Log in




Robert D Saik


In 2021 Robert was recognized as one of Canada’s Top 50 Most Influential Agriculture Leaders and was named one of Canada’s Top 10 Ag Mentors. ROBERT SAIK has forty years of experience as a Professional Agrologist, entrepreneur and an international consultant who's worked with a wide variety of agriculturalists from Nigeria's Minister of Agriculture to Bill Gates. He was one of only 3 private citizens to address the October 2020 FAO_UN High Level Special Event (Rome) organized by the Committee for World Food Security to address agriculture sustainability. His latest book, “FOOD 5.0 How We Feed the Future” is a pragmatic look at the five iterations of agriculture, culminating in an examination of how technology convergence is reshaping the farm and the consumer. Robert, an outspoken champion of agriculture, is a Distinguished Agrologist, Professional Agriculture Consultant, a veteran entrepreneur and has been hailed as an agriculture futurist with unparalleled insight into where the industry is headed. He has leveraged these strengths to found over 15 companies in the areas of Farming, Agri-Retail, Distribution, Media and Ag Tech including He was the founder and CEO of The Agri-Trend/Agri-Data Group of Companies which was acquired by Trimble. He also served as CEO of DOT Technology Corp (Autonomous Farming) through the acquisition of DOT by Raven Industries. Robert is the founder and CEO of award-winning AGvisorPRO, a technology platform that connects those seeking agriculture advice with trusted experts who can provide answers now. The goal is to leverage knowledge to increase agriculture sustainability using AGvisorPRO to shrink time and space. Through Saik Management Group Inc he facilitates the PowerFARM peer group for progressive farmers. His first book, “The Agriculture Manifesto – Ten Key Drivers That Will Shape Agriculture in the Next Decade” was a 2014 Best of Amazon Books and this TEDx Talk “Will Agriculture be Allowed to Feed 9 Billion People?” has been viewed over 170,000 times. Robert is a passionate keynote speaker and is executive producer of the Know Ideas Media a science based multi-media company addressing issues such as GMO’s and their use in food production. He has financed both the Rob Saik Bar None Scholarship at the University of Alberta that provides support for two rural first year students entering the faculty of agriculture and the Robert Saik Ag Tech Award that supports two urban students entering the Ag Tech program at Olds College. He serves on several Boards including the Canadian Agri-Food Autonomous Innovation Network (CAAIN) as well as Proteum Energy. Rob is an advisor to Olds College, is a member of the A100 (Alberta Tech Entrepreneur Network), a student of Strategic Coach and Singularity University and a member of Abundance 360. As a partner in Perigro Venture Partners he participates in early-stage technology investments. He has been recognized for agriculture leadership by the Alberta Institute of Agrologists (Provincial Distinguished Agrologist of the Year 2006) and in 2016 was awarded Canadian Agri-Marketer of the Year by the Canadian Agri-Marketing Association.

Dr. James French


Dr. French was educated in the United States and Canada with undergraduate and master's degrees in economics and a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri in Agricultural Economics specializing in Production Economics, with a specialization in Statistics. He has more than 35 years of international experience in research, education and development as Professor-Researcher at the Center for Tropical Research and Higher Education (CATIE), as Academic Vice President of EARTH University and as Director of Technical Cooperation at the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation for Agriculture (IICA) where he directed technical cooperation among its 44 member countries. At EARTH University, he led the creation and development of an innovative, student-centered, and globally recognized educational system from its inception and during its first 15 years of existence, and was a member of the steering committee of the SEMCIT project, whose objective was to share the EARTH educational model globally. He was envisioned and led the development of the entrepreneurship program at EARTH University.  His professional career and his life working in international communities at CATIE, EARTH University, and IICA have allowed him to partner with people and leaders of educational institutions and the public sector around the world, as well as with global public institutions such as FAO, the World Trade Organization, and the International Research Centers among others. Dr. French currently leads the "Transforming Higher Education" Project on behalf of the American University of Beirut in partnership with GCHERA, EARTH University and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and is Secretary General of the Global Confederation of Higher Education Associations for Agricultural and Life Sciences (GCHERA).  He serves on the Board of Directors of the CRUSA Foundation in Costa Rica since 2019 and chairs its Investment Committee.  He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Fundetropics Foundation which oversees the management of a trust fund on behalf of CATIE and is also a member of the CATIE Board of Directors since February 2022.   


Raj Vardhan
President of IFAMA Board & Ex CEO Olam, Russia

Raj Vardhan has over 30 years of experience in the agriculture industry. Previously, Raj served as Senior Vice President and Regional Head of Russia, Ukraine and CIS at Olam International Limited Raj was one of Olam’s earliest employees, joining the company in 1993, where he began working in the emerging markets of Nigeria, India, Vietnam, and China. Raj was responsible for initiating startup operations, greenfield investments, acquisition, project management, integration of acquired companies, and operational turnarounds. Under his leadership, Raj and his team were able to acquire a leadership position lead in various trade flows. In a four-year period, Olam’s Vietnamese operations, post-asset investment grew from scratch to becoming larger than both Nestle Vietnam and Unilever Vietnam combined. Olam’s China operations went on to account for a topline of USD 1 billion, accounting for sales of Olam’s 60% of cotton and 35% of sesame global procurement volumes.

Laura Bonilla Coto

Secretary of Agriculture, Costa Rica

The Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Laura Bonilla Coto, agricultural producer and exporter, has studies in Administration and Finance, and extensive experience as a businesswoman. She has directed and coordinated from the chairmanship of the board of directors and general management the financial activities, as well as the commercialization and marketing of the companies B&C Exportadores, and Productos Congelados Bajo Cero SA, which she guided in the process of opening the European market, Asian and Central American. Her leadership led her to occupy the Presidency of the Chamber of Exporters of Costa Rica (CADEXCO), from 2014 to 2022, when she left office to serve her appointment as head of the MAG and rector of the Costa Rican Agricultural, Fishing and Rural Sector of the Chaves Robles Administration. As the leader of the agro-export sector in Costa Rica, she promoted a competitiveness plan and implemented strategies to take advantage of the Chinese market and was president of the Federation of Export Chambers and Associations of Central America and the Dominican Republic

Francisco Gamboa Soto

Ministry of Economy, Industry and Commerce, Costa Rica

Economist with a Master degree in Economics from University of Costa Rica. Professional with extensive experience in management, different economic areas, foreign trade, regulation, competitiveness, corporate relations and advice for decision-making process in Boards of Directors and international organizations. He has been Corporate Affairs Director in Banco Nacional de Costa Rica, Executive Director in Chamber of Industries of Costa Rica and Intelligence Director in the Trade Promotion Organization of Costa Rica. Also, Consultant for international organizations such as the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Center for Distance Education Foundation for Economic and Technological Development (CEDDET), State of the Nation Program in Costa Rica, the International Trade Center (ITC). He was Professor of International Economics in the University of Costa Rica (UCR).

