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International Advisors

The members of the International Advisory Committee are all volunteers who have made a commitment of time, energy and expertise to assure a successful future for World Potato Congress Inc.

Mr. Jianmin Xie

Director of the CIP-China Center for Asia and the Pacific (CCCAP)

In his role based in Beijing, Jianmin’s duties include leading the development and implementation of the CCCAP research and innovation strategy, in line with the CIP and One CGIAR strategies, overseeing CCCAP fundraising in accordance with its business plans, trends, and needs, leading CIP’s operations in China, and ensuring CCCAP and CIP staff deliver impactful research there.

A citizen of China, Mr. Xie has more than 30 years of experience in agriculture and rural development, planning and international cooperation. Before joining CIP, in October 2022, he worked as Counsel Director General of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs’ Department of International Cooperation, in Beijing. Prior to that, Mr. Xie worked as Deputy Representative and Counsellor of the Permanent Representation of China to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, based in Rome. He holds a master’s and post graduate studies in Economics from the School of Economics, China Renmin University, in Beijing.

Mr. Xiaoping Lu

Deputy Director-General and Director of the CIP-China Centre for Asia and Pacific (CCCAP)

Mr. Lu graduated from the University of Queensland with a Master Degree of Agricultural Economic Studies in 1994, and also gained a Diploma in English Language and Law from Jiangsu Police Academy, China in 1981. He started his career at the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) in 1983 and had held a number of positions in the Department of International Cooperation, from Project Officer, Deputy Division Director, Division Director, all the way up to Deputy Director-General of the Department. He was also invited to serve as a senior adviser for the DPRK UNDP Office from 1997 to 1998, and was appointed Counselor in the Chinese Mission to the UN Agencies for Food and Agriculture in Rome from 2003 to 2004, where he played an active role in promoting China’s agricultural connection with the international community.

Mr. Wachira Kaguongo

Mr. Kaguongo is an agricultural economist currently working with the National Potato Council of Kenya (NPCK). He joined NPCK in 2011 and has been involved in its establishment, operationalization, strategy development and resource mobilization.

Over the last twenty years Mr. Kaguoungo has worked with agricultural based organizations in impact assessment, monitoring and evaluation of research and development projects. He has conducted research and development projects on livelihood, policy, farming systems, trade-offs analysis, value chain analysis and agricultural marketing in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Ethiopia and Malawi. He has previously worked with KENFAP and CGIAR centres (International Potato Centre-6 years, International Livestock Research Institute-3 years and International Crop Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics-6 years). His current work has included capacity building of farmers and agricultural extension staff, project implementation, household survey, policy evaluation and formulation and lobby and advocacy. In the course of his work he has worked closely with government departments, national, regional and international partners and public and private sector actors and players.

In 1996, Mr. Kaguongo graduated from the University of Nairobi, Faculty of Agriculture-Kenya with a Master of Science in Agricultural Economics. He also holds a BSc Agriculture from the University of Nairobi, Faculty of Agriculture-Kenya.

Willie Jacobs

With his expertise and experience as agricultural economist, Willie has already proven his mettle through a change in focus on enhancing the relationship between producer and consumer and tackling potato industry challenges head-on.

He studied BSc Agricultural Economics at the University of the Free State, South Africa and obtained an MBA at North West University.

Up until his appointment as CEO of Potatoes South Africa (PSA) in January 2021, Willie worked on several contracts as an independent consultant. Most of the contracts were agricultural funding and management related.

Previously, he worked as Executive at the Land Bank of South Africa, serving corporate clients and later, as Executive Director of Obaro Financial Services, where farming activities were funded.

Santosh Kumar Tiwari

Dr. Tiwari holds a PhD in Plant Breeding Y Genetics and presently leads a highly qualified team of 7 DR’s and 150 contractual of Potato mini-tuber production at the Aeroponic facility & technical program of PepsiCo. Since June 2019, Dr. Tiwari is the Associate Director Agro Research & Development, PepsiCo India Holding Pvt Ltd, Jalandhar, Punjab where he has commercialized 6 PepsiCo Frito lay varieties for Chip grade production at PAN India level, successfully introduced 29 Potato clones of processing grade from Rheinlander USA to PepsiCo India and successfully registered 6 PepsiCo Potato varieties under “PPV & FRA” GOI, New Delhi. He has also developed new seed & chip grade potato production geographies in Assam, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh & Karnataka. As well he has developed innovative solutions & capability development in high-tech Potato long storage > 9 months, the breakthrough solution to manage reducing sugars in processing potatoes and provided technical support in establishing sustainable farming initiative “SFI” in association with Global team & leading Agri companies in India.

