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 of Energy Branch
UN Environment

Dr. Wyn Ellis
Coordinator
Sustainable Rice Platform

Jan Willem Ketelaar
Chief Technical Officer
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), The Netherlands

Dr. David Dawe
Senior Economist
FAO, Bangkok

Peter Sprang
Technical Coordinator
Sustainable Rice Platform

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

Philip Idro
Director
Upland Rice Millers Co. Ltd., Uganda

Clint Coo
Business Development Manager
Siam Organic, Thailand

David Sok
Vice President
Golden Rice, Cambodia

Yong Lee Keng
Agriculture Services Manager
Nestle, Malaysia

Kenneth Kyaw Shein
CEO
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

Dr. Bobba, Venkata Niranjan Kumar
R&D Leader
of Dow AgroSciences ASEAN

Emmanuelle Bourgois
CEO
FairAgora Asia, Thailand

Ashutosh Kumar Sinha
Head- Agribusiness
LT Foods Limited, India 

Nicholas Spencer
Executive Director
IBIS Rice Conservation Company Ltd, Cambodia

Research, Academia and Industry Associations

Dr. V. Bruce J. Tolentino, Ph.D.
Deputy Director-General and Secretary, IRRI Board of Trustees
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

Dr. Simon M. Holland
Barefoot Lightning Ltd

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

Bob 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 Secreteriat
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

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

Oliver Benjamin Frith
Head of Resource Mobilisation
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)

NGOs / Non-Profit Organizations

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

Nguyet Minh Le
Senior Advisor
Agri-Business Program Development, 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
Chairman
Parliamentary Committee for AGRI, Livestock and Rural Development, Myanmar

Ibrahim Gourouza Magagi
Chief Operating Officer
NEPAD, South Africa

Christ Vansteenkiste
Programme Advisor
Vredeseilanden (VECO)       


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

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

 

 

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 of Energy Branch
UN Environment

Mark Radka heads the UN Environment Programme's Energy, Climate, and Technology Branch, which is part of the organisation's Division of Technology, Industry and Economics. He manages UNEP's efforts to link the global energy and environment agendas, much of which involves building partnerships between industry, governments, NGOs, and other groups on energy efficiency and renewable energy. 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 UNEP, 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
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 (FAO), The Netherlands

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.

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.


Philip Idro
Director
Upland Rice Millers Co. Ltd., Uganda

Ambassador Idro, 64, was born in Northern Uganda and is married and a grandfather.  

After graduating in Economics from Makerere University, Kampala, he worked briefly in both private and public offices and left due to bad political environment. He joined politics and later rose to top positions where he specialized in policy and strategy. His last public assignment was the post of Ugandan Ambassador to China.

Today he runs Upland Rice Millers Co. Ltd. one of the leading rice processing firms in Uganda. Idro is a member of the Presidential Investors Round Table of Uganda. He has is also a Director of the Eastern African Grain Council, and transformation committees of Rice at AfricaRice and Support to Agricultural Research for development of Strategic Crops (SARD SC) supported by AfDB and hosted by IITA. He equally chairs LEAD a USAID supported team of successful Ugandan private sector that looks at and advises on successful pathways in Ugandan agriculture.

He loves public affairs and so most of the time delves in the development of policy and strategic options.

Ambassador Idro was one of the initiators and founder members of FOCAC the new China Africa inter relationship organization. Together with JICA and other large rice millers, he founded and is Chairman of the Rice Millers Council of Uganda, the best organized commodity platform in Uganda that excels in championing Rice policy and strategy for Uganda and East Africa. Important, yet marred with challenges, is to ensure Uganda has a Sustainable Rice Program as well.


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.


Dr. Bobba, Venkata Niranjan Kumar
R&D Leader
of Dow AgroSciences ASEAN

Dr. Venkata Niranjan Kumar, Bobba (To call Short: "Niranjan"), currently R&D leader for South East Asia Region for Dow AgroSciences LLC, USA. Niranjan did his Bachelors in Agriculture, Masters & Doctorate in Agricultural Entomology and MBA from Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow, India

Previously held various roles in R&D, Techno-commercial and allied functions. (1)R&D Manager Role for South India & Srilanka, (2)Techno-commercial role for Fungicides and Herbicides for South Asia, (3) Regulatory & Govt affairs for South Asia. (4) Regulatory, Govt Affairs and Stewardship for South East Asia.