Roberto Artavia
President, Viva Trust, Costa Rica

President and founder of Roberto Artavia Consultoría Internacional; President of Viva Trust, the largest productive-philanthropic trust serving Latin America and of Fundación Viva Idea, an organization for knowledge management on issues of strategy, leadership, social responsibility and sustainable development. He is President of the Board of Directors of INCAE Business School; He chairs the Board of Directors of Fundación Marviva; the Board of Directors of Mapfre in Costa Rica and the Board of Directors of Fundación Victoria in Nicaragua.

Nicola Shadbolt
Fonterra Cooperative Board Member and Professor, Massey University, New Zealand

Massey University Professor, delivering farm and agribusiness management research and education, particular interest in farm business strategy and business analysis and cooperatives; currently Chair of Plant & Food CRI, a Climate Change Commissioner and on the executive board of the International Food & Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA). Shareholder/ Director/Manager of farming and forestry ventures, a mix of share and cash leasing arrangements within 5 equity partnerships – including 1000 dairy cows plus sheep, beef, deer & forestry. Nicola is a Fellow of the NZIPIM, IFAMA and the AIOD and an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Jannik Aaron Dresemann
Agri benchmark & Thünen Institute of Farm Economics,  Germany

Jannik Dresemann is agri benchmark project manager for perspectives of crop production systems; this is also the topic of his PhD thesis. His expertise in global crop production and respective innovations helps to address current and future challenges and to identify possible solutions. He successful conducted a small report on the impact of digital tools in the private crop advisor industry. Prior to joining agri benchmark Jannik gained experience in the ag tech industry as well as in international crop production through various internships. He earned his Master´s in Agricultural Economics from the University of Göttingen.

Arno Van der Maden
Owner and CEO, N&S del Trópico S.A, Netherlands & CostaRica

Arno van der Maden is an international expert in the fresh produce sector (fruits and vegetables, plants and flowers) in Latin America. He studied agronomy and business administration at Wageningen Agricultural University in the Netherlands and currently resides in Costa Rica. For more than four years he worked for a consulting company in the Netherlands specialized in food safety and good agricultural practices in the import / export and production of agricultural products sector before starting his own company in Costa Rica in 2003. Arno van der Maden currently works as consultant for export promotion for small and medium-sized Latin American companies with a focus on Europe. Current projects also involve consulting implementation, training, pre-audits and inspection of quality management systems and certifications. Arno van der Maden is part of the IFAMA Forum Committee in representation of the bilateral chamber of commerce Holland House Costa Rica.

Estefanía Puricelli

Lead Economist at the NASA Harvest Consortium, University of Maryland, USA

Ms. Puricelli is the lead economist at the NASA Harvest Hub at the University of Maryland. She serves as the co-chair of the NASA Harvest working area on Markets and Trade which includes research on the use of remote sensing for commodity price forecasting and market volatility. In her role at UMD, she also supports the G-20 Group of Earth Observations Global Agricultural Monitoring (GEOGLAM) Program, which aims to increase market transparency and food security by strengthening the international community’s capacity to utilize coordinated, comprehensive, and sustained Earth observations. Ms. Puricelli also leads the working group AMA, the Agricultural Monitoring in the Americas. Ms. Puricelli previously served as a Commodity Analyst for the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS), another G-20 initiative based in FAO, United Nations, Rome. Ms. Puricelli has a Master of Science in Agricultural Economics from the University of London, and undergraduate degrees in Economics and Agricultural Economics and Farm Management both from the University of Buenos Aires.

Tony Salas
Co-founder and CEO

Extensive experience consulting in 30+ countries and leading 500+ agribusiness projects and top global companies in the food and agribusiness sector. Solid experience in Agtech & innovation. A former Director General of the National Ag-Extension and Ag-R&D Institute of Peru (ranked as Vice-Minister of Agriculture). A former teacher and graduate student advisor, he is considered a very influential person in modern Latin American sustainable agricultural trends. Over the past years, Tony has been actively engaged in the Ag Tech community, attending panels and speaking at some of the largest annual events.

Beatriz Arrieta
Regional Manager Food Value Chain, Colombia

Agronomist from Universidad Nacional de Colombia and a Specialist in Environmental Law from Universidad Nuestra Señora del Rosario. In my professional career of more than 20 years in the crop protection industry, I have had the opportunity to work in different areas, including sales, stewardship, regulatory affairs and marketing. Additionally, I had the opportunity to start my practice as an agronomist in the production of flowers for export, in the Sabana de Bogota. I am an expert in Good Agricultural Practices, I was accredited as a Farm Assurer by the international organization GLOBALG.A.P., and I am passionate about facilitating innovative methodologies in knowledge transfer workshops, such as Andragogy and Lego Serious Play®.

Yvonne Colomer
Executive Director, Fundación Triptolemos, Spain

She has developed her professional career around the food system, in its different approaches: areas of research and development of new products, quality control, marketing and consumption, market research, international trade and education. Agronomic Engineer (University of Lleida-Spain), European Doctor on global food systems (Institut National Polytechnique de Lorraine, Nancy-France), MBA in International Agrifood Economics and Management (ESSEC). She obtained the title of piano teacher (Conservatori Superior de Música del Liceu -Barcelona). For 17 editions he directed the first MBA in management of agri-food business in Spain (University of Barcelona), she was a member of IAMA for several years. Director of the UNESCO Chair "Science and Innovation for Sustainable Development: Global Food Production and Safety" and Secretary of the board of management 17 Campus Network Excellence. International consultant, member of various institutions and juries and speaker at different international Congress including the European Parliament. She has a record of intellectual property on valuation methodology and consumer brands. Associate Professor at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia-Barcelona Tech (Spain). Since 2002 she has directed the Triptolemos Foundation.

