Dr Blessed Okole Dr. Currently serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors Africa Harvest. He is a native of Cameroon holds a PhD in Agricultural Biotechnology from the Technical University of Berlin, Germany and a graduate of the International Executive Development Programme from the London Business School and Witwatersrand University. He currently serves as the Managing Director of SG Sustainable Oils Ltd in Cameroon, which is a 19,830 ha oil palm plantation in the country.
Dr. Okole has over the past 25 years had extensive management experience and has held senior positions in strategy, business development, fundraising, and project operations. Previously, he served as the Head of International Business Development for the Technology Innovation Agency and CEO of East Coast Biotechnology Innovation Centre LIFElab, both initiatives of the Government of South Africa.
Prior to joining LIFElab, He held the position of Business Development Manager and Strategic Partnership Manager for CSIR Biosciences unit, and previously an interim Director for the NEPAD Southern African Network for Biosciences (SANBio).As an entrepreneur, Dr. Okole started a successful Plant Tissue culture company African Biotechnologies in South Africa and brings on board a rich international background in both agriculture and business operations.
Dr Florence Wambugu is the CEO and also a member of the Board of Directors (BOD) and her role is to act as a bridge between the management and the BOD on all technical and management matters of the organisation.
The CEO is also responsible on fundraising, by sharing with the BOD and management on successful fundraising strategies and fundraising needs; they in turn collectively listen to the needs of the organisation and make any necessary changes that will enable them to serve to their highest potential. Her role also includes influencing the establishment and maintenance of effective networks and partnerships.
The CEO is also responsible to the governing Board. The Board and the CEO work together to develop policies and plans consistent with the organisation’s mission and vision of which are aligned with 10year strategic plan. In consultation with the board, the CEO also formulates institutional strategies to adopt a holistic approach for the six programs namely.
- Food and Nutritional security and sustainable livelihoods of smallholders
- Technology development and deployment
- Natural resource management
- Agricultural Markets and Policy
- Communication for development and knowledge management
- Finance, Administration and new business development
She also develops annual planning guidelines, oversee the progress of the strategic plan and recommend strategies to achieve the goals and objectives to the Board. She is also responsible to implement the plan entirety and reports back on the organisations performance against objectives by providing a quarterly performance report to the Board.
Joseph Kibe serves as the Vice Chair of the Board and is the Chairman of the Kenya Horticulture Crops Development Authority that is being transformed into the Horticultural Crops Directorate of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Authority (AFFA). In the past, he has served as a civil servant in Kenya and as Permanent Secretary in various government ministries. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree from Makerere University College of the University of London.
He has rich experience in policy formulation and implementation, human resource management and budgeting, and accounting for financial and physical resources. He is currently involved in agricultural developments as an investor, with a particular interest in international horticultural trade. His special interest in financial investment and corporate governance has led to his current involvement as Director in over 10 private sector companies and not-for-profit foundations and trusts.
V. Larkin Martin has been, for over 20 years, the manager of two family-owned farms, Martin Farm and the Albemarle Corporation in Courtland, USA. She holds a BA in European History from Vanderbilt University and is the newest member of the Alabama Ethics Commission. Larkin has an impressive history as a farmer. She is also an astute businesswoman. In 2012 she was selected as an Eisenhower Fellow for studies done on Kenyan and Turkish agriculture. Her strong analytical skills and industry knowledge is drawn from years of experience and networking in the US agricultural sector. She has been the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and served as Chairman and Director of the Cotton Board. She currently serves on the Farm Foundation Board.
Dr Grace Malindi recently retired as the Director of Agricultural Extension Services at the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security in Malawi after 38 years in public service. She held various positions, including that of Training Officer, Gender-based Participatory Development Specialist, Deputy Director for Extension Services and Director of Extension Services.
Dr. Malindi holds a PhD in Human Resources and Community Development from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA, and has extensive experience in agricultural extension, gender mainstreaming, farmer training and participatory rural community development. She played a pivotal role in revolutionizing Malawian agriculture from a food deficit nation to a vibrant food surplus nation. Dr. Malindi is a member of the Association for International Agricultural Extension Education (AFAAS), Association of Women in International Development (AWID) and the American and Canadian Home Economics Association. Dr. Grace has received numerous awards and served on various advisory boards in Malawi.
Dr. Mpoko Bokanga is the CEO of AgroTEQ, with operations in Kenya, DR Congo and Nigeria where he assists agribusiness enterprises to solve challenges related to technical upgrade, expansion and modernization. He is a Food Technologist by training (PhD in Food Technology, 1989, Cornell University, USA). Prior to starting AgroTEQ he served as the representative to Kenya, Eritrea and South Sudan at the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
Preceding this position, Dr. Bokanga was leading the Agribusiness Development Unit at UNIDO Headquarters, and also served as the Chief Technical Adviser (CTA) of the West Africa Quality Program. His career also includes scientific research in the public and private sector, and corporate management of science-based development organizations such as the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) where he served as an Executive Director for 4 years.
Dr. Om Dangi is currently the President and CEO of Agriculture Environmental Renewal (AERC), Canada. He has over 39 years of experience in research. He headed projects in plant breeding programs for 21 years in developing hybrid sorghum and pearl millet. He holds a PhD in Plant Breeding from Haryana Agricultural University (HAU), Hissar, India. Through his extensive experience in developing hybrid sorghum and pearl millet he has in the past operated national and international collaborative sorghum research programs.
Previous to his position at AERC, he was a guest scientist at both the Molecular Technology Program and the Plant Breeding and Management Program at the Plant Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Ottawa. He also served as a Sorghum and Millet Breeder, at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)/ United States Agencies International Development (USAID)/ NCRE project, Institute of Agronomic Research (IRA), Maroua, Cameroon. He has over 70 published scientific papers and reports and is a recipient of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research award for Team Research in Agriculture (in the field of forage sorghum improvement and utilization).
Mrs. Sylvia Banda Is the managing director of Sylvia Food Solutions in Zambia, working to increase the demand for locally produced, traditional food in Zambia by creating entrepreneurial hubs that give farmers access to markets. Through this vehicle, smallholder farmers working in the hubs are able to create income that allows impacts and transformation in their lives.
She also serves as the president of PAN-Africa – African Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (AWEP), a Board Member of Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) Zambia, Board Vice Chairperson on Agri-Business Incubation Trust (Agbit) and in the past she served as the Ambassador for Zambia AWEP. She has over 20 years’ experience in Entrepreneurship in African Agriculture. Mrs Banda will be serving as Audit Committee member in the Board.
Dr. Sereme Paco,
Is a national of Bukina Faso currently serves as the acting Executive Director of the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD). He holds a Docteur-Ingénieur (Ph.D.) Plant Pathology, University of Rennes I, France and a Master’s degree General Agronomy, University of Niamey, Niger among others.
Prior to his position at CORAF, he held a position as the Executive Director of the same institution. He also served in Burkina Faso as Director of the National Agricultural Research Institute (INERA) from 1994 to 2002 after serving as Scientific Co-operation Director of the National Center for Scientific and Technological Research (CNRST), he will be serving as the Nominations and Governance Committee member within the board.