The External Advisory Board (EAB)

Independent world-class experts from the relevant disciplines represented in the project agenda make up the EAB. The functional areas of expertise represented include agri-biotechnology, biodiversity, nutrition, bio-safety, plant breeding, agricultural economics and public acceptance and communication.

The EAB meets once a year after attending the end of year project planning workshop to review the progress made. This enables it to give its advice accordingly. The advice is given verbally at the workshop and after evaluation by the PSC, feedback is given.

Prof. Ruth Oniang'o has been a member of Kenya’s parliament since January 2003. She obtained her Ph.D., from the University of Nairobi; and her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Washington State University. She is a former Shadow Minister for Education, a member of the Education Committee and Vice Chair of Kenya Women Parliamentary Association.

She is a professor of Food Science and Nutrition at the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Nairobi, Kenya. Professor Oniang’o is the founder and Chair of Board of Trustees of the Rural Outreach program, a not-for-profit organisation that she initiated in 1993. For her outstanding work in rural development activities, she has been awarded 2 national medals: the Silver Star medal in 1995 and the Distinguished Service Medal in 1998. Internationally, she has won the Woman of the Year 2000 awarded by the American Bibliographical Society.

Professor Oniang’o is the founding Editor-in-Chief of the African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development. She has worked as a consultant for organisations such as FAO, ICRISAT, WHO; and a number of NGO’s and universities. She has also served on a number of boards and is currently on the boards of IFDC, IFPRI, Monsanto Company and IRRI. She has authored many publications and has been appointed to various commissions in her country. As an experienced trainer, researcher and development philanthropist, Prof. Oniang’o has pledged to continue championing the cause of the youth, the poor and women in her now very strategic position.

Professor Matin Qaim is a Senior Researcher at the Centre for Development Research in Bonn, Germany. Since 2007, Matin Qaim has been professor and chair of International Food Economics and Rural Development at Georg-August-University of Goettingen in Goettingen, Germany. Before that, he taught International Agricultural Trade and Food Security at the University of Hohenheim in Stuttgart, Germany from 2004-2007. Qaim also worked as senior researcher and team leader at the Centre for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, Germany.

From 2001 to 2003, he was a post-doctoral visiting fellow at the department of agricultural and development economics at the University of California Berkeley. He has had numerous research projects in developing countries including Argentina, Egypt, India, Kenya, Mexico, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. Qaim received the outstanding “Review of Agricultural Economics” article award in 2007 from the American Agricultural Economics Association (AAEA). Qaim has a B.Sc. in agricultural sciences from the University of Bonn, an M.Sc. in agricultural economics from the University of Keil, and he obtained his Ph.D. in agricultural and development economics at the University of Bonn.

Qaim has extensive research experience related to the economics of agricultural technologies in developing countries. In particular, he has implemented and coordinated numerous studies on the adoption and impacts of biotechnology in the small farm sector in developing countries. Moreover, he has carried out research on market implications and nutritional effects of new crop technologies and other policy interventions. Qaim has published widely in international scientific journals and books. His research has also been awarded with several academic prizes. He is an advisor to several national and international organizations, including as member of the German Agricultural Ministry’s scientific advisory board and the board of trustees of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT).

Ephraim Mukisira is currently the Director of the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI). Dr. Mukisira was, until his appointment, KARI's Deputy Director of Research and Technology. His appointment capped 26 years of an illustrious research career in KARI. Dr. Mukisira began his research career in KARI in 1980 when he joined the then Scientific Research Division of the Ministry of Agriculture as a Research Officer. He rose through the ranks to become Principal Research Officer, Assistant Director and Deputy Director -Research and Technology and Director-KARI. Dr. Mukisira holds board positions in local and international bodies.

In 1999-2003, he was a member of the World Council of Animal Production (WCAP). In 1998, he was elected to the post of the Secretary to the African Chapter of the World Association of Animal Production and from 1999-2000, he was elected to serve as the National Chairman of the Animal Production Society of Kenya. He is also a member of the Netherlands-based CTA Advisory Committee on Science and Technology, board member of KARI and chairman of Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA). During his research career, Dr. Mukisira has authored and co-authored several scientific papers, some of which have been published in referred journals.

He has also contributed to book chapters and presented scientific papers in local and international conferences. Two of these presentations won him meritorious awards by the Canadian Society of Animal Science and the European Poultry Conference. He has also won several scientific awards locally. Dr. Mukisira holds a Doctorate degree in Animal Science from McGill University, Canada. He also holds a Master of Science degree from Louisiana State University, USA and a Bachelor of Agriculture (Honors) degree from the University of Nairobi.

