Pre-Session for the 2014 Borlaug Dialogue & World Food Prize

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From Smallholders to Shareholders: Optimizing Private Sector Partnerships for Smallholder Impact

9:00 to 11:00 a.m., Wednesday, October 15, 2014 (continental breakfast starts at 8:00 a.m.)
Downtown Marriott - Windows Room
Des Moines, IA

This workshop focuses on how private sector partnerships and technologies can benefit smallholder farmers, with practical, applied examples shared from Honduras, Nigeria, Senegal, and Zambia. Arrangements for licensing and manufacturing, marketing and distribution, extension and other types of customer support, and financing are highlighted, with an interactive format employed to optimize audience participation.


Welcome: Bob Rabatsky, Program Director, Feed the Future (FTF) Partnering for Innovation

Speaker Presentations

  • USAID: Engaging the Private Sector to Increase Impact and Promote Food Security
    Tjada D'Oyen McKenna, Deputy Coordinator for Development for Feed the Future, and Assistant to the Administrator, USAID's Bureau for Food Security
  • Business Models: What's Working and Why?
    Robert de Jongh, Technology Commercialization and Models Lead, FTF Partnering for Innovation

Case Studies

  • Scaling Drip Products & Distribution for Smallholder Markets - Eduardo Mendías, Toro
  • Making Products Affordable & Accessible: Innovations in Finance & Extension - Erwin Alvarez, DelCampo
  • Building Local Capacity for Market Access - Idris Ajani, Syngenta Nigeria
  • Going Local: How Partnering Can Make a Difference - Wesley Meier, CTI

Audience Q&A: Facilitated dialogue that promotes information sharing and provides tailored follow-up with experts.

Speaker Biographies

Tjada D'Oyen McKenna

Deputy Coordinator for Development for Feed the Future and Assistant to the Administrator, USAID's Bureau for Food Security

Tjada McKenna coordinates implementation of Feed the Future across the U.S. Government, oversees its execution and reports on results, and leads engagement with the external community to ensure that food security remains high on the development agenda. In her capacity as Assistant to the Administrator, she also oversees USAID's technical and regional expertise focused on improving food security to reduce hunger, poverty, and under-nutrition.

Idris Ajani

Senior Program Manager, Syngenta Nigeria

Idris Ajani is in charge of projects in southern Nigeria and provides overall coordination of all value chain programs in Nigeria. He is a member of the team responsible for creating demand for Syngenta's technologies by developing robust business models, creating solutions that span the food value chain, developing selected partnerships, and ensuring that demands for the technology solutions are met efficiently.

Wesley Meier

Program Director, Compatible Technology International (CTI)

Wesley manages CTI's work in Senegal to introduce the Pearl Millet Processing Tool to smallholder farmers. A former Peace Corps volunteer in Nicaragua, Wesley worked with rural farmers to develop smallholder-appropriate technologies. He also formed Emerging Opportunities for Sustainability (EOS) International, an NGO that promotes low-cost technologies to generate income, improve health, and reduce environmental degradation. EOS International is one of CTI's main partners in Nicaragua, aiding in the promotion and implementation of water chlorination technology. Wesley graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2008.

Eduardo Mendías

Senior Product Manager for the Americas, Toro Micro-Irrigation Business, The Toro Company

Eduardo Mendías manages the market and product development efforts for Toro's Aqua-Traxx Drip Tape product line for the Americas. During his twelve-year career in the irrigation industry, he has held various sales and marketing positions at Rain Bird, John Deere, and Toro. Prior to the irrigation industry, Eduardo managed manufacturing operations in Mexico and Central America for the food, beverage, and pharmaceutical packaging industries. Mendías holds BS and BA degrees in Engineering and Economics from the University of California and an MBA in Finance and Marketing from Pepperdine University.

About the Sponsor

Feed the Future Partnering for Innovation is a USAID program that helps the private sector to enter new markets and commercialize agricultural technologies for smallholder farmers through competitive grants and knowledge exchange. The program also facilitates partnerships between USAID Missions and the private sector, and designs effective business development and engagement tools.

Registration for FTF-PI WFP 2014 tech talk

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