Agricultural Officer (Seed Security), Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations
2005 Wageningen University PhD, Technology and Agrarian Development; farmer participation in sorghum breeding and seed provision in Ethiopia.
1996 University of East Anglia MSc, Agriculture, Environment and Development; Distinction;
privatisation of UK breeding: institutional and genetic resource implications.
1993 University of Ottawa BSc (Hons.), Biology; Summa cum laude; dissertation on spatial dynamics of Nitrogen cycling in forest moss communities.
I research agrobiodiversity and seed systems in developing countries, and how seed systems – and crop breeding – can be reformed to benefit poor people in developing countries. My work on seed security, and seed systems analysis, is recognised as globally significant. In particular, the Seed Systems Security Assessments I have helped design have shaped policy and practice in many countries, informing immediate emergency or development programming, and also guiding longer-term change to donor and country policies. In 2016, I joined the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization to provide technical advice on seed security globally.
My background combines biological and social science, looking at applied agricultural research, and farmers’ responses to stress in poor countries. I focus on the interface between agricultural scientists and farmers, and on how genetic resources are managed via plant breeding and seed systems, both in the formal and farmer systems. Field experience includes Ethiopia, Kenya, and other chronically-stressed contexts such as Zimbabwe, Rwanda, DRC, Madagascar, Timor-Leste, Uganda, and Haiti.