Dr Harold Roy-Macauley is the Director of Programmes for the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD) since July, 2009. Before CORAF/WECARD, Harold worked for the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), initially undertaking the role as Regional Coordinator, West and Central Africa, in April 2006, after which he relocated to Guinea in January 2009 to take up the position of ICRAF Representative in the Upper Guinea Node for West Africa, overseeing research and development activities, notably in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire.

He started his professional career as a lecturer in plant physiology at the University of Sierra Leone and was seconded in 1995 to the Regional Centre for Improving the Adaptation of Annual Plants to Drought (CERAAS), in Senegal, a Research and Training base-centre of the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development, where he was responsible for developing and coordinating scientific activities in biochemistry and molecular physiology.

He was appointed Scientific Director and Assistant Managing Director of CERAAS in 1996, and Managing Director, in 1997. He occupied this position till 2004. Between 2004 and 2006, he served as consultant for various agencies, regional and international fora on biosafety and biotechnology. He has been a member of the Steering Committee of the NEPAD/African Biosciences Initiative - Biosciences Eastern and Central Africa (BECA); the Interim Implementing Committee of the FARA-led Initiative on Building African Scientific and Institutional Capacity (BASIC) in Agriculture. He was a member of the International Foundation for Science (IFS) Crop Science Advisory Committee (Project evaluation and resource provision). At present he is the Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Breeding Project of the World Vegetable Centre. His area of expertise mainly focuses on plant biodiversity improvement and agricultural development especially in West Africa.

Dr. Gurdev Singh Khush is a renowned Indian agronomist and geneticist who, along with mentor Dr. Henry Beachell, received the 1996 World Food Prize. Dr Khush received his education at the Punjab Agricultural University in India and obtained his PhD from the University of California, Davis, in the USA. He has since been awarded nine honorary degrees. After post-doctoral studies on tomato breeding at Davis, Dr Khush joined the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in 1967. At IRRI, he became principal plant breeder and head of the Plant Breeding, Genetics, and Biochemistry Division, leading IRRI to the forefront in the improvement of rice varieties for over twenty years, in pursuit of ever-improved rice varieties to nourish the growing developing world. Moreover, his work has earned him the legacy of playing a key role in the development of more than 300 rice varieties. Currently, he has returned to California where he continues his work on developing more productive food resources.

Dr Khush has served as consultant to rice breeding programs of 15 countries as well as The Rockefeller Foundation, The Third World Academy of Sciences, Italy, and the International Science Foundation, Sweden. He is now serving as a member of Scientific Advisory Committee to the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India. Among the honors received by Dr Khush are the Japan Prize (1987), the Wolf Prize for Agriculture (2000), the Rank Prize (1998), and the Golden Sickle Award (2007). He has also been elected to the US National Academy of Sciences and Royal Society of London, and he consults for over 15 national governments, including India, China, and Russia. Dr. Khush is the author of three books, over 80 book chapters, and more than 160 scientific papers.

Dr David Hoisington is currently Deputy Director General-Research at ICRISAT. Previously he worked as the Global Theme Leader for Biotechnology at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) located near Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India. Prior to joining ICRISAT in March 2005, he was serving as the Interim Director of the Genetic Resources Program at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) located near Mexico City, Mexico.

He worked at CIMMYT from 1989, where he established the biotechnology program and led the Applied Biotechnology Center for nearly 16 years. Prior to working at CIMMYT, Dr Hoisington was an Assistant Research Professor in the Agronomy Department at the University of Missouri. He obtained a BSc in Botany and Plant Pathology from Colorado State University, Ft. Collins and a PhD in Plant Biology from Washington University, St. Louis. He also studied Engineering at Rice University from 1971 to 1972 Dr Hoisington’s current responsibilities include the oversight of ICRISAT’s global biotechnology research activities. ICRISAT has major biotechnology activities at its headquarters near Hyderabad, India and at its regional location in Nairobi, Kenya, in additional to many projects with its partners in Asia and Africa.

On-going research activities of the group include the development and use of molecular markers in sorghum, millets, chickpea, groundnut and pigeon pea for genetic, cytogenetic and breeding applications; the use of molecular techniques to fingerprint various genomes including plants and fungi; the use of genetic engineering to enhance nutritional value and host-plant resistance to drought, salinity, insects, fungal and viral diseases.


  9. htpp://
  11. The Africa Biofortified Sorghum Project Mid-Term Report, December 2007

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