© FAO/ Alessandra Benedetti

Project team

 Leslie Lipper (Project leader)

Leslie Lipper is a senior environmental economist in the agriculture and development economics division at FAO. She has worked there over the past seven years developing a programme of research on natural resource economics and poverty reduction. Leslie is the lead author of the FAO State of Food and Agriculture report 2007 focussing on paying farmers for environmental services.


 Conny Almekinders

Conny Almekinders graduated as crop physiologist at Wageningen University in 1983. From 1983 until 1989 she worked at the International Potato Center (CIP), Peru. Her work with the Development Research Institute (IVO) in Tilburg and the Centre for Genetic Resources, CPRO-DLO (the Dutch Gene bank) focused on farmers, the diversity of crop varieties and seeds. At present she works in the chairgroup of Technology and Agrarian Development, Department of Social Sciences, Wageningen University.


 C. Leigh Anderson

C. Leigh Anderson holds a Ph.D. in economics and is a Professor in the Daniel J. Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington in Seattle. She has also taught or been a visiting scholar at Carleton University in Canada; the University of California at Berkeley, USA; Lahore University of Management Sciences in Pakistan; Renmin University of China in Beijing; and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome.


 Patrick Audi

Patrick Audi is an Agricultural Economist with Msc from West Virginia University, USA. His Msc thesis topic was on “Productivity and adoption of new technologies in smallholder farms in semi-arid Machakos and Kitui Districts, Eastern Kenya”. From the 1980’s and 1990s he worked with Kenya Agricultural Research Institute based in Katumani, Machakos as socio-economist with responsibilities in Research-Extension Liaison and on-farm participatory research activities. Currently he is based in Nairobi and attached to ICRISAT’s Seed Systems Research initiatives in Eastern and Southern Africa.

 Mauricio R. Bellon

Mauricio R. Bellon is Programme Director, Diversity for Livelihoods Programme, at Bioversity International. He leads an applied research program supervising a multi-disciplinary scientific staff working across the globe in developing countries. His research has focused on the reasons, incentives and dynamics of crop diversity in agricultural systems in the developing world, with a particular emphasis on maize in Mexico; the use of participatory methods in the development of agricultural technologies relevant for the rural poor; and on the impacts of new agricultural technologies on farmers’ livelihoods.

 Romina Cavatassi

Romina Cavatassi holds a MSc in Environmental Economics and Assessment from the London School of Economics and is a PhD candidate at Wageningen University. She has worked with the Agricultural Sector in Economic Development Service of the Food and Agricultural Organization in Rome since 2001 on several aspects of natural resource economics and development. She is expert in survey design and data collection


 Timothy J. Dalton

Timothy J. Dalton is an Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Kansas State University. His research focuses on international agricultural development and on the interface between agriculture and the environment. He studies how new varieties of sorghum, rice and maize affect food productivity, production risk management, and nutrition as well as the impact of natural resource degradation—primarily soils and agricultural biodiversity—on agriculture and human well being.


 Jon Hellin

Jon Hellin works as a poverty and value chain specialist at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) based in Mexico. He has nineteen years’ agricultural research and rural development experience (including nine years’ field work) from Latin America, South Asia, East Africa and the Caribbean. He has a PhD in Geography from Oxford Brookes University where he is also an Honorary Research Associate, an MSc in Forestry and its Relation to Land Use and a BA in Modern History from Oxford University. 

 Richard Jones

Richard Jones is an agronomist by training with over 26 years of experience living and working in Africa. He obtained his PhD from Reading University in 1989 based on research into two different farming systems in Botswana. After that he accepted a postdoctoral fellowship with the Rockefeller Foundation in Malawi working with the Maize and Agroforestry Commodity Teams. In 1996 he joined the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) as a Technology Transfer Specialist based in Nairobi, Kenya and is now the Assistant Director for Eastern and Southern Africa.

 Alder Keleman

Alder Keleman is a Mickey Leland International Hunger fellow based at the Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, Italy. A graduate of Yale University, she holds an MA in International Relations and an MESc in Environmental Social Science. Her research has explored the impacts of social and economic change on the maintenance of crop diversity, focusing in particular on maize in Mexico.

 Oliver King

Oliver King is a trained botanist with a PhD on the Sacred forest systems in Kolli Hills of Eastern ghats in India. Over the last decade, he has worked extensively in the grassroots on various Natural resources with in tribal and agararian communities in Tamil Nadu. Currently at the M.S.Swaminthan Research Foundation, he facilitates project on Conservation and sustainable use of Landraces in participation with the Malayali Tribals at Kolli Hills, Tamil Nadu.

 Ibrahim S. Mohamed

Ibrahim S. Mohamed is a Plant Breeder by training with over 8 years working experience. He obtained his MSc in Crop Improvement (2008) from University of Nottingham. He has done morphological and molecular characterization of market and household pigeonpea germplasm. After graduating from Egerton (2000) he worked as Agronomist with coast development Authority in Kenya. Currently he is a research associate with ICRISAT.

 Latha Nagarajan

Latha Nagarajan joined the department of food, resources and agricultural economics at Rutgers, the state university of New Jersey in 2008 as Research Associate. At Rutgers, she is involved in studies on the economic impact of developing and spreading drought tolerant rice in Asian countries and the globalization of agricultural research and innovation by agricultural input industry. Until 2008 she was a post-doctoral research fellow at the International food policy research institute where she has been responsible for implementing projects on seed systems in India and Kenya. In addition, she has been involved in seed sector assessment in Niger with ICRISAT and on marketing underutilized plant species for the poor with the Bioversity International.

 Lina Salazar

Lina Salazar is an economist, PhD candidate in Economics from American University in Washington D.C. Her research interests are mainly focused on the areas of agricultural economics, gender economics, migration, project impact evaluation, credit and microfinance with a particular concentration in rural areas located in developing countries, particularly in Latin America.


 Melinda Smale

Melinda Smale has recently joined Oxfam America from the International Food Policy Research Institute, where she led a research program aimed at promoting the sustainable utilization of crop genetic resources in developing agriculture, initially as a joint program with Bioversity International in Rome, Italy. Her global research portfolio included work on economic impacts of agricultural biotechnology, valuation of agricultural biodiversity, local seed markets, and underutilized crops

 Joost Van Heerwaarden

Joost Van Heerwaarden is a population geneticists interested in crop diversity and evolution. He earned his PhD from Wageningen University based on research concerning the population genetics of Mexican maize landraces. His work combines molecular and quantitative genetic data with mathematical and computer models to understand the determinants of genetic structure in crop populations. Most of his projects have been in close collaboration with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). He is currently a post doctoral fellow at the Mexican Autonomous University

 Paul Winters

Paul Winters is an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at American University in Washington, DC. Previously, he was an Agricultural Economist at the Inter-American Development Bank, Visiting Expert at the Food and Agriculture Organization, Lecturer at the University of New England in Australia, and Rockefeller Foudation Research Fellow at the International Potato Center in Lima, Peru.