet Minh is Oxfam’s Senior Advisor of Agri-Business Program Development. She is an economist with 18 years of experience. Le has managed programs on livelihoods and income security for smallholder farmers, partnership and public governance, pro-poor markets, building civil society in various countries, in particular in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region. Le has held positions with various international development organizations, including DFID, World Bank, and FAO. For the past five years, her work has concentrated on agricultural policy issues and economic justice for the rural poor. Le holds a Master of Arts major in Development Economics from Williams College.


Ashish Srivastava
State Program Coordinator, Rural Economy, Intercooperation Social Development, India

Ashish Srivastava is working as State Program Coordinator – Rural Economy in ICSD and based at Uttarakhand. He is a Post Graduate in Agriculture (Plant Breeding and Genetics) from Chandra Shekhar Azad University, Kanpur and has done management development program on Value Chain from Institute of Rural Management Anand. He has over 15 years of experience in Sustainable Production and Climate Change issues in agriculture. He has worked in close association with small and marginal farmers and worked with renowned organisations like Uttarakhand Organic Commodity Board, Naandi Foundation, Morarka Foundation and Ecosphere.


Mary Grady
Deputy Director
American Carbon Registry, an enterprise of Winrock International, U.S.       

Mary Grady has been active in environmental markets for 24 years. As Deputy Director of Winrock’s American Carbon Registry (ACR), Mary manages operations and ACR’s respected team of technical and policy experts and activities in the California regulated and voluntary carbon markets, in which ACR is recognized for environmental integrity and innovation. Prior to ACR, Mary worked for over 15 years in the renewable energy industry including as Operations Leader at Clipper Windpower and in Brazil as the director of an innovative solar rural electrification program. Mary holds a Masters in International Business (MIBS) degree from the University of South Carolina and resides with her family in California.


Christ Vansteenkiste
Rice Cluster Coordinator
VECO          

Christ is currently Rice Cluster Coordinator in VECO, an international network organization of 8 regional offices with more than 40 years of experience in partnering with farmer organisations and food chain actors across Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. VECO tests innovative practices and builds evidence, alongside research and finance institutes, private companies and other actors to come to more sustainable and inclusive business models in agricultural value chains.

Christy has been development practitioner from 1985 to 2006 in agricultural development programmes based in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Benin. Responsible for development of a Planning, Learning and Accountability system in the organisation from 2008 till 2010, based in Belgium. Follow up of value-chain programmes (rice, bananas, sesame, fonio, cowpeas) in the West African region (Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger and Senegal). As from now, rice cluster coordinator within the organisation, to harness the potential of the rice programmes in the various VECOs in Africa and Asia on a global scale in collaboration with other interested actors.


U Yan Lin
Member of Upper House of Myanmar’s Parliament and
The Chairperson of The Parliamentary Council for Agriculture, Livestock & Rural Development

U Yan Lin was a former University Lecturer and a society man, currently serving as Chairperson of Agriculture, Livestock & Rural Development Affairs Committee in the Parliament after being elected as a Member of Parliament in 2015 November.

Education and Career Life
He finished agricultural study (B.Ag.) in 1977 from Yezin Agricultural University (YAU), Myanmar. He worked as Head of Agri Technology Department at Yangon Regional College No. 2 in 1978 and he was transferred to YAU in 1980. He worked as Assistant Lecturer and Senor Lecturer till 1998. He finished his master degree in 1988 at Queensland University, Australia. As extra curriculum activities, he actively worked as President of Tennis & Badminton Association, and Secretary-General of University Fine Arts Association.
He joined UN organizations and NGOs in 1998 and worked for 6 years around Myanmar. He worked as Agri team leader in socio-eco project of CSR program run by TOTAL Myanmar Company. His Volunteer works were Chairperson of Steering Committee of Food Security Working Group from 2012 to 2015, President of Myanmar Consumers Union from 2011 to 2015, and Member of Advisory Committee of Myanmar Information Management Unit (MIMU) from 2013-2015. Also he worked as National Consultant in FAO from 2014 to 2015.

Political Career
In the 2015 November General Election, he competed in Kyaik Latt Township, Ayeyarwaddy Region. He won the majority votes and was elected as a parliament member in Pyithu Hluttaw. The Parliament assigned him as Chairperson of Agriculture, Livestock & Rural Development Affairs Committee.


Lissy Van Noort
Program Manager
AKVO, Vietnam

Lissy manages partnerships for Akvo with a number of organisations and consortia in South East Asia and the Pacific. Amongst others, she manages the program where Akvo is supporting MARS in the introduction of mobile based data collection tools to help suppliers in India, Pakistan and Cambodia monitor performance metrics and the compliance to SRP standards. She is involved in the design and facilitation of capacity building and training activities in the field. 

