Joseph DeVries obtained his BS in Agronomy from North Carolina State University and his MSc in Crop Physiology from the University of Florida. His career began in Africa more than 25 years ago, first as a United Nations Volunteer, where he worked with communities in building village-owned and operated rice schemes in Mali and also delivered seed and technical assistance to farmers trapped behind battle lines in Mozambique.
After obtaining his PhD in Plant Breeding and Genetics from Cornell University, he joined World Vision International as its Director for Food Security in Africa. While there he designed and led agricultural relief and recovery programs in Angola, Somalia, Rwanda, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and the Sudan.
In 1997, Joseph joined The Rockefeller Foundation, where he spearheaded the Foundation’s investments in genetic improvement of African crops and the development of more farmer-responsive seed systems, resulting in the development of hundreds of improved crop varieties, many of which are now being grown on farmers’ fields. The program also created a number of new centers of innovation in Africa, including several PhD fellowship programs, two venture capital funds for agri-business, a business development service for African seed companies, and several crop breeding networks. Joseph also co-authored with Gary Toenniessen the book, “Securing the Harvest”, in 2001. The book proposed radically new strategies for employing agro-ecology-based plant breeding and decentralized, private-sector driven seed delivery to spearhead an African Green Revolution.
In 2006, Joseph led a design team composed of officers of The Rockefeller Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and over 40 other professionals in the creation of a $150 million initiative on crop genetic improvement and seed systems development, which became the first initiative of the newly-formed Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa. Since 2007, Joseph has managed this program, the “Program for Africa’s Seed Systems” (PASS), from AGRA’s headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. PASS currently operates in 17 countries.
Peter Freymark is the Research Coordinator within the Maize Product Development group for LAAAP (Latin America, Africa and Asia Pacific) at Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc. Peter is based in Johnston, Iowa in USA and focuses primarily on the application of new technologies to enhance the maize breeding programs across LAAAP; this includes molecular breeding, doubled haploid breeding, molecular characterization and germplasm exchange. He works with LAAAP scientists and coordinators to develop local and regional capacity and sourcing plans as appropriate for the development and deployment of these technologies.
Peter, a native of Zimbabwe, joined Pioneer in 1986 and held several positions in different countries with Pioneer Crop Genetics Research, including applied inbred and hybrid development. Both currently and in the past, he has served as a reviewer for the Consultative Group on International Research (CGIAR) related initiatives and collaborations. He is Chair of the Pioneer International Scholarship Committee.
He earned a BSc in Agriculture, from the University of Natal, South Africa, an MPhil in Agriculture, from the University of Zimbabwe and a PhD in Plant Breeding and Plant Pathology from Iowa State University, Ames Iowa and has authored and co-authored several publications in refereed journals and proceedings.
Augustine Langyintuo is a Senior Operations Officer – Agribusiness with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) – World Bank Group, based in Nairobi, Kenya. Before then, he worked as the Head of Policy & Partnerships Program of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), Nairobi until June 2013 when he joined IFC. Prior to joining AGRA in March 2009, Augustine worked in several positions within national and international research institutes including the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) for over 20 years as an Agricultural Economist. Before that he headed the Socio-Economics Unit of the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute, Ghana while lecturing several courses in the field of agricultural economics at the University for Development Studies, Ghana. While at CIMMYT and AGRA, he continued to supervise post-graduate students in various universities in Africa and North America.
A trade economist and an agribusiness expert, Augustine has published over 100 articles in several international peer review journals and conference proceedings on issues related to input and output market development policy and spear-headed various agricultural policy reforms in Africa. He currently serves as an Associate Editor of the African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics and reviews for several international Journals. Affiliated to several professional bodies, Augustine is the current President of the African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE). He also serves as a Member of the Advisory Board of the UNDP Report on Inclusive Business and their Ecosystems in Africa.
Augustine holds a PhD (Agricultural Economics) from Purdue University, USA an MSc Degree (Agricultural Economics) from Reading University, United Kingdom and a BSc (Upper Honors) Degree in Agriculture from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.