Currently responsible for multiple functions (Field R&D, Regulatory and Govt Affairs, Technology Transfer & Product Stewardship) as R&D leader for ASEAN, based out of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia effective October 2012, leading a team of 20+ scientists and technical experts across 6 countries in ASEAN.

Have successfully held Project leadership roles and People leadership roles and am certified Six Sigma Green Belt Project Leader. Worked mostly in cross cultural situations and multi-functional challenging & remotely located team environment with people from different cultures. Travelled around 20+ countries and have very good idea on agriculture markets & allied inputs industry scenario in Asia Pacific.

Personal rewards & experiential recognitions as individual contributor, project leader and people leader are many, the best being "Global People Leader Excellence Award in R&D-2014" & “Best Asia Pacific Employee Award 2014”.

Passion: Agricultural & Food Policy Research. Continuous learning & teaching, extensive traveling & exploring new places, meeting people and assimilating with different cultures and people, and contributing views / comments / articles to "leadership, Motivation and Personality development" related subjects. Author on personality development subjects & engages with fiction work and writing at leisure.

Personal interests: TED, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Slideshare, Visual thinking, Mindtools and passion on topics related to leadership, writing & publishing.


David Sok
Vice President
Golden Rice, Cambodia

Born and educated in France, David Sok started his career in New York City (USA) to work for a derivatives brokerage firm for 10 years.  After moving back to France and continuing working in Finance for a few years, Mr. Sok decided to join the recently formed family rice business.  He was first based in France in order to cover the EU market, and moved to Cambodia in 2012 to work full time for Golden Rice Cambodia.

Golden Rice is a leading rice miller in Cambodia, founded in 2008 with the mission to create sustainable value in the agricultural landscape of the Kingdom.  Its clients include European supermarkets, wholesalers and packers, that have the highest standards in terms of supply chain sustainability.  Golden Rice Cambodia also exports in Asia where it hopes that the quality of its products and the growing interest in healthy and sustainable food will boost Cambodia’s farmers livelihoods.

Golden Rice obtained the ISO 9001, GMP/HACCP, EU & USDA organic certifications, and is working towards ISO 14001 (Environmental Management System) and SA8000 (Social Accountability) certifications. 


Kenneth Kyaw Shein
CEO
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
CEO
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.

Research, Academia and Industry Associations

Dr. V. Bruce J. Tolentino, Ph.D.
Deputy Director-General and Secretary, IRRI Board of Trustees
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 Mobilisation
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.


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.


Astari Widya Dharma
BRIA Regional Secreteriat
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.

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
Senior Advisor
Agri-Business Program Development, 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.


Ibrahim Gourouza Magagi
Chief Operating Officer
NEPAD, South Africa

Since February 2017, Ibrahim Gourouza-Magagi is the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Regional director (west and central Africa) of Grow Africa, a program of the NEPAD Agency, the African Union Commission (AUC) and the World Economic Forum (WEF) which aims to attract private sector investment into agriculture in Africa.

In this role, Ibrahim has helped to set up priority value chains multi stakeholders platforms in Cote d’ivoire ( rice), in Ghana ( rice and cassava), in Nigeria (cassava) and in Benin (pineapple).

Prior to his role, Ibrahim was the Special Assistant of the Nepad Agency CEO; Dr Ibrahim Mayaki; for eight years.
Until his appointment as Special Assistant of the Nepad Agency CEO, Ibrahim was Managing Director of Perfect Insurance, a Toulouse (France) based insurance company.

Ibrahim graduated with a Master in Geopolitics and International relations from the Institut d ’etude politique de Toulouse (France) in 2008 and with a Master in Diplomacy and Strategy from Centre d ‘etude diplomatique et strategique (CEDS-PARIS) in 2006.


Christ Vansteenkiste
Programme Advisor
Vredeseilanden (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
Chairman
Parliamentary Committee for AGRI, Livestock and Rural Development, Myanmar

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.

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.

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.