5 July 2017 – GFAR Secretariat proudly announces the appointment of our new Chair and Vice-Chair who will lead GFAR into its next phase.

Ms. Bongiwe N. Njobe from South Africa has been selected Chair of GFAR. She will be joined by Mr. Raffaele Maria Maiorano from Italy as Vice-Chair. Ms. Njobe and Mr. Maiorano were appointed to these positions by the GFAR Steering Committee at their meeting in June 2017 and take on the roles previously held by Dr. Juan Lucas Restrepo and the Honourable Professor Ruth Oniang'o. 

Ms. Bongiwe N. Njobe brings a wealth of professional and organizational leadership skills to the role of Chair. She is currently Executive Director and Founder of ZANAC Consulting – a strategy, management and policy practice consultancy, working in the agricultural and sustainability area. Ms. Njobe has over 30 years’ experience in agricultural policy practice, fast moving consumer goods and sustainable development in the public, private and non-governmental sector in Africa and at an international level. She has worked within the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), for the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) on the Science Agenda for Africa, women in finance and agriculture projects with the African Development Bank. She currently serves as a non-executive director on the boards of CIMMYT (International Maize and Wheat Research Institute), the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture, Kagiso Trust, Vumelana Advisory Fund, HORTGRO and Fruit South Africa. She is a member of the Institute of Directors (South Africa) – Sustainability Committee and a Director of several companies. She has served in several leadership positions in her career and on numerous boards and trusts in various capacities including as Chairperson of South African National Biodiversity Institute; member and Deputy Chairperson of the Board of Directors of National Business Initiative (South Africa); NonExecutive Director of The Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa Limited; and as Vice Chairperson of FARA. She holds a MSc Agric Eng. from the Agriculture University – Vassil Kolarov in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. As Director General at South Africa’s National Department of Agriculture (1997 – 2004) Njobe was responsible for the development of agricultural policy, related legislation, implementation of national agricultural development programs and oversight of several public entities such as the Agricultural Research Council, Perishable Products Export Control Board and the Land and Agricultural Bank of South Africa.

Mr. Maiorano is joining GFAR as Vice-Chair. He is currently the President of the National Young Farmers Association (ANGA) of Confagricolutra in Italy. Mr. Maiorano brings to this role a deep knowledge of analyzing trends and understanding the mechanisms behind agri-food systems as well as being fully aware of the concrete difficulties farmers face day to day. In his role as President of ANGA, he has successfully advocated for changes in agricultural policy at the European level through CEJA, the European Young Farmers Association and obtained important changes to the definition of “active farmer”. He has been instrumental in setting up a top up for young farmers in the first pillar of the Common Agriculture Policy for the first time in history. Mr. Maiorano has a Master’s degree in Financial Business from Luiss Guido Carli University (Rome, Italy)

The Partners in GFAR welcome the new appointments and look forward to working with the new Chair and Vice-Chair as GFAR develops and implements its next Medium Term Plan (2018-2021). Dr Mark Holderness, GFAR Executive Secretary, and the whole GFAR Secretariat staff also take this opportunity to express our thanks to the outgoing Chair and Vice-Chair, Dr. Juan Lucas Restrepo and the Honourable Professor Ruth Oniang'o, for their superb leadership and vision as GFAR has undertaken to transform itself, with the Partners, to be truly representative of the many, diverse voices in agri-food research and innovation. 

This announcement can be found in pdf version here

To watch a video interview with the Chair and Vice-Chair, click here

More information on GFAR's governance can be found here