Seed Security for Food Security Forum – a 2017 Borlaug Dialogue Side Event

15-2838 DuPont Seed Forum-icon-186Join us for a forum about the role of seed security and crop diversity in global food security and agricultural sustainability.

The Forum brings together a diverse group of influential contributors and stakeholders to consider the importance of seed security and crop diversity to increase food security and agricultural sustainability. Seed security requires persistent and effective seed systems to serve farmers across all production scales. The Forum will include presentations and expert panel discussions.

This is an official side event of the World Food Prize 2017 Borlaug Dialogue

Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, 700 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa
Third Floor, Cedar Rapids & Council Bluffs Rooms
8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 

SPEAKERS (biographies below)

There is no charge to attend the Forum and seating is limited! 

Register here

Lunch will be provided for guests who preregistered



8:30-8:40    Jim Gaffney, Global Biotech Affairs & Regulatory Lead – Ag Traits, DuPont Pioneer

8:40 – 9:00  Opening Remarks, Tim Glenn, Vice President, Global Seeds Agriculture Division of Dow DuPont

9:00 – 9:40    Improving Seed Conservation – Marie Haga, Executive Director, Global Crop Diversity Trust

9:40-10:20   The Africa Seed Access Index – Edward Mabaya, Senior Research Associate, Cornell University

Break – (20 minutes)

10:40 – 11:20   Access to Seeds Index – Ido Verhagen, Executive Director, Access to Seeds Index

11:20 – 11:50   Morning Panel of speakers

12:00-1:20   Lunch, Davenport & Dubuque Rooms

12:45   Speaker: Advancing Food Security in Africa — Paul E. Schickler, Retired President, DuPont Pioneer

1:30-2:10  Biotechnology and Plant Breeding Progress in Nigeria – Chiedozie Egesi, Project Manager – Next Gen Cassava Breeding (International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Nigeria) and Cornell University

2:10-2:50    CRISPR-Cas Applications for Food Security Crops – Rebecca Bart, Sr. Res. Scientist, Danforth Center

Break (15 minutes)

3:10-3:50    Solutions for Impact in Emerging Markets – Pooja Bhatnagar-Mathur, Senior Scientist and Theme Leader of Cell, Molecular Biology, and Genetic Engineering at ICRISAT

4:00-4:30   Afternoon Panel of speakers

4:30-5:00    Closing Remarks, Neal Gutterson, Ph.D., Leader, Research and Development for the Agriculture Division of DowDuPont.


  Rebecca Bart, Senior Research Scientist, Danforth Center

Becky competed her undergraduate education at Reed College in Portland Oregon before pursuing her doctoral research in the Plant Pathology Department at UC Davis. There she worked with Prof. Pamela Ronald to elucidate genetic components of the rice innate immune response. Becky then worked as a postdoctoral scholar in Prof. Brian Staskawicz’s laboratory at UC Berkeley to understand the molecular and genetic interaction between the important food crop, cassava, and its major bacterial pathogen Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. manihotis. Becky began her own laboratory at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in the Fall of 2013 where she is continuing her work on cassava and expanding her focus to other important Xanthomonas incited diseases.

   Pooja Bhatnagar-Mathur, Cell & Molecular Biology, ICRISAT

Dr. Pooja Bhatnagar-Mathur, Senior Scientist and Theme Leader of Cell, Molecular biology and Genetic Engineering at ICRISAT is responsible for consolidated efforts on developing biotechnological tools towards gene discovery and candidate gene validations; transgenic breeding, and translational research activities for various Ag-biotech traits.