Edgar Rupende is the Technical Director of Seed Co Zambia, a subsidiary of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange Listed Seed Co Ltd. In addition, he is the Group Head of Production, overseeing seed production activities in Seed Co Ltd subsidiaries such as Seed Co – Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Edgar has 18 years experience in agriculture, agri-business and rural development and has worked in both the public and private sectors in Zimbabwe and Zambia with internationally recognized agricultural seed enterprise companies such as Cargill (now Monsanto) and Seed Co Ltd. He has vast experience in teaching, crop research and production, seed production, and operations (supply chain management, processing and logistics).
He obtained a BSc in Crop Science in 1991 at the University of Zimbabwe. He was retained in the Crop Science Department as a Teaching Assistant in Agronomy and Horticulture courses. In 1992, Edgar was awarded a Rockefeller Foundation Postgraduate Scholarship on Integrated Crop Management focusing on Smallholder Farming Sector of Zimbabwe. His studies focused on maize weed management and he obtained an MPhil in Agronomy in 1996.
In addition to the above academic qualifications, Edgar has numerous professional qualifications such as a Diploma in Accounting, Finance and Financial Management (ACCA – UK), Cert. in Plant Breeding, Biotechnology and Seed Technology (Wageningen University – The Netherlands), Cert. in Leading Executive Programme (LEP)( University of Cape Town, South Africa) and an MBA from Nottingham Business School, United Kingdom).
Edgar has shared the knowledge gained through his research and work experience with others through presentations in both private and public sectors and at local and international conferences. He has also published in internationally recognised journals such as Experimental Agriculture (UK) and Plant Protection (Malaysia).
Alfred Busolo Tabu holds a BSc in Agriculture from the University of Nairobi and an MSc in Food Industry Management and Marketing. Alfred has vast experience in the field of Agriculture having worked in the Ministry of Agriculture as an Agricultural Officer and a Manager in the tea industry and seed business. He joined Williamson Tea as a Management Trainee in 1993 and rose through the ranks to become a Senior Manager of a tea estate with over 2,000 employees. While at Williamson Tea, he guided the company to attaining ISO certification and Fair Trade Certification. He also guided the Williamson Tea Tinderet Estate in attaining Rainforest Alliance certification. Alfred is also a qualified lead expert in Environmental Impact Assessment and Audit and a lead auditor on ISO 22000, Food Safety Management System.
Currently, Alfred is the Director in charge of Operations and Research and also the Deputy Managing Director at Kenya Seed Co, Ltd. His work involves developing competitive business strategies for the company, coordinating research, production and marketing activities and monitoring the work plans and programs of different departments and divisions in the company.
Alfred is a member of the Institute of Directors of Kenya, the Kenya Red Cross and the Vice Chair of the Kenya Ploughing Competition.
He sits on various boards for secondary schools
Dave Westphal is an accomplished executive possessing more than 41 years of diverse management experience in worldwide agribusiness for Cargill Inc. and Monsanto Westphal has held positions as Chief Operations Officer, Holden’s Foundation Seeds LLC and Corn States Business Services and Hawaiian Research for Monsanto, Area Co-Director for Sub-Saharan Africa, Vice Chairman Sansako Seeds, Managing Director Carnia Seeds and Vice President for Cargill Inc. in various seed product line responsibilities (Cargill Hybrid Seeds/ Paymaster Seeds/ PAG SEEDS/ Bounty Hybrid Wheat) and grain origination, crop protection and fertilizer distribution businesses, both domestic and international.
Founder and CEO of D3 Consulting, LLC, Westphal is currently engaged in consulting activities with foundations and alliances in Africa working with start-up seed businesses as a Senior Associate at Context. At UC Davis, Department of Plant Science Dave is founding instructor for SEED BUSINESS 101- FIELD CROPS. Dave is recognized for expertise in building successful companies, P&L management, product management, problem solving, setting strategy and direction, finances, capital projects and acquisitions, developing people, marketing and creating product value.
Previous Board Members
Aline O’Connor Funk’s professional work revolves around improving agricultural productivity and food security in sub-Saharan Africa. She serves as a consultant to the Africa-based Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), a joint project of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, as well as to a major foundation active in the sector. Her work focuses on seed distribution systems in Africa, particularly as they relate to private enterprise.