Oliver Bach
Innovation & Knowledge Manager

Senior technical expert with 25 years of experience in sustainability programs within and beyond certification. Development and application of practical and realistic programmatic approaches for companies and foundations focusing on sustainable agriculture and landscapes, biodiversity conservation and labor rights in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Ten years of worldwide standard and policy direction for the Rainforest Alliance. Inspired by multi-cultural environments following a results-oriented and dynamic work style. Outcome-oriented facilitation of international inter-disciplinary expert groups. Strong believer in bottom-up approaches and equal interaction with farmers and local communities towards more resilient livelihoods and sustainable landscapes. Committed Earth citizen defending the protection of its natural treasures and people’s rights.

Lloyd Day
Sub-General Director, IICA, Costa Rica

Mr. Lloyd C. Day is a United States citizen and assumed his position as Deputy Director General of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) on July 1, 2012. Started career with the Governor of California eventually becoming the Assistant Secretary of International Trade and Investment for California. Moved to Washington, D.C. to serve as Administrator of USDA´s Agricultural Marketing Service, Head of Federal Government Affairs at Syngenta, and now Deputy Director General of IICA.

Flavio Linares
Technical Head Manager CA&C, Fundación Solidaridad


Tanya Müller García

President, Zamorano University, Honduras

Tanya Müller García is an Agronomist Engineer specializing in Horticulture and current president of her Alma Mater Zamorano University. Prior to this, she served as Director of Climate Action Planning Latin America for the organization C40 Cities, which promotes the design and adoption of climate change programs in megacities worldwide. Also, she served as Secretary of Environment of Mexico City Government from 2012 to 2018; under her leadership, the City issued the first forest carbon credit and the first green bond as a local government in Latin America. Additionally, she launched the Climate Action Program 2014-2020, intending to mitigate 10 million tons of CO2 Eq and build resilience for 5.6 million inhabitants. In 2014, the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, elected her to be one of the 12 UN HighLevel Advisory Group for Sustainable Transport. For the last 8 years, she has participated in several high-level international forums as a keynote speaker by her remarkable leadership on global climate change.

Larry Robertson
Founder and President, Lighthouse Consulting, USA

For three decades, Larry Robertson has advised leaders and organizations in adaptability, and innovation. He’s the Founder of strategy and innovation advisory firm Lighthouse Consulting, a frequent board member, and a current advisory board member for Global Leaders Today Magazine, Forbes School of Business & Technology, and Sustainable Brands. Larry is the internationally-acclaimed author of 3 award-winning books that to date share 21 distinct honors, as well as a popular columnist for Inc. Magazine, The Creativity Post, SmartBrief on Leadership, and CEOWorld Magazine. In 2021 he was named a Fulbright Scholar, a rarity for non-academic professionals. Larry is a graduate of Stanford University and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and a former adjunct professor of entrepreneurship for the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University.

Jorge Raul Rivera
Professor, Coffee Science & Technology, Zamorano University, Honduras

Jorge Raúl Rivera is a Food Science and Technology engineer who graduated from Zamorano, Honduras, with an Applied Economics Masters from LSU. He is currently the vice president of J. Raúl Rivera S.A, a company founded in 1923, and is a professor of coffee science and technology at his Alma Mater, Zamorano. Among his achievements, he was appointed president of his coffee-growing area and founded the first cooperative of specialty coffee in his region. He won on 3 occasions the award for the best cup of excellence at El Salvador and 5 presidential awards with scores above 90 points. It currently holds the record for coffee auctioned at the highest price in El Salvador. Before working in the Agricultural sector, he worked in the Financial Sector.


Arturo Condo
President, EARTH University, Costa Rica

Dr. Arturo Condo is the President of EARTH University, an innovative global institution educating leaders for sustainable development, especially for rural areas of the world. Former President of INCAE Business School (2007-2015) where he was Dean of the MBA, Dean of Innovation and Development, Director of the Latin American Center for Competitiveness and Sustainable Development (CLACDS) and professor in strategy, competitiveness, and sustainable development. He has a Doctorate from Harvard Business School and was recognized as a “Distinguished Scholar” in his MBA at INCAE. He serves as Senior Institute Associate of Harvard’s Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness, a think-tank led by Prof. Michael Porter. In 2006, he was named to the Inaugural Class of the Central American Leadership Initiative (CALI), an Aspen Institute Fellowship and in 2007 the World Economic Forum recognized him as a Young Global Leader. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Bancolombia, of Vital Voices Costa Rica, Country Chair to Costa Rica for the organization Global Dignity, and a member of the Inter-American Dialogue. He lives in Costa Rica, is married and has three children.

Javier Artiñano
Director of the EARTH Futures program at EARTH University, Costa Rica

Javier Artiñano currently serves as Director of the EARTH Futures program at EARTH University. EARTH Futures is a global solutions center that partners with academic institutions, rural communities, international organizations, and other allies around the world to transform rural areas for the better. He joined EARTH in September 2020 as the Coordinator of the Precision Agriculture Center until he assumed his current role in July 2021. Prior to EARTH, he worked at the Coffee Institute of Costa Rica (Icafé) as the leader of the Project Management Office, and before that, he served at the National Service of Irrigation and Drainage (Senara) for six years. Javier is an EARTH graduate from 2011 and has an MBA with a specialization in Project Management from ADEN International Business School. He is based in EARTH´s La Flor Campus in Liberia, Guanacaste where he lives with his wife, 7-year-old daughter, and 4-year-old son.

Oliver Vasquez
General Manager, MARS, Ecuador

Agronomic engineer from EARTH University and Master Degree in business administration. General Manager and Site Director for MARS in Ecuador. Leader with 18 years in Agriculture business and develop of Sustainability programs. Experience in agriculture commerce and direction in agro-industry. Effectively team manager and strategies developer in plant nutrition and crop protection, agriculture production, post-harvest and entrepreneur in agriculture external commerce. Strong sales and marketing capabilities, closures of strategic alliances, implementation of new operation units and new business creation.