Lissy joined Akvo at the end of 2011, having spent time conducting local research in Uganda on parental participation in education. She has also worked for NGOs including SNV Uganda and Edukans, and the 1%Club. Lissy has an MSc and a BSc in Youth, Education and Society from Utrecht University. Lissy joined the Akvo South East Asia & Pacific hub in 2016 and is based in Indonesia. Before that, she was based in Amsterdam and Hanoi, Vietnam. 


Dr. Apichai Thirathon
Agronomist and Environment Specialist
GMS Core Agricultural Support      

Apichai Thirathon. Apichai is currently working as an Agronomist and Environment Specialist promoting the adoption of safe and environment-friendly agriculture practices in the Greater Mekong Subregion under the Core Agriculture Support Program (CASP), project administered by the Asian Development Bank. Prior to this position, Apichai has worked for over 40 years with the Thai Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, university, NGOs, and international development agencies on agriculture, biodiversity conservation and natural resources management. Apichai received a Ph.D. in Agronomy, M. Agriculture from Australia and obtained a B.Sc. (Soil Science) from Kasetsart University in Thailand.


Jens Soth
Senior Advisor Value Chains & Sustainable Commodities
Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation

Jens Soth, agricultural scientist (M.SC) and environmental engineer (M.Sc.) works at HELVETAS Swiss Intercooperation for the design and implementation of sustainable commodity value chains.

He also works as expert for the EU commission (on behalf of the European Environmental Bureau and the European Consumer Organization) for the industry sectors agriculture, textiles and footwear and cosmetics aiming to bring in sustainability challenges in the South into corresponding regulative approaches of the EU.

He has been appointed by several sustainability investment funds or impact investor groups in Switzerland, Germany and Scandinavia as advising expert and was delegated by Switzerland and Germany to the sustainability panel of the International Cotton Advisory Committee.

Certification and Sustainability Experts

Rachel Zedeck
Director
Peterson Asia

Rachel Zedeck is an internationally recognized impact entrepreneur with 20 years of global experience and now based in Bangkok. She passionately advocates for the advancement of smallholder farmers, SME agribusiness, women and the environment. Her work has successfully commercialized responsible smallholder production models into economically, socially and environmentally responsible value chains supplying local, regional and export markets. Her long-term vision is to empower entrepreneurs, investors, consumers, government and non-profit organizations with unique knowledge to make critical decisions, leverage opportunities and minimize risk.

Her previous ventures have received accolades including the 2010 UNEP/UNDP SEED Award for "green" enterprise, 2012 GSBI Fellowship in Social Entrepreneurship and the 2013 KATERVA award for sustainable design in commercial agriculture


Geert Eenhoorn
Rice Project Manager
UTZ, Netherlands

Geert Eenhoorn holds a Master degree in Industrial Design Engineering from the Delft University of Technology (with honors). As a hands-on innovative manager with background in business & project development, he builds and boosts viable sustainable propositions. Having worked for Dutch and Multinational companies in Europe, Latin America and Asia, he has built solid international experience with a track record extending from waste management to renewable energy, climate change mechanisms to sustainable supply chains and worked for corporates (e.g. Lucent Technologies, Econcern), and (co-owned) start-ups (e.g. WakaWaka and Generous Minds). Currently he’s managing the rice project at UTZ.


Dr. Thomas Unger
Managing Director
Eurofins Global Control GmbH, Germany

Thomas Unger has more than 23 years’ experience in food and feed testing. He started his career as lab technician. Then he took over various management positions. He headed the agricultural analytical services of SGS in Germany and Scandinavia over 4 years and then became the managing director of the traditional inspection company Beckmann & Jörgensen GmbH. Since 2016 he is the managing director of Eurofins Global Control as the successor of Dr. Werner Nader, who will retire within the next months.


Georges Le Nigen
Global Sales Manager
SGS Transparency-One

Before joining SGS to promote and sell Transparency-One digital supply chain mapping solution, Georges was Sales VP for highly successful European and US software companies such as Trace One, Enablon or RSi, signing with dozens of large accounts, both in the retail and consumer goods sector, and gathering over 30,000+ suppliers from 110 countries, around cloud-based B to B platforms,  enabling large communities of users to share key product, facility and component information.


Dr. Sergiy Zorya
Senior Agricultural Economist
World Bank Group

Sergiy Zorya is the Senior Economist in the Food and Agriculture Global Practice of the World Bank. Sergiy is currently based in Hanoi where he coordinates the World Bank’s agricultural program in Vietnam. His previous assignment was Bangkok where he worked on agricultural projects in Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Myanmar. Sergiy joined the World Bank in 2005 as a Young Professional and prior to the assignment in Southeast Asia worked in two Regions: Europe and Central Asia and Africa, as well as in the corporate unit, Agriculture and Rural Development Department of the Sustainable Development Network. Sergiy holds the Master degree in Agricultural Economics from the Agricultural University of Zhytomyr, Ukraine, and Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from the Georg-August University of Goettingen, Germany.

