APA President and Chair of Local Organizing Committee
Dr. Bucagu Charles, Associate Professor of Agroforestry is the current Deputy Director General (DDG) at Rwanda Agriculture Board, Rwanda. He was appointed at this position in April 2018. Before joining RAB, he served as Dean of the School of Agriculture and Food Science at the University of Rwanda from 2014 to 2018. He has been in teaching and research over 17 years and his research mostly focusing on the use of trees and shrubs in particular farming environment, targeting appropriate options for integration in agricultural production systems. Dr. Bucagu Charles’s research has focused on smallholder farming systems in Rwanda with particular emphasis on exploring the diversity of mixed agroforestry based farming systems within different agro-ecological zones and identifying the role of agroforestry in addressing problems related to soil nutrient deficiencies and poor quality of livestock feeds. Particular emphasis is accorded to issues regarding resource use and exploring options for optimizing resource use on farms. He has authored or co-authored a number of papers in reputable international journals and is involved in a vast network of scientists with the view to developing partnerships in research for impact in rural communities.
Ndirigwe Jean is a sweetpotato breeder and Senior Research Fellow and working with Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board. He is a PhD Fellow with twenty-two years’ experience in the improvement and dissemination of roots and tuber crops: Sweetpotato, Yam bean, Cassava, and Potato. Conducted research on Breeding and agronomy of sweetpotato, cassava, potato, and integrated crop management practices. Practically participates in conducting research on orange-fleshed sweetpotato rich in vitamin A breeding both on-station and participatory plant breeding through Farmers participation in selecting desirable varieties for different production objectives. Also versed in establishing a sustainable informal sweetpotato seed system for multiplication and distribution of sweetpotato planting materials through farmer-based community organizations to ensure quick, wide and sustainable dissemination. He is devoted Scaling up High yielding Sweetpotato Varieties to enhance nutritional security of women and young children in Rwanda through integrated agriculture-nutrition interventions utilizing orange-fleshed sweetpotato.
Dr. Kirimi Sindi is an agricultural economist with over 20 years of experience working in sub-Saharan Africa. His long-term research interest has focused on integration of nutritional concerns into agricultural research and development through a value chain approach. He focuses on understanding the adoption and impact of improved potato and sweetpotato varieties; the impact of agriculture-nutrition-health linkages on household nutrition outcomes; and the role of behavioral and social sciences in explaining farmer and consumer behavior and decision-making. He has special interest in understanding the factors that contributes to business success. He has PhD in Agricultural Economics from Michigan State University. He has extensive experience in designing and management of development projects with a special focus of nutrition sensitive agriculture projects through Public Private Partnerships. For the last 20 years he has designed, implemented and analyzed numerous surveys in SSA. He also has considerable experience and interest in agricultural policy, poverty analysis, seed systems, and value chains. Dr. Kirimi Sindi is currently the Country Manager of International Potato Center in Rwanda. He is also the Secretary of APA and Vice Chair of the Local Organizing Committee in Rwanda. He has started several start-up businesses and has more than 10 years business management experience as a private businessman in agribusiness and other sectors.
South Africa Representative
Dr. Felistus Chipungu is a lady and seasoned agricultural research scientist with twenty six years of work experience in research for development on Root and Tuber crops improvement. After 22 years of working with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MoAFS), the Department of Agricultural Research Services (DARS) as a senior scientist, specifically a breeder for root (cassava and sweetpotato) and tuber (potato) crops, Felistus is now with CIP and heading the project on Root and Tuber Crops for Agricultural Transformation in Malawi (RTC-ACTION Malawi). Based at Bvumbwe Agricultural Research Station, the project is implementing activities across the various value chains of cassava, potato and sweetpotato. The main outcome of the project is to increase the contributions of root and tuber crops to food security, nutrition, and incomes in Malawi. Felistus has a PhD inBiotechnology and plant breeding from the University of Malawi, Chancellor College, Zomba, Malawi (2008). Felistus has been key in the release of improved, resilient and nutritious sweetpotato 10 varieties in Malawi currently under mass dissemination by various stakeholders in the country. Over the years, she also released 2 cassava varieties and co authored the release of 6 potato varieties. All these crop varieties are contributing considerably to livelihood of many Malawians.