Kai Robertson
Senior Corporate Sustainability Advisor & Food Loss and Waste Protocol, World Resources Institute, Washington D.C., USA

Kai is well known as an independent senior corporate sustainability advisor and globally-recognized expert on food loss and waste with 30 years of food industry experience. She has been working on sustainability issues since 2001 and draws on her deep expertise to offer practical guidance on effective sustainability strategies, facilitate discussions across stakeholders, and deliver tailored insights on key issues through reports and presentations. Kai has worked with the wide range of companies up and down the food chain (such as Walmart, Kellogg’s, and Cargill) as well as with highly-respected NGOs (such as World Wildlife Fund and Conservation International). Early in her career, after receiving an MBA from Northwestern University, she worked for nearly a decade for the supermarket industry researching and speaking about trends that affect the food and consumer packaged goods sector.

Pedro Beirute
General Manager Procomer, Costa Rica

Pedro Beirute Prada is CEO of Costa Rica Trade Promotion Authority PROCOMER. This government agency is responsible for country exports, trade facilitation and free trade zones. Pedro also serves as president of Costa Rica Country Brand and as president of the 23 Latin America Trade and Investment Promotion Agencies Council REDIBERO. Since Pedro joined in 2015, PROCOMER has been awarded as the “Best Trade Promotion Organization in the World” by International Trade Centre. Prior to his public service, Pedro worked 15 years for Intel Corp, progressing from finance clerk in Costa Rica to chief of staff of Intel Global Head of Sales, in Silicon Valley. He coordinated sales and marketing operations for 56 countries and 8,000 employees. He became the latin-american with the highest position on Intel global organization chart. Pedro lived in Madrid, London, México and San Francisco before returning to his native Costa Rica to join the public service where he has focused in public service innovation, inclusion and sustainability to promote businesses with purpose. During Pedro’s tenure Costa Rica has grown exports in average $1B per year. Pedro has Law and Business degrees as well as an MBA in Spain. He has 4 children and has completed 7 Ironman triathlons.

Eugenia Saini
Executive Secretary, Fontagro, Washington DC, USA

Born in Argentina, agronomist, Doctor in agricultural sciences, passion for agriculture, feeding people, and making life better for farmers. Her challenge is to strengthen public and private strategic alliances that enhance international cooperation in food and agricultural science and innovation, as well as promote better agribusiness opportunities. She worked in the private and public sectors, at the national and international levels. She was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship at Cornell University and more recently with the Abshire-Inamori Leadership Academy (AILA) Scholarship at the Center for Strategic &International Studies (CSIS) in Washington D.C.

Edward Perello
New Sustainable Agri Ventures & Innovation Partnerships; Associate Director DSV, United Kingdom

Edward Perello leads venture creation in food and agriculture at Deep Science Ventures He works with corporate innovation, government funders and philanthropies to develop applied science companies to transform the way humans produce food and impact nature, and has launched agritech & sustainability venture building hubs in the United Kingdom and Latin America. He is Principal of Arkurity, a research consultancy working on critical issues at the interface of public policy, biotechnology, and national and natural security, with clients including Google Deep Mind, Netflix, the Nuclear Threat Initiative and Revive & Restore. His byline appears in Wired and Vice and he is a quirky public speaker. Edward is an ELBI Biosecurity Fellow, a SynBio LEAP fellow, and formerly co-founded and exited Desktop Genetics, a provider of CRISPR genome editing tools. He served on the IUCN Synthetic Biology and Gene Drive Taskforce and previously worked in science & technology for the EU, the arms control charity VERTIC, and synthetic biology competition iGEM. In 2017 he was listed on the Forbes 30 Under 30. Edward holds a BSc in Bioveterinary Science from London’s Royal Veterinary College and an MPhil in Bioscience Enterprise from the University of Cambridge.

Elizabeth Arroyave
Founder of StockSafe Costa Rica, Costa Rica

I graduated in Economics and have a Master’s Degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance. I currently hold the CFO position at ARWEB, a Costa Rican development and digital communication agency, with more than 23 years of exporting digital production services. I also have certifications in Strategic Planning and Innovation, and have worked in the areas of strategy, planning, and digital marketing for over 16 years. My experience includes working hand in hand with enterprises, government and international companies, in projects ranging from the conceptualization of strategy, implementation and measurement of results, as well as executive decision making I am the founder of StockSafe, , an AgriTech solution Platform, which envisions a Democratization in the access to technology for all farmers. I am also an enthusiastic promoter of women's involvement in STEM. I am a project manager, social media manager, and consultant currently living in San José, Costa Rica. My interests range from photography to technology. I am also interested in entrepreneurship, travel, and cycling.

Claudia Esquivel Villalobos
Manager Visa La-Grupo VISA, Costa Rica

Married and mother of three girls, Alana, Silvana and Fátima. Claudia, is originally from Guatemala. She is an Agronomy Engineer from EARTH School of Agriculture of the Humid Tropical Region, Costa Rica. In addition, she has a technical degree in Agronomy from the ENCA National Central School of Agriculture in Guatemala and has a Master in Animal Reproduction in Light from the University of Zulia in Venezuela. In 2014 she worked as a professor of bovine culture at ENCA. By 2015 she was with the administrative management of El Gakeal S.A. company dedicated to the export of rambutan. With her expertise, in 2020 she created VISA-LAB Support Unit from Grupo VISA, where she oversees microorganism reproduction tests for the pineapple fields of the company.

Francisco Buchara
Co-founder & managing partner SF500 Life, Argentina   

Francisco has a degree in Business Sciences from the Austral University of Rosario. He has an MBA from the IAE Business School. He is an Eisenhower Fellow 2019. His vocation is to develop public-private initiatives to solve complex challenges in emerging countries, by combining elements to achieve a higher impact, transparency, and a common vision. He began working in public management to diversify the productive matrix of the Municipality of San Nicolás. With this objective, he developed the Technological Park. In Argentina, he also worked in the financial sector, and he designed the Bariloche Technological Park Project 2017. Furthermore, he served as Secretary of Strategic Affairs of Santa Fe Province. Through the articulation between different actors of the local innovation ecosystem, he promoted various initiatives to position the province as a benchmark in knowledge, talent, and innovation. Nowadays, as Managing Partner of SF500, with 34 years, Francisco leads the process of creating the largest company building in Latin America with a focus on Life Sciences. Its purpose is to contribute to the creation of 500 startups and to consolidate a biotechnology cluster with its epicenter in Rosario, Argentina.

