Global Lead, Data-driven Digital Agriculture, Agriculture, and Food Global Practice, The World Bank
Parmesh Shah is the Global Lead for Data-driven Digital Agriculture at the World Bank. He provides leadership to Bank’s work in these areas and supports the development of global knowledge and learning in these areas to offer solutions to clients and other development partners. His current areas of interest are economic and social organizations and networks of the poor, making markets and public services work for the poor, social entrepreneurship, digital and data-based innovations in agriculture and rural development, promotion of on-farm and off-farm jobs, and public-private and people partnerships for rural poverty reduction. He is currently involved in developing a regional program on scaling up digital agriculture in the Africa region, involving setting up ecosystems for entrepreneurship and incubation. He holds a DPhil in Development Studies from the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and a B Tech degree in Agricultural Engineering from Pantnagar in India.
Vinay Kumar Vutukuru
Senior Agriculture Economist, Agriculture and Food Global Practice, The World Bank
Vinay Kumar Vutukuru is a Senior Agriculture Economist at the World Bank, Kenya, based out of Nairobi. He currently anchors the Agriculture Portfolio for the World Bank in Kenya. He has previously worked in the South Asia region on Agriculture and Rural Development initiatives at the World Bank. He supported the scale-up of the Bank’s agriculture and rural development program at the national level and in key states like Bihar, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Jharkhand for ten years between 2009 and 2019, initially based out of Patna and then moving to Delhi. He was also on a development assignment with the India Country Management Unit working closely with the Country Director and the Operations Manager for two years on strategic management of the bank portfolio in India, including enabling linkages across different sectors and themes. Before joining the Bank, he worked in agriculture, rural development, demand-side governance, and rural safety nets with the Aga Khan Rural Support Program (AKRSP) and the Government of Andhra Pradesh. He finished his graduate degree in Public Administration in International Development at the Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University, and is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
Director of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO)
Boniface is the director of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) at Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Research Organization (KALRO) and Chair of the CODATA (Committee on Data of the International Council for Science) Agricultural Data Task Group headquartered in France. Previously, he worked as the Chief of Information Technology at United States Army Medical Research. His research interests relate to theorizing around IS phenomena, ICT4D, and Knowledge Management. He has extensive expertise in the ICT field, data science, Big data, artificial intelligence, and research informatics. He has published several journal articles and peer-reviewed conference papers. He has brought transformative change through the development of ICT innovations in Health and Agriculture. In 2016, he won the Climate Information Prize award for developing a platform that tackles impacts of climate change, and in 2019 he received the Africa CIO of the Year Award.
Agriculture Transformation Office, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries & Cooperatives, Kenya
A self-described person on a mission, Thule (pronounced too-le) Lenneiye began her career in Zimbabwe as part of a start-up that implemented the first e-Voucher program on the continent – the precursor to the very successful Zambian e-voucher program. During that time, she gained unparalleled hands-on experience in what would become ‘the digital transformation’ space; and over the years, she has established herself as a sought-after thought leader. Currently working as the Agriculture Transformation Office (ATO) Coordinator for the Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries & Cooperatives, Kenya, Thule is charged with driving the transformation agenda in the Agriculture sector through fostering partnerships and embracing digital innovations that can make a tangible difference in how the ministry operates, is viewed and interacts with the wider community. For Thule, watching the old guard become the vanguards in the digital transformation of Agriculture is a reward in itself.
Senior Research Fellow, Module Lead, CGIAR Big Data Platform; International Food Policy and Research Institute (IFPRI)
Medha Devare is an agronomist and microbial ecologist with experience in bioinformatics, data management, and semantic web standards. She is a Senior Research Fellow at IFPRI. She leads one of the three Modules of the CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture, spearheading efforts to operationalize the FAIR Principles towards Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable data. Prior to this, she led the CGIAR System‘s Open Access and Open Data Initiative. As a Scientist with CIMMYT, she coordinated a project to increase the productivity and profitability of small farmers and the sustainability of farming systems in western Nepal. Before moving to CIMMYT, Medha worked at Cornell University, where she also received a Ph.D. and helped develop VIVO, a semantic web application to represent research and scholarship.
Ashwini Rekha Sebastian
Economist, The Agriculture and Food Global Practice, The World Bank
Ashwini is an Economist in the Agriculture and Food Global Practice for the Latin America and Caribbean region where she works on operations and analytics linked to food systems, climate resilience and the environment, rural livelihoods, jobs, and poverty reduction, as well as digital agritech platforms. Prior to joining the World Bank, Ashwini worked as an Economist at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN-FAO) Agricultural Development Economics Division. She has also previously worked with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). Ashwini holds a Ph.D. and MSc in Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics, and an MSc in Economics from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Head of East Africa (New Initiatives and Program implementation), Digital Green
Henry Kinyua is the Head of East Africa (New Initiatives and Program implementation) for Digital Green. Henry has vast experience in Agriculture, development, government delivery systems, and institutional establishment in both private and public sectors in Africa. In December 2019, Henry was appointed by His Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta to chair the board of New KPCU, a State Corporation established by the president to support coffee farmers increase their incomes and make the sector responsive to farmers' needs. Prior to joining Digital Green, he worked as County Executive (Minister) for Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries for the Nyeri County government in Central Kenya, as a Technical Advisor in Agriculture and government relations for Dalberg in Tanzania, as a Director for Agriculture Market Efficiencies with the President Delivery Bureau-at the President’s Office-United Republic of Tanzania, an agricultural value chain consultant with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and as a senior project manager with TechnoServe (www.tns.org). Prior to TechnoServe, he worked as deputy outgrowers manager with Flamingo horticulture (previously known as Homegrown) where he supported thousands of smallholder farmers in Kenya export fresh produce to Europe and before that as an agrochemical products promotor (field salesman) with BASF (Previously trading as Cyanamid Transnational Corporation) working with smallholder coffee and horticultural farmers in Kenya. He holds a Master’s degree in Organizational Development from the United States International University-Nairobi, completed an Executive management course on public narrative from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, a Postgraduate Diploma in Agribusiness Marketing from Galilee Management Institute-Israel, and a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture from the University of Nairobi.