Pooja holds a basic degree in Horticulture, with a Post graduation (M.Sc.) and doctorate (Ph.D.) in Agriculture Biotechnology. With over 15 years of experience in genetic engineering of various legumes and cereals such as groundnut, chickpea and pigeonpea and sorghum, she has been actively involved with identification and functional validation of candidate genes to integrate useful traits in these crops. Her more recent engagements integrate scientific innovations to design and build new biological functions and systems using genome-editing technologies.  Pooja has been involved with the “Platform for Translational research on Transgenic Crops” (PTTC) at ICRISAT, a unique concept aimed at facilitating collaborative and coordinated approaches for translation of the transgenic concepts to product development by addressing biosafety, IP and technology transfer issues through public-private partnerships. Has contributed to various capacity building activities for stakeholders in different target countries of Asia and Africa to ensure compliance with the internationally and nationally laid out biosafety regulations and stewardship aspects in the public sector transgenic crops. Pooja has to her credit, several advanced certifications from World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on several components of Intellectual property management for commercialization of biotech products and has published over 70 research communications in various international peer reviewed journals and books besides several popular articles in various newsletters.

  Chiedozie Egesi, Project Manager, NextGen Cassava Breeding, (International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Nigeria) and Cornell University

Chiedozie Egesi is Project Manager for the NextGen Cassava breeding project and works as a senior scientist at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Nigeria. He had been an assistant director at the National Root Crops Research Institute, Umudike, Nigeria. He was also recently appointed as adjunct professor of plant breeding and genetics at the Cornell University. He has led efforts at developing and releasing to Nigerian cassava farmers several improved varieties of cassava, including pro-vitamin A cassava. His research activities involve the use of cross-cutting biotechnology tools in the genetic improvement of cassava, including transgenic technologies. Chiedozie supports several African NARS cassava breeding programs in developing adaptive breeding schemes. He has worked previously as a university teacher and a yam breeder in Nigeria, and has participated in the development and release of yam varieties.

  Jim Gaffney, Global Biotech Affairs & Regulatory Lead-Ag Traits, DuPont Pioneer

Jim Gaffney started with DuPont Pioneer in fall 2010 and in his role, works on advancing agronomic traits, including those that help crops better use water and nitrogen. Gaffney earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota, master’s from South Dakota State University and Ph.D. form the University of Florida.  He’s particularly passionate about improving African agriculture – an interest that dates back to his time as a Peace Corps volunteer in Cameroon, Central Africa, where he worked at an agricultural technical school.  As a former farm kid, Gaffney stays connected to his roots as regulatory product strategy lead at DuPont Pioneer.  His family raised corn, soybeans and hogs on their farm in southwest Minnesota and he stays involved with succession planning to help ensure the farm stays in the family.

  Neal Gutterson, Vice President, Research & Development, DuPont Pioneer

Neal Gutterson, Ph.D., is vice president, Research and Development (R&D) and is a member of the DuPont Pioneer Leadership Team. In this capacity, Neal leads all R&D and product development functions to create innovative agricultural products, services and integrated solutions which combine Pioneer’s industry-leading germplasm, breeding systems, biotechnology-derived solutions, and data analytics.

Neal built his career through a series of progressively more senior research and development roles at biotechnology start-up companies, including Advanced Genetic Sciences and DNA Plant Technology Corporation. In 2002, he joined Mendel Biotechnology as vice president, Research & Development. Neal served as president, chief executive officer and board member of Mendel Biotechnology prior to joining DuPont Pioneer in 2014.

Neal has an extensive history of professional memberships, and he currently sits on the CIMMYT Board of Trustees where he is program committee chair. He is also widely published in scientific journals and is a regular speaker at industry conferences.

Neal holds a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Yale University and a doctorate in biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. He has also attended the Stanford Business School Emerging Companies Executive Program. Neal is named inventor on more than 30 patents and pending patent applications.

  Marie Haga, Executive Director, Global Crop Diversity Trust

Marie Haga joined the Global Crop Diversity Trust (Crop Trust) as Executive Director in March 2013. She had previously been member and Deputy Chair of the Crop Trust Executive Board.

Ms. Haga has a background from Foreign Service as a career diplomat from politics and private sector. She has held various positions in the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including to the Norwegian Mission to the United Nations in New York and the Embassy in New Delhi. She was politically appointed and held the position as State Secretary/Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1997-1999.