Kristian Moeller
CEO, GLOBALG.A.P., Germany   

Managing Director of GLOBALG.A.P., grew up on a crop farm in Northern Germany. After basic agricultural training on farms in Germany and the UK, he studied Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness Management at the Universities of Paderborn and Kiel in Germany as well as Purdue University, Indiana, USA. His dissertation was on Risks to Invest into the Central and Eastern European Food Industries. He joined the EHI-EuroHandelsinstitut e.V., Cologne, Germany as Manager European Projects and Senior Consultant Quality Assurance responsible for food, fresh produce, meat, and dairy products. Dr. Kristian Moeller started EUREPG.A.P in 1997 (now GLOBALG.A.P) and has been the organization's Managing Director from its inception. In September 2010, he opened the GLOBALG.A.P. North America Office in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, as founding President. 

Irene Alvarado
Full Professor, EARTH University, Costa Rica

Irene Alvarado Van der Laat is currently an advisor to the Sustainability Laboratory based in Israel, a Consultant for the United Nations, and teaches courses on Environmental Economics and Project Evaluation at EARTH University. Also focuses her research on the development of value chains in circular economies for agricultural products and the promotion of entrepreneurship through low carbon economic activities to create a more just and inclusive society. Graduated as an Agriculture Engineer from the University of Costa Rica. She received an MFA in Business Administration with a focus in Agro-Marketing from the Technological Institute Costa Rica and a doctorate (Ph.D.) from the Universidad Latina in Economical and Entrepreneurial Sciences.

Adim De
Scientific Leader, Biomaterials Innovation, CINDE, Costa Rica

As the Scientific Lead for Costa Rica’s new Biomaterials Hub initiative, Adim De drives the efforts towards fostering an innovative ecosystem surrounding circular bioeconomy and bio- sustainability. He has designed programs to support multiple stakeholders along the innovation pipeline. Prior, he was the COO for a Swiss Medtech startup, acting as a pivotal role taking the company from MVP to sales and internationalization. He received his bachelor’s and master’s in Biomaterials from the University of Sheffield, UK and PhD in Biomedical Engineering, with a focus on biomaterials and bioreactors from Hannover Medical School, Germany.

Alberto Hoyos
CEO, NUTRESA Cookies Division & International Vice President, Colombia & Latin America

Mechanical Engineer, Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana and International Business MBA, EAFIT University. Since 2007, he has served as Grupo Nutresa President of the Biscuits Business and also have the rol of International Vice President of the Group. During his 28 years of experience in Grupo Nutresa, he has held positions as Director of Purchasing, International Business Director and General Manager of Compañía de Galletas Pozuelo in Costa Rica. Actually he is Talent Community Leader´s of the CUEE 2.0 (Regional Private and Public Alliance) and co-creator of Labor Incorporation Model that support to closing gaps between the academic offer and enterprises labor demand, generating new opportunities for young people who study Technic and Technology education programs in our Region. Also, he is member of the Boards of Directors at: ANDI (Food Industry Chamber), Bimbo de Colombia and CESDE (Educational Institution for Work and Human Development) in Medellin. He is an active reader, promoter of positive habits, he has recently been in a self-development program around topics such as human body biology, Epigenetics and Bio-Hacking, seeking to develop a powerful wellness program for the company and all its employees and sustainable.

Michael Ben-Eli
Founder and President of The Sustainability Laboratory, USA/Project Wadi Attir, Israel

Michael Ben-Eli is founder of the Sustainability Laboratory, established in order to develop and demonstrate groundbreaking approaches to sustainability practices, expanding prospects and producing positive, life affirming impacts on people and ecosystems in all parts of the world. Prior to launching The Lab, Michael pioneered applications of Systems Thinking and Cybernetics in management and organization. Over the years he worked on synthesizing strategy issues in many parts of the world and in diverse institutional settings, ranging from small high technology firms to multinational enterprises, manufacturing companies, financial institutions, health care and educational organizations, government agencies, NGOs, and international multilateral organizations including the World Bank, the United Nations Environment Program, the Global Environment Facility, and others. In recent years, he has focused his work primarily on issues related to sustainability and sustainable development and has been working to help inspire leaders in business, government, community, and youth accelerate a peaceful transition to a sustainable future. Michael is author of the widely acclaimed five core sustainability principles. He has been the driving force behind developing The Lab’s current flagship project, Project Wadi Attir, and is leading development of The Lab as a world-wide network of advanced research, development and education centers, based at different ecological zones. In 2016, Michael was inducted into the International Green Industry Hall of Fame and recognized with the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2019, Michael received the prestigious Cosmic Fishing Award by the Synergetic Collaborative of the Rhode Island School of Design. The award is given to individuals “who demonstrate a dedication to advancing the use of Buckminster Fuller’s Design Science strategies in helping humanity better understand complex connections with natural systems.” Michael graduated from the Architectural Association in London and later received a Ph.D. from the Institute of Cybernetics at Brunel University, where he studied under Gordon Pask. He was a close associate of R. Buckminster Fuller, with whom he collaborated on projects involving research on advanced structural systems and exploration of issues related to the management of technology and world resources for the advantage of all.

Gonzalo Chavez
CEO Dos Pinos Cooperative, Central America and Caribbbean, Costa Rica

Gonzalo Chaves Alvarado has extensive experience in senior management positions at transnational companies, where he dealt with responsibilities at the highest regional executive level for Latin America and Asia-Pacific. For more than a decade, he held strategic executive positions in several countries like Ecuador, Brazil, and the Philippines, in administrative, financial, and operational areas. After his successful international career, he decided to return to Costa Rica and joined the Dos Pinos R.L. Milk Producers Cooperative an Auditor General in 2007, reporting directly to the Board of Directors. After almost 7 years in that position, he was appointed Corporate General Manager in November 2013. During his time at the head of the Dos Pinos Corporate General Management, he has promoted a cultural change that strengthens the Cooperative on the following main axes: the market, seeking the well-being of the Associates and at the same time, satisfying the needs of our consumers, ensuring their health and well-being; with a permanent emphasis on innovation processes. This has allowed the Cooperative to implement world-class sustainable practices and diversify its lines of business; with a discipline that seeks efficiency, cost awareness and operational excellence.