Technology, Equipment and Financial Services

Eli Vered
R&D Senior Agronomist
Netafim, Israel

A Bit About Eli 
Starting out as Agricultural Department Manager for Netafim Magal, Eli has played an integral role in developing new drip irrigation approaches and processes for over 30 years. Also serving as chief agronomist for Netafim Australia in the mid-to-late 1970s, when the company initially penetrated the continent, Eli has been instrumental in developing drip irrigation methods for growing cotton, sugarcane and field crops. Netafim's Senior Agronomist/Energy Crops and Field Crops Manager since 1999, Eli has been involved in the development of Netafim's groundbreaking low-pressure and low flow-rate systems.

Thoughts & Insights
Crop Expertise and Experience 
"Netafim's greatest advantage is its Agricultural Department, which employs leading agronomists with extensive expertise and experience in all crops. Another big advantage is the company's ability to provide irrigation solutions that utilize a range of water qualities."

Research on Rice 
"Historically, we've adapted our drip methods to a diverse array of crops, while emphasizing increased yields and water savings. An example of that is our research over the last few years in adapting drip irrigation to rice."


Arindom Datta
Asia Head, Sustainability Banking
Rabo India Securities Limited, India

Arindom has over 24 years of experience in Rural Finance, Cooperative Banking, Microfinance and Agribusiness banking. Currently he is leading Rabobank’s sustainability agenda on knowledge, risk management and business development across Asia. He also heads the Rural banking and advisory portfolio in India and for Rabobank Foundation oversees projects in agriculture cooperatives and “access to finance”.

His earlier experience was with National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, IDBI Bank and CARE.

Arindom is a Mathematics honours graduate from St. Stephen’s College and has an MBA with specialization in Finance and Strategy.


Manuel Murrenhoff
Grain Logistics
Buhler, Germany

In 2017 Manuel relocated to Vietnam to realize Buhler’s SmartFarm Vision 2020: Bridging the gap from farm to fork using Big Data while promoting traceability and accountability in food safety with seamless integration of global food supply chains.

In his previous position he created the Buhler Grain Logistics’ global IoT and digitalization strategy from the ground up concentrating on data driven digital services. Manuel was additionally responsible for the development of the Group’s, first IoT Application Center located in Beilngries, Germany.

Manuel studied in Muenster (GER), Bonn (GER) and Pennsylvania (USA). He holds a Master degree in Food Technology.


Dr. Simon M. Holland
Chief Executive Officer
Barefoot Lightning Ltd, India

Dr Simon M Holland, is a pioneer in developing mobile Apps for agriculture having led the design and build of the National Pest and Disease Surveillance System for the Government of India in 2007 which was deployed on iPaq’s, as smartphones were yet to enter the market. He was co-opted to the planning commission for the 11th 5 Year Plan for IT for Agriculture Marketing and led efforts to enhance AgMarkNet, the biggest agricultural market information system in the World. He has also led the operations of major companies such as Racal Telecoms where he was the Product Portfolio Director and Shimla Hills (Foods) India where he was Head of Operations.  More recently at Barefoot Lightning he has been focussed on embedding science based Decision Support Systems (DSS) in mobile phone based Apps, using animation based interfaces to help low literacy farmers access knowledge.  He has a PhD in Laser Spectroscopy from Bristol University which has helped in the design of multi-spectral and hyper-spectral satellite services for remote monitoring.


Yannick Foing
Regional Director - Nutrition Improvement Program, Asia Pacific
DSM, Singapore

Yannick Foing is the Regional Director of DSM Nutrition Improvement Program for Asia Pacific, based in Singapore since August 2012. In his role, he’s responsible to support staple food fortification and other base of the pyramid initiatives to improve public health through nutrition. He works with cross-sector partners to develop strategies and drive action plans including technology development and nutrition advocacy to fight hidden hunger and malnutrition.

Prior to joining DSM, from 2009 to 2012, Yannick was Director of Partnerships and Fundraising for a France-based non-profit, BioVision, organizer of the World Life Sciences Forum. From 2004 to 2008, Yannick co-founded the US subsidiary of a leading French biotechnology company, Genfit, and was appointed US Business Development Director, based out of Boston, USA.

Yannick holds a Master of Science in Molecular Biology from University of Strasbourg (France). He also holds a Master of Science in Public Health from University of Montreal (Canada).