Ms. Haga has wide experience from politics and served as a Member of Parliament in Norway from 2001-2009. She was political advisor to the Minister for Development Cooperation from 1997-1998. She was Chairperson of the Centre Party from 2003-2008.

Ms. Haga has held three Ministerial positions: Minister of Cultural Affairs (1999–2000), Minister of Local Government and Regional Development (2005–2007) and Minister of Petroleum and Energy (2007–2008). Marie Haga has held the position of Director for Renewable Energy in the Federation of Norwegian Industries (2009–2011) and of Secretary General of the Norwegian Air Ambulance (2011-2013) – the biggest voluntary organization in Norway.

Ms. Haga has been on several boards, including as Chair of the Governing Board of the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) (2009–2013) and Chair of the Governing Board of the Industrial Development Corporation of Norway (2010–2013). She was elected Chair of the Norwegian Peace Research Institute in 2015 and is still holding this position. Marie Haga has also published three books – one novel and two on Norwegian politics.

  Edward Mabaya, Senior Research Associate, Cornell University

Ed is an academic and a development practitioner with more than a decade of experience with African seed systems. He is involved in several programs that seek to improve the lives of African farmers through private enterprises.  Ed established and coordinates the Seeds of Development Program, a business development services and networking program for emerging seed companies in East and Southern Africa. As a Research Associate in the Department of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University, he conducts research on food marketing and distribution, seed systems and the role of efficient agricultural markets in Africa’s economic development.  He is Assistant Director at the Cornell International Institute for Food, Agriculture, and Development.  Ed earned his MS and Ph.D. degrees in Agricultural Economics at Cornell University and his B.Sc. from the University of Zimbabwe. In 2007, Ed was an Archbishop Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellow at the African Leadership Institute at Oxford University.  During 2010-2011, he was a Visiting Researcher at Stellenbosch University in South Africa.

  Paul Schickler, Retired President, DuPont Pioneer

Paul E. Schickler was president of DuPont Pioneer, the advanced seed genetics business of DuPont, from 2007 to 2017. In this role he continued to expand Pioneer’s global business by remaining focused on innovation that improves local productivity and profitability of farmers in more than 90 countries. Schickler joined Pioneer in 1974 and served in a variety of finance, commercial and administrative leadership roles, including vice president of international operations from 1999 to 2007. Mr. Schickler is a graduate of Drake University, where he received Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees in business administration. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Cultivation Corridor, The Greater Des Moines Partnership and the Iowa Business Council. He also served on the Iowa Partnership for Economic Progress committee. He currently serves as Board Chair of Grand View University, is on the Board of Directors of The Chicago Council on Global Affairs and The World Food Prize Foundation, and is a member of the Chicago Council’s Global Agricultural Development Initiative Advisory Group. A strong contributor to the community, Mr. Schickler is an active supporter of United Way, the World Food Prize Foundation, Global Youth Institute and Meals from the Heartland.

  Ido Verhagen, Executive Director, Access to Seeds Index

Ido Verhagen is the executive director of the Access to Seeds Index, which provides unique insights into what the seed industry is doing to improve access to quality seeds for smallholder farmers. By identifying leadership and recognizing good practices, it aims to advance benchmark performance over time. The first Access to Seeds Index was published in early 2016; the next edition is scheduled for 2018. The Index is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, AgriCord, and the government of The Netherlands. Prior to initiating the Access to Seeds Index, Mr. Verhagen had been a boardroom consultant in the area of corporate social responsibility, assisting companies like KLM, Heineken, and TNT on their sustainability policies, practices and partnerships.


This entry was posted on Agriculture, Events, Food Security, Access to Seeds Foundation, Agriculture and Development, Borlaug Dialogue, Cornell University, Crop Trust, Danforth Center, ICRISAT, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, seed security, World Food Prize, DuPont Pioneer,

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