Marco Fava Neves
Professor at FGV and USP, Brazil; and Director of Markestrat Organization

Marcos Fava Neves is an international expert on global food, agribusiness and bioenergy strategies and a part-time professor of planning and strategy at the School of Business (FEARP) of the University of São Paulo (USP) and FGV Business School, both in Brazil. International Visiting Professor at Purdue University (Indiana, since 2013), University of Buenos Aires (Argentina, since 2006) and University of Pretoria (South Africa, since 2020). Graduated as an agronomic engineer from ESALQ/University of São Paulo - Piracicaba in 1991. Has specialized in strategic- planning processes for companies and food chains and works as a board member of both public and private organizations, being member of more than 10 international boards. Created Markestrat think-tank with other partners employing around 60 people and doing international projects, studies and research for more than 300 agri-food business organizations and a shareholder of 4 startups. Has published more than 100 articles in international journals and has been author and editor of 63 books by 10 different publishers in 10 countries. Did more than 1250 lectures and presentations in 25 countries and is a “Fellow” of the IFAMA (International Food and Agribusiness Management Association), title received in Minneapolis - 2015. Very active in social media, his platforms at LinkedIn and Instagram have thousands of followers. Finally, in 2018 created the knowledge platform.

Marlon Masis Campos
CEO, Mesofoods, Colombia & Chile

I am a senior executive, an expert in the restaurant industry, and a benchmark in Latin America. I am currently CEO at Mesofoods, leading OMA & Presto Colombia, five hundred stores in a new direction for the company, professionalizing from old systems to newer systems and procedures. I have been CEO for 13 years, working in more than fourteen countries in the Latin American and Caribbean region. Leading teams in the industry of innovation and new culture. MBA, finance and marketing as an academy.

Alessandra Fajardo
Food Chain Partnerships Director - Strategy & Sustainability, Bayer, Brazil

Graduated in Agronomy Engineering at ESALQ/USP, Alessandra has more than 20 years of experience in the Agribusiness, Institutional Relations and Sustainability sector, having already worked in important companies of this industry. At Bayer, she was Product Manager and Market Manager in the Seeds and Biotechnology in the Crop Science Division. Later, she led the Corporate Affairs area (APSA) of Crop Science for Brazil .Among her attributions at Bayer's Stakeholders Strarety & Affairs division is the importance to foster  dialogue and approximation with the company's stakeholders in the food chain sector regarding topics like regenerative agriculture, carbon, traceability and others.

Alvaro Villalobos
Chairman of the Board, Dos Pinos Cooperative, Central America and the Caribbean

Alvaro Villalobos Murillo is a civil engineer and also a milk producer for Dos Pinos Milk Producers Cooperative. Since 1999 he has been the General Manager of the construction company Proinsa. The main focus in his managerial work has been the quality of the executed projects; the time of execution and cost within the agreed budget as well as the highest-level customer service. To date, more than one hundred and fifty thousand square meters of works have been executed. He is a member of the Board of Administration of Dos Pinos since 2018, and he was appointed its President in 2022. Approximately 150 cows are milked in his dairy operation, with processes and standards of the highest quality.


Edeoba Edobor
IFAMA Young Board President, Purdue University, USA

Edeoba Edobor is a PhD candidate in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University. His doctoral research focuses on small businesses -agricultural and non-agricultural. A major plank of his research is assessing the formal and informal strategies that these businesses utilize in the face of shocks like natural disasters and large-scale agricultural land investments. Originally from Benin City, Nigeria, Edeoba worked as an Assistant Lecturer in the Agricultural Economics and Extension Department of the University of Benin, Nigeria, before moving to the United States for graduate studies. In his leisure time he loves to watch historical documentaries, play ping-pong, and watch sports. Edeoba is the inaugural Chair of the IFAMA Young Board.

Nele Hermann Valente
NextGen Agricultural Leaders at Bayer CropScience Global, Germany

Nele is a member of the IFAMA Young Board and Chair of the Board of NGIN, the NextGen Ag Impact Network. She joined Bayer in 2020 where she first lead NGO Engagement for the German Corporate Public Affairs team with a focus on agricultural, industry and innovation policy before joining the global Stakeholder Affairs and Strategic Partnerships team at Bayer CropScience. Nele is currently responsible for Bayer Crop Science’s next generational engagement in agriculture-related stakeholder and policy spheres. Prior to Bayer, Nele was board member and head of the Berlin office for a science communications consultancy focused on agriculture and plant sciences. She was responsible for business development, strategy, networks, policy and outreach. She holds degrees in Hispanic Studies, Philosophy, and International Relations and an MBA in Public Affairs and Leadership. She embraces the next generation spirit of collaboration, networking, innovation and sustainability!

Verena Otter
IFAMA Young Board, Wageningen University, Netherlands

Verena Otter, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Supply Chain Organization and Innovation Management at Business Management & Organisation Group, Wageningen University and Research, The Netherlands. Her research and teaching activities focus on theories and empirical studies of the organization, management and economics of agri-food supply chain networks. Special attention is being given to the dissemination of digital and sustainable innovations and their role for the evolvement of various business relationships from the viewpoint of organizational theories and different management fields, including strategic management, sustainability management, innovation management and human resource management. Verena has over 20 publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals and is a member of the IFAMA Young Board.

Melissa Van der Merwe
IFAMA Young Board, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

Melissa van der Merwe is a lecturer and researcher in agricultural economics at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. Her field of specialization is in agricultural value chains, with a specific focus on the institutional dimensions and governance of these chains. Her PhD, which she completed at the University of Pretoria, focused on agency problems in the lamb supply chain. In addition to her research, Melissa teaches various postgraduate and undergraduate courses at Stellenbosch University. Apart from University responsibilities, Melissa is involved in various research and consultation projects for private and public enterprises. She is President of the South African Association of Agricultural Economics (AEASA) and Secretary to the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA).

