Appointment to the Advisory Council on International Agricultural Research Policy

Today, I am announcing the appointment of three leading experts to the Policy Advisory Board for International Agricultural Research.

The Council assists the Australian Center for International Agricultural Research in planning and implementing its research portfolio to improve food security and reduce poverty in our region.

The Council is made up of 12 members from across the Indo-Pacific and provides valuable insight into the development priorities of countries in the region and how Australia’s agricultural research expertise can contribute to these priorities through collaborations of research.

The three new appointees – Dr Rachel Chikwamba from Zimbabwe, Dr Surmsuk Salakpetch from Thailand and Mr Sunny Verghese from Singapore – join the nine current Board members from Australia, Vietnam, the Pacific Islands, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea and The Philippines.

Dr Rachel Chikwamba is a group executive for the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in South Africa and will be able to provide scientific advice and leadership to the Council based on his extensive experience in agricultural science.

Dr. Surmsuk Salakpetch was most recently Director General of Thailand’s Department of Agriculture and will be able to advise the Council from both a research and management perspective.

Mr Sunny Verghese is co-founder and group CEO of Olam International Limited and chairman of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. He has extensive experience in agribusiness and global food chain systems and markets that will be invaluable to the Council.

I welcome new Board members and look forward to hearing their ideas on how Australia can continue our agricultural research efforts to enhance food security in our region and help our regional neighbors recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to the three new members, the appointment of the current member of the Policy Advisory Board, Dr. Nguyen Van Bo from Vietnam, has been extended until 2024.

I thank the outgoing member of the Policy Advisory Council, Dr Sar Chetra from Cambodia, for his contribution to the Council since 2016.

Lana T. Arthur