Executive: Economic Impact & Partnerships (South Africa)
Dr. Thulasizwe Mkhabela is a Group
Executive: Economic Impact & Partnerships and Senior Lecturer
Extraordinaire at Stellenbosch University. He started his journey with the
Agricultural Research Council (ARC) on the 18th June 2018. Before
joining the ARC, Dr. Mkhabela was Acting CEO at the AgriBusiness Development
Agency (ADA) in KwaZulu-Natal and also occupying as Chief Operations Officer.
Prior positions were Managing Director at Outcome Mapping, Senior Researcher at
the National Agricultural Marketing Council, Lecturer at Stellenbosch University
and Senior Researcher, Soil Science at the Department of Agriculture in
KwaZulu-Natal. Dr. Mkhabela holds a PhD Agric.
Agricultural Economics degree from Stellenbosch University.
CREA (Italy)New approaches and innovations for sustainable local food chain
Researcher at Engineering and
agro-food processing sector for 30 years. He had national and international
(ex. CIGR board member) assignments, scientific communication, educational
activities (PhD), project evaluator (also UE) and he had coordinated and
participated to many national, international and private projects. His research
interests principally concerned digital engineering technology applications and
numerical methodologies in biosystems, agro-food and agro-environmental systems
(ICT, imaging, RFiD, spectrometry, proximal sensing, thermography, inferential
or predictive multivariate modelling, open source electronic and software),
particularly related to applications for digital and precision agriculture. He published more than 350 scientific articles (h-index=23).
World Food Programme (Italy)Strengthening social and human capital
Since August 2015, Azzurra Chiarini is the
Global Coordinator of the Joint Programme of FAO, IFAD, WFP and UN Women on
“Accelerating Progress towards the Economic Empowerment of Rural Women”,
implemented in seven countries. The programme tries to give a holistic response
to the multiple challenges rural women face in their daily lives. Before
joining WFP, Ms Chiarini lived for six years in West Africa where she started
to work on gender equality and women's empowerment programs, with a specific
focus on the fundamental role of women in poverty reduction and conflict
prevention. In 2013-2015, Ms Chiarini was the Gender Advisor of the Italian
Embassy in Afghanistan, where she led the renewed commitment of Italy in the
sector of gender equality, with programmes in areas as sexual and reproductive
rights, fight to GBV, access to justice and to education, and women’s economic
empowerment. As a recognition for her work to promote gender equality, in March
2017 she was awarded by the Italian President in the framework of the
celebration of the International Women’s Day. Ms Chiarini graduated with
honours in Political Science at the University of Perugia, specializing in
ARC-Vegetable and Ornamental Plants (South Africa)New approaches and innovations for sustainable local food chain
Dr Mokgehle is a researcher at the Agricultural Research Council -
Vegetable and Ornamental Plants (ARC-VOP). Her research focuses on water
management, phytochemical profiling of medicinal plants, essential oils
analysis and nutritional water productivity of indigenous leafy vegetables. The
research has implications for indigenous plants production and conservation
especially for endangered indigenous species. Dr Mokgehle’ s research can help to
promote indigenous knowledge and adoption of the plants due to high
micronutrients including iron, zinc, vitamins A and C. Dr Mokgehle shared her
research findings with several scientific communities, published in
peer-reviewed journals, is contributing in training postgraduate students.
ARC-Vegetable and Ornamental Plants (South Africa)Cooperation between farmers and community
Erika van den Heever is a senior researcher in
Vegetables and technology transfer in the Agricultural Research Council (ARC).
She holds an MSc Agric from the University of Free State, Bloemfontein. She leads a group of researchers and facilitators who
is responsible for accredited training in vegetable production that leads
especially small scale farmers and gardeners in a direction of a success and
vegetable production. She leads community development projects in all provinces
and see that it develops and produce vegetables. I am
heading the technology transfer unit at ARC – VOP and deals with the different
client regarding training to be offered to extension officers, farmers and
CREA (Italy)Cooperation between farmers and community
Holds a degree in Agricultural Sciences (Torino, 1999) and got a
Doctoral Degree in Agricultural Economics (Torino, 2011). She is a researcher at
Council for Agricultural Research and Economics – Research Centre of Agricultural
Policies and Bioeconomy since 2001.