Jack Keeys
Lead coordinator of KPMG's Global Agri-Food Network, IFAMA Young Board, New Zealand

Jack Keeys is the lead co-ordinator of KPMG’s Global Agri-food Network which connects across 50 countries around the world, while also co-authoring KPMG’s leading annual agribusiness agenda report, weekly newsletter and managing multiple national and international consulting projects. After achieving over $80,000 of scholarships across his double honours degree in business and science at the University of Waikato, Jack is also the founder of two agri-food business start-ups, a previous grand finalist at the IFAMA business case competition and involved in various organisations including Young Farmers, FoodHQ strategic scholars, AsiaNZ foundation and IFAMA Young Board. Jack’s career and volunteer experience has taken him from research institutes in Edinburgh to the Amazon rainforest and Galapagos islands of Ecuador, across to Kentucky, Hangzhou, Dublin, Kuala Lumpur, Botswana and hundreds of pastoral farms across the UK and New Zealand. In his ‘spare time’ Jack organises and completes charity challenges and has raised over $50,000 completing a marathon in gumboots, a 100km barefoot hike, and an upcoming expedition to climb 14 mountains in 10 days - recently receiving national recognition and the New Zealand Community Impact Award. Jack is trained in foresight in conjunction with the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto California, with his particular focus areas in agri-technology, food security and bio-innovation.

Luciano Ciravegna
Associate Professor, INCAE Business School, Costa Rica and UK

Luciano Ciravegna, associate professor, holds an M.Phil. from the University of Oxford, and a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics. As a professor at the Institution, he teaches courses in the areas of Politics, International Business, Corporate Strategy, Entrepreneurship and Competitiveness. As an independent consultant, he carried out work on competitiveness and development of clusters in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Brazil, Colombia and Italy. Likewise, he worked as a business risk analyst focusing on the Latin American markets, especially Central America, Colombia and Brazil.

Augusto Bauer
CEO, AJE Group, Latin America, Perú

Augusto Bauer is Deputy CEO of Grupo Aje. Graduated from Universidad del Pacífico as Business Administrator. He has an MBA in Business Administration from Duke University. He has taken courses at Kellogg Management School and University of Piura. He has held senior positions in renowned companies from various sectors such as Banco Wiese, Belcorp, Unique, Oben Holding Group, Signium and Odgers Berndston.

Pablo E. Vargas
Executive Chairman, Grupo Britt, Latin America, Costa Rica

Pablo E. Vargas, a Costa Rican citizen, became Executive Chairman of Grupo Britt N.V. in 2019, after being the Company’s CEO for 19 years. He joined Britt in its start-up phase in 1992. Under his leadership as CEO from 2000 to 2018, Britt´s revenues grew more than 15 times. During this period, the Company became a coffee and chocolate manufacturer and travel retailer, with 140 shops, and operations in 13 countries. Prior to joining Britt, Mr. Vargas worked for international private and non-profit organizations. He has taught graduate and undergraduate level economics and business strategy in three universities: Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey, México (1991), Thunderbird University (2006) and University of Costa Rica (1999-2000, 2019). Pablo holds B.S., and Licenciatura degrees from Universidad de Costa Rica, and M.S. and MBA degrees from Michigan State University. He is a Fulbright Scholar and his M.S. thesis was elected Thesis of the Year by Michigan State University’s Agricultural Economics Department. Mr. Vargas is a director in several corporations and non-profits. Pablo, married with three children, lives in Santo Domingo de Heredia with his wife Ana Beatriz. He is a triathlonist and enjoys outdoors activities.

José Guillermo López
General Manager of Aseguradora Rural S.A.

José Guillermo López is a Guatemalan, and Engineer in information systems and computer science, holding a Master's degree in Business Administration with a specialization in finance and marketing from the Francisco Marroquin University. He also has a Master's degree in management and insurance techniques from the Pontifical University of Salamanca. He was General Manager of Aseguradora Guatemalteca, Afianzadora Solidaria, and is currently General Manager with Aseguradora Rural.

Adrián Alonso
Vice President of Operations, Auto Mercado, Costa Rica   

Adrian Alonso joined the supermarket family business in 1999 when the company operated 5 stores. He consolidated the supermarket Operations team and under his leadership, the company grew to a 42 store operation, 22 traditional Auto Mercado high end supermarkets and 20 Vindi large convenience/proximity stores. Prior to joining Auto Mercado, he worked as a consultant in the Logistics Strategy group at the Accenture Chicago office. He also worked as a Warehouse and Logistics Supervisor at the Baxter Healthcare manufacturing facility in Cartago, and as a Production Manager at a Vernitron Corporation manufacturing facility. He holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from Kansas State University, and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management of Northwestern University. He has also been a Member of the Board of Directors of the Costa Rican Chamber of Commerce for over a decade. His passion is mountain climbing.

Luis Rivera
Supply Chain Leader and Operations, Cargill Proteina, Latin-America   

Luis leads Cargill Protein's production, distribution, storage, planning and supply chain function in Central America and Colombia. Peope, Project and Planet's safety are at the heart of Luis' responsibilities. With more than 20 years of experience in the poultry business, Luis has held many positions throughout the value chain, from maintenance and project management to commercial and marketing director. Luis also served as President of the National Poultry Federation of Honduras, and has participated in many forums promoting open trade, bilateral treaties and health policies that guaranteethe food security of the countries and t he safe opening of markets. Luis is a Mechanical Engineer with a master's degree in Business Administration. He has lived in several Central American countries as part of his professional career. His passion is talent development and help boosting the poultry industry for collective progress. Luis has two teenage children, and currently lives in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

Brent Ross
Professor, Michigan State University, USA

Mr. Ross joined the MSU AFRE faculty in June 2008 as an Assistant Professor of Food Industry Management. He is appointed in the MSU tenure system. His primary research interests include the dynamics of entrepreneurship and the use of simulation methods to explore organizational phenomena in the agri-food system. Current and previous research studies have focused on modeling the process of identification and exploitation of entrepreneurial opportunities in the agri-food system, the role of social capital in network formation and sustainability, financing alternative governance structures in agri-food industries, and business development in LDCs. In addition to his research, Brent also teaches courses in food industry management and food marketing. Prior to joining the AFRE faculty, Brent was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Strategy in the College of Business at the University of Illinois. He is currently working on Collective Entrepreneurship for Small and Medium-Sized Farms.