East and Central Representative
Dr. Julius J. Okello is an Impact Assessment Specialist and Monitoring, Learning & Evaluation Coordinator – Sub-Sahara Africa – at the International Potato Center (CIP). He has Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from Michigan State University in 2005 with specializations in International Agricultural Development and Resource and Environmental Economics. Since joining CIP in 2013, his research has focused on understanding the adoption and impact of improved potato and sweetpotato varieties on farm household welfare; the impact of agriculture-nutrition-health linkages on household nutrition outcomes; and the role of behavioral and social sciences in explaining farmer and consumer behavior and decision-making. Since 2016, Dr. Okello has been responsible for coordinating the monitoring and evaluation activities of CIP projects in Sub-Sahara Africa. He has also, since 2015, been the leader of multi-stakeholder Monitoring Learning and Evaluation (MLE) Community of Practice. Prior to joining CIP, he worked as a Senior Lecturer at the University of Nairobi and the Coordinator of the Agribusiness Management Program. Dr. Okello is the Eastern African regional representative of the APA.
West Africa Representative
Francis Kweku Amagloh, PhD, Associate Professor and Head of Department, Food Science and Technology, University for Development Studies, Ghana
Francis joined the University for Development Studies in 2006. He currently co-chairs the Sweetpotato Post-Harvest Management and Agro-processing Technical Platform on Sweetpotato Action for Security and Health in Africa (SASHA) project. He was also elected the West Africa Representative on the African Potato Association Council in 2016. He collaborates with both international and local development partners on using food-based approaches to improve dietary intake of essential nutrients. His research focuses on recipe refinement of both commercial- and household-levels food products to improve nutrition and for wealth creation. He was the main task leader for the Alaafei Wuljo (healthier sweetpotato) activity under the 5-year USAID-funded Resiliency in Northern Ghana (RING) project.
North Africa Representative
Dr. Nouri Khamassy National Agricultural Research Institute of Tunisia (INRAT)/Tunisia
Since 1990, the head of the potato research program and member of the National Potato Research Planning Committee (PRPC). Members of the PRPC were representatives of potato sector: Producers, Commercials, Extension and Researches and Education. Contributed to potato research programs established as top priorities to promote potato production in Tunisia.
International Potato Center Representative
Jan W. Low, 2016 World Food Prize Co-Laureate & Principal Scientist, International Potato Center
Jan Low is an agricultural economist with over 25 years of experience working in sub-Saharan Africa. Her long-term research interest is on how to successfully integrate nutritional concerns into agricultural research and development, with a special focus on micronutrient-enhanced (“biofortified”) Orange-fleshed Sweetpotato. She also has considerable experience and interest in agricultural policy, safety nets, poverty analysis, and seed systems. She has designed, implemented, and analyzed numerous household surveys and is knowledgeable in database management. After serving 4.5 as CIP’s regional leader in SSA, Dr. Low is now leading the 10- year sweetpotato for Profit and Health Initiative launched in October 2009 to enhance the lives of 10 million African families in 10 years through exploiting the potential of sweetpotato to reduce poverty and undernutrition. The Sweetpotato Action for Security and Health in Africa (SASHA) is CIP’s foundation research project in Africa concerning sweetpotato. Dr. Low served as the president of the APA from 2011-2013. Along with three other scientists working on biofortification, Dr. Low was awarded the World Food Prize in 2016.
Dr. Endale Gebre has been working on potatoes at Holeta Agricultural Research Center for more than 15 years focusing on variety improvement and seed quality (tissue cultures). Presently he is the Director of the Agricultural Biotechnology Research at EIAR with focusing on genomics and genetic transformation.