Digital Agriculture Transformation Seminar


Andrea Ferrante
President, Associazione Italiana Agricoltura Biologica, Member of the European Coordination of Via Campesina, Italy

Andrea Ferrante is an agroecologist and freelance consultant on agricultural policies and agroecology. Mr Ferrante has over 20 years’ experience in international food and agriculture policy development and rural development. He has extensive experience in working with and supporting small-scale food producing organizations globally, including in policy processes at national, regional and international level. Additionally, Mr Ferrante has 20 years’ experience in running an organic family farm and actually member of a Bio social coop running a farm in Viterbo province (Italy). He is the Coordinator of the Schola Campesina Aps, International agroecology school based in the Biodistretto della Via Amerina e delle Forre (Civita Castellana, Viterbo, Italy).

Roberto Ridolfi
Assistant-Director-General, Programme Support and Technical Cooperation Department (PS), FAO

Dr Roberto Ridolfi is the Assistant-Director-General for Programme Support and Technical Cooperation at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). He was previously the Director of the European Commission for Sustainable Growth and Development at DG for International Cooperation and Development. Twice Ambassador/ Head of delegation to the European Union, Mr Ridolfi was first in Suva where he served from 2005 to 2007. There, he was in charge of all the relations of the European Union with 15 Pacific countries and territories. In 2010 he was appointed in Uganda by the High Representative for Foreign Policy of the EU where he served till September 2013. In between, during his duty as head of unit of Europe Aid, he managed programmes dealing with Environment and Climate Change, Food security, Human development, migration and asylum as well as the One-Billion-Euro Food Facility in 50 countries. Director R. Ridolfi joined the European Commission in 1994 and worked in several delegations of the UNION: Malawi, Namibia and Kosovo as development and economic advisor. Throughout Accession negotiations (2001-2004), he was the principal coordinator dealing with Environment and Transport in Public-Private-Partnerships (PPP). Dr Ridolfi holds a MSc in Engineering, an MBA and a PhD in A. Technology.

Kip Tom
Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the United States of America to FAO, IFAD and WFP, United States

Kip Tom is the United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture in Rome, with the Rank of Ambassador. Ambassador Tom was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on April 11, 2019. Ambassador Tom is an agribusiness leader who transformed a seventh-generation farm into one of the largest commodity businesses in the Midwestern United States, while launching international operations and deploying new technologies. Ambassador Tom served as a member of the board of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. He is involved in several philanthropic organizations focusing on food security and development issues domestically and globally. He has served as a trustee of the National 4-H Foundation and a member of the National Future Farmers of America Foundation Board of Directors. Ambassador Tom holds an advanced management certificate from Texas A&M in agriculture economics.

Srinivasu Pappula
Global Head, Digital Farming Initiatives, Tata Consultancy Services, India

Dr. Srini Pappula is currently Global Head of the Digital Farming Initiatives Group in Tata Consultancy Services, where he is responsible for driving the usage of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for improving farmer livelihoods across the world through the creation of rural nuclei of growth called PRIDE (Progressive Rural Integrated Digital Enterprises). His ambition is to create technology-powered avatars of the Gandhian Gram Swarajya, thereby fostering village-level self-sufficiency, employment, innovation and growth, and making farming a profitable profession.

With over 28 years of experience, Srini possesses a varied experience in the technology sector having previously worked as a Senior Product Leader and General Manager at Intel Corp. in California, leading teams working on high end microprocessers and graphics chipsets, and as the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of a couple of successful start-ups in the Wireless Security space in the Silicon Valley, California.

Srini’s passion is leveraging technology, especially the Digital Five Forces of Social Networks, Mobility, Could, Big Data & Analytics, an dIoT, and management principles for solving problems and positively transforming the lives of people at the bottom of the pyramid, particularly in the areas of Agriculture, Healthcare and Education.

Bernard Yvetot
Vice-President, International

Bernard Yvetot, currently Vice-President international strategy at Orange Group Strategy division, is in charge of coordinating Orange Group relations with Development Financial Institutions (DFI) and partnerships with Asian Telcos.

He has previously held several positions in the French Ministry of Economy in Paris and abroad. He has been deputy Economic Counsellor at the French Embassy in Beijing and Economic Counsellor in Tokyo back in the 80’s. After 1992, he has joined the Foreign Investment Promotion division of the French Ministry of Economy, taking part in the creation of the Invest in France Agency in 2001 where he held the position of Executive Vice-President till 2006. He then worked for the French National Agency for Industrial Innovation before joining Orange in 2008.

Francesco Iervolino
Partner, Deloitte Officine Innovazione, Italy
Francesco is a Partner at Deloitte Officine Innovazione. With more than 15 years of experience in strategy and innovation consultancy, Francesco served for a wide range of industries/sectors (e.g. Food & Retail, Financial Services, Life Sciences and Healthcare, Industrial Products) for national and international players mostly in the private sector. He is also part of the Innovation leadership team of Deloitte North & South Europe.
Arnì M. Mathiesen
Assistant Director-General, Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, FAO

Mr Árni M. Mathiesen, Assistant Director-General of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), holds a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery degree from the University of Edinburgh, U.K. and an MSc in Aquatic Veterinary Science from the University of Stirling, U.K. After completing his studies, he worked as a veterinarian, specializing in fish diseases for ten years and was also the Managing Director of an aquaculture firm.

Mr Mathiesen was a member of the Board of the Icelandic Veterinary Association from 1986 to 1987 as well as the Chairman of the Council for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals from 1994 to 1999. From 1990 to 1994, he was a member of the Board of the Guarantee Division of Aquaculture Loans and, from 1994 to 1998, a member of the Board of the Agricultural Bank of Iceland and of the Agricultural Loan Fund. In 1991, Mr Mathiesen was elected to the Icelandic Parliament and served as Minister for Fisheries from May 1999 to September 2005 and, subsequently, as Minister for Finance until February 2009.

Before joining FAO in 2010, was a consultant for the Confederation of Icelandic Employers as well as working in a general veterinary practice in Iceland.

Engel Hessel
Commissioner for Digitalisation and Director for Digital Innovation at the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Germany

Engel Hessel is Commissioner for Digitalisation and Director for Digital Innovation at the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture and Professor for Digital Agriculture at the Technical University of Braunschweig. She studied Agriculture at the Kiel University and worked at the Universities of Kiel and Göttingen. In 2017, she became Director of the Thünen Institute of Agricultural Technology.

Song Wang
Division Director of Department of Market and Informatization, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, P.R. China
Song Wang is now the Division Director of Department of Market and Informatization, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs. In recent years, he devotes himself to agriculture and rural informatization. He also focuses on promoting ‘internet plus’ modern agriculture, E-commerce of agriculture and rural, big data and construction of integrated information services.
Bernhard Kowatsch
Head, Innovation Accelerator, United Nations World Food Programme
Bernhard Kowatsch is Head of the Innovation Accelerator at the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP). The Accelerator identifies, nurtures and scales disruptive startups and entrepreneurs that accelerate progress towards zero hunger. Innovations include fintech (e.g. blockchain), agri-tech, supply chain and technology (e.g. Artificial Intelligence) innovations. The Accelerator received an award as one of the '10 Most Innovative Companies 2017- Food' by FastCompany. Previously, Bernhard co-founded the award-winning ShareTheMeal app (SXSW Interactive innovation award 2016, MWC Glomo award winner.), built up WFP’s Business Innovation team and worked as Project Leader at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) for global tech and industrial goods companies.
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