Aline is the former CEO (until 2008) and co-founder of Channel Bio Corp., one of the largest row crop seed companies in the USA. Channel Bio Corp. researches, tests, markets and distributes maize, soybean, sorghum and alfalfa seed through three wholly-owned and separate brands in the USA: Crow’s Hybrids, Midwest Seed Genetics, and NC+. She has extensive experience in all aspects of running independent seed companies, and is known for her focus on farmers’ needs, service and education. She co-founded Channel Bio Corp. in 1991, and prior to that worked for ten years in the field of international financial services, where her responsibilities centered on strategy development and sound business management practices for global businesses.
Aline earned a BA in English from Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and an MBA in Finance from the University of Chicago. She has traveled extensively outside the USA, including visits to more than fifteen African countries.
Andy Greenland has 25 years’ experience of fundamental, strategic and applied crop science and biotechnology at National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB), Syngenta, and in universities. During his long career in industry he was a senior science manager at the cutting edge of commercial biotechnology with project responsibilities in the UK/EU, USA, Japan and Australia ensuring that scientific discoveries reached practical outcomes. He has also worked extensively in the public sector, fostering academic collaborations, supervising PhD students and working on UK funding committees.
Andy is currently Director of Research at the National Institute of Agricultural Botany, in Cambridge. Outside of NIAB he is a committee member for the UK Genetics Society and sits on the Technical Advisory Group for the DTI-funded Bioscience for Business Knowledge Transfer Network in York. He is a Visiting Professor in the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences at the University of Sheffield.
Andy is an author of more than 50 publications and named inventor on 30 patents and Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications
Jeff Luhanga is the current Controller of Agricultural Extension and Technical Services in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, in Malawi, where he oversees functions of all technical departments and also facilitates policy development in the agriculture sector generally, and the seed industry specifically.
Jeff has extensive experience in seed sector reform and policy development, and has spearheaded the development of Malawi’s seed sector reform policies, which resulted in increased investments in its seed industry. Regionally, he was involved in the harmonization of the Southern African Development Community’s seed regulations regarding seed testing, certification, variety release, and phytosanitary protocols, which will facilitate regional seed trade. He also provided support in the development of Lesotho’s seed policies.
Jeff is also a member of a technical committee in Malawi’ Ministry of Agriculture which is implementing a nation-wide farm input subsidy program that involves providing 1.5 million farm-families with fertilizer and seed of improved open pollinated and hybrid maize varieties. As a result of this program, Malawi for the first time in years exported over 250 000 tons of maize and is food secure. To complement this, Jeff is championing the promotion of “green belts” or mega field demonstrations throughout Malawi for new maize varieties as a means of enhancing technology adoption amongst small-scale farmers.
Previously, Jeff served as the head of Seed Testing and Certification in Malawi for 16 years, where he obtained International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) Accreditation for the country’s seed testing laboratory. He was also the African representative on ISTA’s Executive Committee for 6 years.
Jeff obtained his BS in Agriculture from the University of Malawi and his MS in Seed Technology from Edinburgh University, United Kingdom, while his PhD in Agronomy was from Mississippi State University, USA.
Dunstan Spencer is currently a Senior Partner with Enterprise Development Services Ltd, Sierra Leone. In this role he has been a consultant in the evaluation of several agricultural development projects for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), World Bank, and World Vision Sierra Leone.
In the last 15 years, Dunstan has consulted independently for diverse international organizations and government ministries involved in food, agriculture and rural development issues globally with a focus on Central and West Africa. The organizations include the: FAO, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), African Development Bank, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Rockefeller Foundation, and Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) centers. The assignments have involved agricultural project identification, design, appraisal, supervision and evaluation, drawing on his expertise in institutional – and environmental assessments, impact evaluations, poverty alleviation, and national policy formulation.
Previously, Dunstan has worked as the Director of the Resource and Crop Management Division at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Ibadan, Nigeria; as Principal Economist at International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Niamey, Niger. Before that he was the Director of the Research and Development Department at the West Africa Rice Development Association (WARDA) in Monrovia, Liberia. He has also taught agricultural and development economics to undergraduate students in Sierra Leone, and graduate students in the USA.
Dunstan is a native of Sierra Leone, though he was born in Lagos, Nigeria. He obtained his BS in Agriculture from Wye College, London University, UK; MS in Agricultural Economics (with a minor in Animal Science), from University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, USA and a PhD in Agricultural Economics from the same university. He is a member of several professional societies, is the first Fellow of the African Association of Agricultural Economists, and has authored more than 60 publications in refereed journals and conference proceedings, in the course of his career.
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