She is engaged in research projects in the field of agricultural
economics and rural area. The focus of the research is the farm; the analyses
are aimed at assessing economic and social sustainability of the farm with a
special interest on multifunctionality of the farm including social farming.
Current research interests embrace also the assessment, the implementation and
the evaluation of rural development policies. She has a great experience in
analysis using FADN data (Farm Accountancy Data Network).
CREA (Italy)Towards a new agricultural and economic paradigm
Vanni is an agricultural economist currently working as senior researcher at CREA
- Centre of Agricultural Policies and Bio-economy (Rome, Italy). Francesco is
involved in a broad range of research and evaluation projects in the field of agricultural
and rural development policies, with a special focus on environmental
governance and on policies that secure public goods from agriculture. His main
research interests include the integration of sustainability into farming
production processes, agroecology, the structural evolution of farming sector
and CAP reform, with a special interest on agri-environmental policies. The
most recent research projects in which Francesco has been involved are: the
H2020 EU research project UNISECO – Understanding & improving the
sustainability of agro-ecological farming systems in the EU (2018-2021) and the
H2020 EU research project PEGASUS – Public ecosystem goods and services from
land management – unlocking the synergies (2015-2018). Francesco Vanni holds a degree
(Msc) in Agricultural Sciences and Technologies (Pisa, Italy - 2002), a
master’s degree in Sustainability, Planning and Environmental Policy (Cardiff, UK
- 2006) and a PhD in International Cooperation and Sustainable Development
Policies (Bologna, Italy - 2012).
CREA (Italy)Social farming for inclusion of vulnerable people
Giarè is senior researcher at CREA - Research Centre for Agricultural Policies
and Bioeconomy and Contract Professor on Social farming at Tor Vergata
University and on Agricultural policy at Roma Tre University.
in Rome, in La Sapienza University (degree in philosophy) and Roma Tre
University (master in Methodology of social science and Phd in Education).
been involved in scientific research since 1997, following four main research
1. the Agricultural
Knowledge and Innovation System (AKIS) and its implications on agricultural
productivity and sustainability.
agricultural policies, in particular regarding peri-urban and urban
agriculture, innovation policies, cooperative and interactive strategies to
improve rural agricultural systems (i.e Leader approach).
social and cultural factors that influence economic development at local/rural
level (drivers and obstacles).
agriculture both for the inclusion of vulnerable people in agricultural
activities and for the improvement of social capital at local level (policies,
land use, products).
activity regards food waste, food policy, role of small farming in rural
development and in food security.
topics she publishes monographs and contributions, takes part in seminars and
lectures, supports national and regional administrations.
South African Urban Food and Farming Trust (South Africa)Strengthening social and human capital
Kurt Ackermann works through urban agriculture to build more resilient communities. He is co-founder and general manager of the Oranjezicht City Farm and founding trustee of the South African Urban Food & Farming Trust, which supports collaborative urban food gardens, social farms and markets to build social cohesion and collective agency within and across divided urban communities. He is an associate in the Global Risk Governance Programme at the University of Cape Town where focus is on ways social urban agriculture changes the dynamics of resource use, social cohesion and community safety. Kurt currently serves on the boards of several non-profits in education, health and human rights, enjoying the hands-on work of building community-based, volunteer-driven organisations.
Agricoltura Capodarco (Italy)Cooperation between farmers and community
since 2007 works closely with the founder of the “Capodarco Community” don
Franco Monterubbianesi and “Agricoltura Capodarco” agricultural social
cooperative, founded in 1978 and among the first experiences of social
agriculture in Italy.
was the former speaker of the Social Farming National Forum, a community of
practices which gathered at the national and regional levels hundreds of farms,
social cooperatives, associations, schools, universities, get involved with
institutions at all levels from local to European.
has held several lectures on the Italian model of “social agriculture and
Welfare” in Italy, in Europe and the United States. Among them the
International Conference of SF organised by the Ministry of Agriculture in
Czech Republic 2019, the International Conference on Disability organised by Edizioni
Centro Studi Erickson 2019. Today she is member of the board of Social Farming
National Forum, member of the National Observatory for SF in Italy established
by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture according to the National Law 141/2015
“Provisions on social agriculture” and head of international project for
Agricoltura Capodarco. She held training for farmers and social workers about
the working and social inclusion of vulnerable people in agriculture.