Presenter Biographies

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Prof Marcos Fava Neves
International expert on global agribusiness issues and professor of planning and strategy at the School of Business at the University of São Paulo, Brazil
He graduated as an agronomic engineer from ESALQ/USP - Piracicaba in 1991. He earned his master’s degree in 1995 and his doctorate in management in 1999 from the FEA/USP School of Economics and Business – São Paulo. Marcos completed postgraduate studies in European agribusiness at ESSEC-IGIA in France in 1995 and in chains/networks at Wageningen University, in the Netherlands (1998-1999). In 2013 he spent the year as a visiting international professor at Purdue University (Indiana, USA). Since 2006 he is an international professor at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. He has specialized in strategic-planning processes for companies and food chains and works as a board member of both public and private organizations, being member of more than 10 international boards since 2004. Also in 2004, he created the Markestrat think tank with other partners, today employing around 60 people and doing international projects, studies and research in strategic planning and management for more than 250 agri-food business organizations. Also as an experience in the private sector, from 1992 to 1993 he worked in citrus juice exporter and from 1994 to 1995 in a veterinarian company. In 2008, he became CEO of Brazil’s second-largest biofuel holding company, a position he occupied until 2009. Coming from a family of farmers, he is a worldwide defender of agriculture and farmer’s role in the development of the society. 


Dr Neal Gutterson
CTO at Corteva Agriscience™, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont™
Dr Neal Gutterson is Corteva Agriscience™, Agriculture Division of DowDuPont™, Chief Technical Officer, responsible for leading all R&D and product development functions to create innovative agricultural products, services and integrated solutions for growers around the world. Dr Gutterson 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. Dr Gutterson served as president, chief executive officer and board member of Mendel Biotechnology prior to joining DuPont Pioneer in 2014.  Dr Gutterson currently sits on the CIMMYT Board of Trustees where he is program committee chair.  Dr Gutterson holds a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Yale University and a doctorate in biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. He is named inventor on more than 30 patents and pending patent applications.


Dr Marcus Cornaro
EU Ambassador to the Republic of South Africa

Dr Marcus Cornaro arrived in South Africa in October 2015 as Head of the European Union's diplomatic mission to South Africa. Previously, he was Deputy Director General in the European Commission's Directorate for Development Cooperation (DEVCO), a post that he held from 2012. Dr Cornaro oversaw all EU-funded development activities for partner countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. He held the position of the European Commission's co-chair of the EU-South Africa Joint Cooperation Council. Dr Cornaro joined the European Commission in 2000, where he served in the Asia Directorate, covering in particular EU support to Afghanistan. He subsequently was posted as the EU's Ambassador to Vietnam from 2003 to 2007. In 2007, he was appointed Director for the European Neighbourhood in the European Commission, responsible for EU funding for Eastern Europe, Middle East and North Africa.


Goolam Ballim
Chief economist and head of research for the Standard Bank Group

Goolam Ballim is the chief economist and head of research for the Standard Bank Group, having served in this role since May 2004. The bank’s commercial emphasis is on Africa and the research function supports this endeavor. Standard Bank Research comprises 53 analysts and 10 support staff, variously located in Johannesburg, Nairobi, Lagos, London and Beijing. Goolam and his team consistently earns accolades for macroeconomic research on Africa as well as numerous sectoral, industry and financial markets honours. Goolam’s interest spans politics, the real economy and financial markets, and he regularly engages in public dialogue on national and continental issues across the globe.


Mpumelelo Mkhabela
Policy and political analyst
Mpumelelo teaches politics at the University of South Africa. He has been a political journalist for 17 years, covering almost every aspect of South African politics, including parliament. He is former editor of Sowetan and Daily Dispatch, and former chairman of the South African National Editors' Forum (SANEF). His in-depth political analysis is sought by media platforms as well as private clients. 


Schalk Pienaar
Agbiz Chairman

Schalk was elected as chairman of Agbiz during the congress in 2011. He has served on the Executive Committee of Agbiz since 2007. He holds a BCom degree and Education diploma, and has attended various focused industry courses locally and overseas, covering such areas as performance and productivity improvement, turnaround and change management as well as strategic leadership. Before his retirement as the CEO of Suidwes Beleggings in 2012 (Suidwes Investments), he served in various senior executive positions in that organisation. Prior to joining Suidwes he was a divisional director of Premier Foods, during which period he was a director as well as chairman of the National Chamber of Milling. He also served as a member of the maize and wheat advisory committees and as a trustee of the Maize Trust. Schalk spent 20 years in agricultural development in South Africa, of which seven years as CEO of Agricor. He has extensive experience in high-profile executive and non-executive managerial and director positions, which was the result of his balanced exposure to and practical knowledge of policy, legislative and governance requirements, complemented by senior positions in a diverse group of organisations.

