Director and Chair: Prof. Lindiwe Majele Sibanda

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Prof. Sibanda has extensive experience working in Africa and has attained global stature as a thought leader. She has served as CEO of the Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) and vice-president of AGRA for more than 15 years. Prior to her appointment as Director of the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Food Systems, she was a research fellow at the Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship at the University of Pretoria (UP). She serves as the co-chair of the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture (GACSA), is a member of the SDG Target by 2030 Champions on Reducing Food Loss and Waste and a commissioner for the EAT-Lancet Commission on Sustainable Healthy Food Systems. In July 2020, the Food Planet Prize appointed her as a member of its jury, which will award two prizes of $2 million later this year. She is working closely with Wageningen University & Research (WUR) to prepare the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) 2021 report to inform the United Nations 2021 Food Systems Summit.

Co-Director: Prof. Hettie Schönfeldt

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Prof. Schönfeldt is an advocate for nutrition research, promoting excellence through the creation, translation, and dissemination of science-based information into policies, programmes, and training programmes both nationally and internationally. She publishes evidence on why country-specific food composition data is essential to make it possible to interpret the dietary outcomes of countries. Prof. Schönfeldt serves as scientific advisor to AFROFOODS, a network on the African continent, forming part of IUNS/UNU/FAO INFOODS Task Force. She is a Co-Director of the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Food Systems and holds a Department of Science and Innovation (DST)/National Research Foundation (NRF) South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) Chair in Nutrition and Food Security.



Co-Director: Prof. Frans Swanepoel

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Prof. SwanepoeI is the Director for International Strategic Partnerships at the University of Pretoria (UP) and Principal Investigator for the URKI-ARUA GCRF Food Systems Research Network for Africa (FSNet-Africa) Project. He is Professor for Agricultural Transformation in Africa (ATA) at the Centre for Advancement of Scholarship (CAS) at UP and Co-Director of the ARUA Center of Excellence in Sustainable Food Systems (ACoE in SFS).
Previously, he held positions as Dean of Agriculture at the University of Fort Hare (UFH), Director of the Postgraduate School of Agriculture and Rural Development at UP, Head of Animal Science at the University of the Free State (UFS), and Director of Research at UFS. Prof Swanepoel was Director of the African Doctoral Academy at Stellenbosch University, and DVC Research and Innovation at the University of the Western Cape (UWC). 
He is a former Fulbright Fellow at Cornell University, USA and currently a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for African Development (IAD) at Cornell and a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Western Australia (UWA). He is a former member of the ARC board in SA and serve on the boards of a number of continental organisations, incl: the African Women in Agriculture Research and Development (AWARD) based in Kenya; Food Agriculture and Natural Resource Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN); RUFORUM based in Uganda; the continental Science Granting Councils Initiative (SGCI) supported by NRF and IDRC. He is the Vice-Chairperson of the Australia-Africa University Network (AAUN), a member of the Academy of Science of SA (ASSAf), and a foreign member of the Ugandan National Academy of Science (UNAS).

Executive Committee Member - University of Ghana: Prof. Irene S. Egyir

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Prof. Egyir is an Agricultural Economist with 30 years’ experience, teaching and engaging in research and consultancies in resource use, gender, and policy evaluation. She obtained a PhD in Agricultural Economics from the University of Ghana in 2004 and has since explored what other countries discuss on the subject. She has built a strong background in micro-finance practice, having led a development NGO – Multi-Features and Capacity-Enhancing Services (MFCS); this background supports her study of finance access attitudes of small entrepreneurs. She is currently the Lead Researcher of two projects that aim to understand the productivity, profitability, and sustainability of organic and conventional farming systems in Africa. She is also the Principal Investigator and Project Coordinator for the Partnership for Skills in Applied Science Technology and Engineering Technology – Regional Scholarship and Innovation Fund (PASET-RSIF) at the University of Ghana, the Africa Host University. 

Prof. Egyir has 40 publications to her credit and has served as editor and reviewer for a number of journals. She worked as Technical Advisor on a USAID-supported Agriculture and Agribusiness Unit Capacity Building project at the Ministry of Finance in Ghana from 2014-2017, and she is the immediate past Head of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness, University of Ghana. She serves as member of several boards and committees in the University of Ghana as well as other private businesses and NGOs.

Executive Committee Member - University of Nairobi: Prof. Cecilia Moraa Onyango

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Prof. Onyango is an Associate Professor of Horticulture with over 18 years’ experience in training, research, and community outreach in the areas of crop production systems, postharvest handling of produce, standards, and food safety. The main focus of her research work has been on African traditional crops’ production physiology, conservation, and use; stress physiology; and temperature-based modulation of growth and development in crops. She also has wide experience in participatory farmer and end-user technology evaluation, selection, and adoption in addition to systems intensification and market-led development. She has over 30 publications in various refereed journals and has supervised and mentored over 20 graduate students. She has been with the University of Nairobi for over 18 years as an academic member of staff in the Department of Plant Science and Crop Protection.

Prof. Onyango distinguishes herself as a scholar who embraces a systems-thinking approach to create sustainable food systems as a means of achieving food security and nutrition through the application of a multifaceted and a multi-sector effort to achieve the highest quality of life for all. She is a Co-Chair of the Phytosanitary Standards, Food Safety, and Consumption sub-Committee of the Horticulture Technical Working Group; a member of the Multi-Agency Food Safety Technical Working Group of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries; and a board member of Organic Consumers Alliance.


Published by Esley Van Der Berg

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