Octavio Martinez
Professor, INCAE Business School, and Director of the Latin American Center for Competitiveness and Sustainable Development (CLACDS), Costa Rica

Octavio Martínez Argüello is currently Director of the Latin American Center for Competitiveness and Sustainable Development (CLACDS) at INCAE Business School, where he also works as a professor of business strategy. He has been a consultant in the formulation and implementation of strategy in companies in the food and beverage, agro-industrial, pharmaceutical, energy, financial and real estate sectors. He is a partner of bac & Asociados, a consulting firm specialized in the strategic transformation of companies in Latin America. Previously, he developed experience in operations management with Wal-Mart de México y Centroamérica. He earned a Ph.D. in Business Strategy from the University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management. He also has an MBA (with High Distinction) from INCAE Business School, and a Bachelor of Industrial Engineering (Cum Laude) from the American University (UAM). His academic research on vertical integration strategy, contracts and geographic location of companies has been awarded several times by the Academy of Management, the world's leading professional association of academics and business administration consultants. He has also been invited to give lectures at Harvard University (HBS), University of Pennsylvania (Wharton), New York University (NYU Stern), Washington University in St. Louis (Olin), Instituto de Empresa (IE), University from Duke, Boston University (Questrom), Insper and Universidad Católica de Chile.

John Warrington
CEO, Cacao Oro de Nicaragua

Mr. Warrington is responsible for the operational and strategic development of the Company. He works full time in Nicaragua and has been an investor in the Simplemente Madera and Agroforestal companies with members of the Ponçon Group in Nicaragua since 2005. He has an international banking and business background with a B.A. from Lawrence University, USA and masters’ in finance and business administration from Universidad de Cádiz / Formato Educativo. Since 1996, Mr. Warrington has actively managed his family’s corn and soybean farming operations in Ohio, USA. He is a board member and “Fiscal” of the Nicaraguan Producers and Exporters Association (APEN) with responsibility for the cocoa sector. Since founding Cacao Oro in 2014, 2,000 hectares of cocoa and 150 hectares of Robusta coffee have been developed under a sustainable agroforestry system on the north Atlantic coast of Nicaragua. Cacao Oro is certified by Rainforest Alliance. The Company is currently expanding its operations with plans to develop an additional 2,000 hectares in northeastern Nicaragua.

Dean Bernard Kilian
Dean, INCAE Business School, Costa Rica

Bernard Kilian is Dean of the Faculty of INCAE Business School. Originally from Germany, he earned a PhD in Environmental Resource Economics and a Master's in Agricultural Science with an emphasis in Economics, both from the University of Hohenheim, Germany. Prior to joining INCAE, he was in charge of the economic project within a national macro project in Germany called precision agriculture. He also taught graduate-level classes at the University of Hohenheim, and was a visiting professor at the University of Minnesota. He has led numerous market research for sustainable products in international markets. As an associate professor at INCAE in master's programs, he has vast experience, backed by several years of professional practice. Professor Kilian teaches courses in the areas of Microeconomics and Operations Management at the Costa Rica campus.

Gustavo Fabian Grobocopatel
President & Founder, Grupo Los Grobo, Argentina

Merit Award “Domingo F. Sarmiento”, granted by the National Senate, for his contribution to the community and its educational institutions. He was named Agribusinessman of the Year by the ADE (Association of Corporate Management) IAMA (International Agribusiness Management Asociation) Award – Argentine Chapter Award to the Argentine Creative – “Círculo de Creativos de la Republica Argentina” (Argentine Creative Association) AVINA Leader Konex Platinum Award to the Rural Businessman of the Decade Award to the Best Businessman in the Region granted by the magazine “América Economía” Award to the entrepreneur of the Year – Ernst & Young Orden do Rio Branco granted for Brasil goverment

Alessandra Fajardo
Food Chain Partnerships Director – Strategy & Sustainability, Bayer, Brazil

Graduated in Agronomy Engineering at ESALQ/USP, Alessandra has more than 20 years of experience in the Agribusiness, Institutional Relations and Sustainability sector, having already worked in important companies of this industry. At Bayer, she was Product Manager and Market Manager in the Seeds and Biotechnology in the Crop Science Division. Later, she led the Corporate Affairs area (APSA) of Crop Science for Brazil .Among her attributions at Bayer's Stakeholders Strarety & Affairs division is the importance to foster dialogue and approximation with the company's stakeholders in the food chain sector regarding topics like regenerative agriculture, carbon, traceability and others.

Billy Martin PIneda Flores
Disagro, Guatemala


Francisco Carrete
Precision Ag Tactical Marketing Specialist, John Deere Corp, Mexico & USA; Matra John Deere Dealer, Costa Rica

Francisco Carrete is the Marketing Tactical Specialist of Precision Agriculture for John Deere in Mexico and Hispano North. He studied Environmental Science Engineering and had an MBA in finance. For more than six years worked for Grupo Tepeyac specialized in Precision agriculture and crop nutrition in Mexico and Central America. Francisco Carrete currently works in John Deere Supporting the John Deere dealers’ network with solutions in Precision Agriculture, implementing actions to increase participation; manage activities and budget for execution of the marketing plan; lead the marketing execution plan focused on increasing the use of Precision Agriculture solutions by customers and dealers. Also, he is Leading the strategy of connectivity solutions for John Deere small Tractors for Hispanic America.

Anderson Franca
Head Latam, Cropin Technology Solutions Pvt Ltd, Brazil

Anderson França, more them 20 years working on the SW industry, working C-Level as a for a companies  like HP (sw head latam) Kodak (sales Director Latam) , Oi a second Telecomunications argest company in Brazil, before Cropin I was a CEO of BlockBit a cybersecurity company and I received a proposal to help Cropin to increase our market penetration in LATAM as a Head Latam.

© 2024 IFAMA  |  All rights reserved  |

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software