  Prof Ben Cousins
DST/NRF Chair in Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies and Senior Professor at Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences at the University of the Western Cape

Professor Ben Cousins holds a DST/NRF Research Chair in Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies at the University of the Western Cape and undertakes research on agrarian change, land and agrarian reform and smallholder agriculture. He was in exile between 1972 and 1991 and completed a DPhil in applied social sciences at the University of Zimbabwe. He established the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) at UWC in 1995. His latest book is ‘Untitled: securing land tenure in urban and rural South Africa” (UKZN Press, 2017), co-edited with Donna Hornby, Rosalie Kingwill and Lauren Royston.


Anton Kruger
Chief Executive Officer, Fresh Produce Exporters’ Forum (FPEF)
Anton has extensive experience in stakeholder management as well as executive management in various industries, including tertiary education, broadcasting, financial services and agriculture. Before being appointed as the CEO of the Fresh Produce Exporters’ Forum (FPEF) in March 2012, Anton was the CEO of the South African Ostrich Business Chamber.  The FPEF is the industry association which represents more than 90% of all fresh fruit being exported by South Africa. He is a Board member of the Perishable Products Export Control Board (PPECB), Agri-HUB, Fruit South Africa and is Chairman of the Management Committee of the Post-harvest Innovation (PHI) programme – a joint programme between industry and the Department of Science and Technology.He is a founder member of the Fruit Industry Value Chain Roundtable (FIVCRT) which is a platform where the industry and Government jointly address challenges and seek solutions. Anton also serves on the South African Country Council of the international fresh produce association, the PMA (Produce Marketing Association). Anton holds an MBA-degree as well as a BA Honours (Geography), Higher Education Diploma and a diploma in Investment Management. 

  Prof Wilma Viviers
Director of TRADE research entity and WTO Chair holder, North-West University

Prof Wilma Viviers is research professor and Director of the TRADE (Trade and Development) research entity, a National Research Foundation (NRF) rated Researcher and holder of the WTO (World Trade Organisation) Chair at the North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus). Wilma holds a D Com (Economics) from the Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education. She is known both locally and internationally for her academic and research prowess, and for her commitment to opening up opportunities for South African exporters through cutting edge research and information sharing. The establishment of a dedicated international trade and economic development research unit at the NWU under Wilma’s direction and the interest being generated by the Decision Support Model (DSM) and other research initiatives are a testimony to her skill in bringing innovative projects to life. In 2015 Wilma was also appointed by the Director-General of the South African Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) as a member of the economic research advisory network (ERAN). Wilma has a long-standing relationship with the South African Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (DAFF) and in this context has guided various research projects focused on agricultural goods related export opportunities for DAFF as well as relevant topics such as Brexit and possible implications for South African agricultural export opportunities.


Martin Cameron
Managing Director of TRADE Advisory (Pty) Ltd

Martin Cameron is a founder and director of TRADE Research Advisory (Pty) Ltd and an associate of the TRADE (Trade and Development) research entity located at the North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa. Martin holds an M Com (Economics) Cum Laude from the same university and is currently enrolled for PhD studies in international trade.  Martin is a specialist in the field of quantitative Decision Support modelling, economic impact analysis and engineering management, with a keen interest in international trade and energy economics. He started his career at the Industrial Development Corporation, where he was a member of the team that supported the analytics underpinning the SA-EU Free Trade Agreements in the mid-1990s.  Martin has assisted the South African Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing (DAFF) since 2014 with various DSM-based studies on export opportunities for agricultural export product groups such as ‘Edible fruit and nuts’, ‘Vegetable and Juices’, the latest being the ‘International meat priority market’ study. Other relevant related studies include a base-line study of international export potential with specific focus on Crocodile leather and related products and Ostrich leather and related products for the Exotic Leather Cluster (SA) as well as determining EU-based Companies that are investing in the Agriculture and Agro-Processing Sectors in South Africa (for the United Nations Development Programme - UNDP).  In 2015 he was also appointed by the Director-General of the South African Department of Trade & Industry (the dti) as a member of the economic research advisory network (ERAN).


Sifiso Ntombela
Agbiz Head: International Trade and Investment
Sifiso is a trade economist who holds a master degree in agricultural economics from Stellenbosch University, where he also obtained his honours and bachelor degrees. He is currently completing his PhD in agricultural economics from the University of Pretoria, with his thesis titled the “A General Equilibrium Analysis of the Effect of Carbon Tax Policy on South Africa's Agricultural Industries”.  Sifiso started his career at the South African Table Grape Industry (SATI) as a market intelligence manager, after three years joined the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC) as a senior trade economist.  Sifiso’s research focuses on international trade and public policy and he has over 12 articles presented in local and international conferences, of which 5 have been converted and published as journal articles.

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