Appointment to the Policy Advisory Council for international agricultural research

  • Media release
16 December 2021

Today I announce the appointment of three leading experts to the Policy Advisory Council for international agricultural research.

The Council assists the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research in the planning and implementation of its research portfolio to improve food security and reduce poverty throughout our region.

The Council is made up of 12 members from across the Indo-Pacific and gives a valuable insight into the development priorities of countries throughout the region and how Australia's expertise in agricultural research can contribute to these priorities through research collaborations.

The three new appointees—Dr Rachel Chikwamba from Zimbabwe, Dr Surmsuk Salakpetch from Thailand and Mr Sunny Verghese from Singapore—join the nine existing Council members from Australia, Vietnam, Pacific Islands, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines.

Dr Rachel Chikwamba is a Group Executive for The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in South Africa and will be able to provide scientific guidance and leadership to the Council based on her deep science-in-agriculture background.

Dr Surmsuk Salakpetch was most recently Director-General of the Thailand Department of Agriculture and will be able to advise the Council from both a research and management perspective.

Mr Sunny Verghese is Co-founder & Group CEO of Olam International Limited and Chairman, World Business Council for Sustainable Development. He has a wealth of experience in agribusiness and global food chain systems and markets that will be invaluable to the Council.

I welcome the new Council members and look forward to hearing their insights on how Australia can further our agricultural research efforts to strengthen food security in our region and help our regional neighbours recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to the three new members, the appointment of existing Policy Advisory Council member Dr Nguyen Van Bo of Vietnam has been extended until 2024.

I thank departing Policy Advisory Council member Dr Sar Chetra from Cambodia for his contribution to the Council since 2016.

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