He has also worked as Project Manager for CIP – APART, North Eastern Geography of India. From 2015 to 2018, he was the Head Agro R&D, PepsiCo India Holding Pvt Ltd, Gurgaon, Haryana. He was also the Facility Manager, PepsiCo India Holding Pvt Ltd, Hoshiarpur, Punjab for two years and the Manager Agro R&D, PepsiCo India Holding Pvt Ltd, Patiala, Punjab & Agra, Uttar Pradesh from 2009 to 2013. Dr. Tiwari was a Research Scientist, MAHYCO Seeds, Jalna, Maharashtra from 2003 to 2009.

Julio Kalazich

Julio Kalazich was born in Porvenir, Province of Tierra del Fuego Island, Region of Magellan, Chile.

He is an Agronomist engineer from Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile (1977) and earned his Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Biometry at Cornell University, N.Y., USA in 1989. He worked as potato breeder at the Agricultural Research Institute (INIA for its Spanish acronym), Ministry of Agriculture, Chile, between 1977 and 2018, being its program leader since 1979. During his extensive career, he headed the development and release of 13 potato varieties and one of them is within the top 2 in the country today. He has had extensive international experience in potato as well as in general agricultural research. He has been member of International Boards in South America, US and Europe, collaborating with potato research institutions in several countries including Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Central America, US, Italy, China and Perú (CIP). He was grantee and later member and chairman of the Advisory Committee of the CCRP (McKnight Foundation, USA). Between 2014 and 2018 (a full 4-year period), he was National Director of INIA (Chile). During that period, he was also President of PROCISUR and Vice President of FONTAGRO. He has published more than 100 scientific and extension publication. In 2019, joined Universidad de Los Lagos in south Chile, with teaching, research and extension responsibilities at the Agronomy School and is currently Vice President of the Latin American Potato Association (ALAP).

Martin Acosta

Martin is the founder and CEO of KIWA, which exports premium snacks to 30 countries. KIWA was selected as Best Small-Sized (2011) and Best Medium-Sized Company in Ecuador (2017) and Top 10 Social Enterprise in LatAm by, in a program financed by Ashoka and Swiss Development Cooperation (2014), and he was named Social Entrepreneur of the year by Social Venture Network (2015).

Martin previously worked in private equity for Aureos and as an advisor for USAID, SNV & WBCSD, UN World Food Programme & TNT, and several SMEs. Since 2001, he has also worked as an investments advisor for wealthy families and holds a Diploma from Wharton School in Private Wealth Management.

As a college professor on Political Economy and Development from 2001 to 2005 at USFQ, and a visiting professor at 2 other universities, he published one book and several articles, and was quoted once by The Economist magazine as a football expert. He has been part of the United Nations Business Steering Committee, more lately of the UN Solutions Summit 2019, and has been part of other UN events. He has participated in several boards, 1 at the time, like Agrotropical, NESST, Analytica Securities, BASC, and Fedexpor. Martin holds an MBA from INSEAD, an MSc Politics of the World Economy from the London School of Economics, and a BA from Kalamazoo College, Magna Cum Laude.

Mr. Douglas (Doug) Harley

Douglas (Doug) Harley is Group Managing Director of Alexander Harley Seeds Ltd., a family-owned group of seed companies involved in breeding and marketing a broad range of crops. Its potato activities are undertaken by Cygnet which is the largest breeder of potatoes in the UK. Cygnet has successfully introduced several varieties, its latest being Kingsman and Elland. Cygnet is a vertically integrated company that produces their own minitubers and controls the production of over 30,000 tonnes of seed potatoes in Scotland which are then exported to over 40 countries around the world. 

Doug has an Honours Degree in Agriculture and Crop Science from Aberdeen University and has held several roles representing Cygnet and Scottish seed potatoes on organizations in the UK and abroad including BPTA, BSPB, Euroseeds and Breeders Trust. As a previous Director and Chair of the Awards Committee, he has previously served with WPC for several years.

Mr. Derek Roulston 

Derek Roulston was brought up in a farming family in Co. Donegal Ireland. He was the third generation to grow certified potato seed on the farm which he took over from his father in 1990. In 1998 he, along with his family, moved to Kenya to serve as missionaries in rural and community development. While in this role he realized the huge lack of quality potato seed and in 2010, focused his efforts on the development of a combined potato seed project with Kisima Farms in Kenya. Present day, they are still one of the largest producers of certified potato seed in Sub-Saharan Africa.

In 2013, upon returning home to Ireland, he studied the methodology used for trialing new potato varieties and disease management with the Agri-Food & BioScience Institute. In 2015 he formed his own consulting company Moyle Hill Enterprise (MHE) and has worked with organizations such as the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), the International Potato Center (CIP), IPM Potato Group, as well as Vita. Through this work, Derek has had the privilege of assisting potato projects in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Mozambique. He is currently the director of Africa Potato Initiative (API) formally known as the Irish Potato Coalition. API was set up by several NGOs, research institutions and members of the private sector. who felt the need to create linkages and meaningful relationships between science, rural development and the private sector. API played a leading role in developing the Declaration of Dublin and sees its role in implementing the Declaration in Africa. 

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