Speakers ~ Financing Agriculture Forum 2013

Financing Agriculture Forum 2013

Speaker Profiles


CHANDULA ABEYWICKRAMA is Project Director at Hatton National Bank (HNB) in Sri Lanka which is the largest private sector commercial bank in Sri Lanka. He is also the Chairman of the Banking with the Poor Network (BWTP) which is the largest Asia based microfinance network having its secretariat in Singapore. In addition to the above positions he is also Chairman of Lanka Financial Services for Underserved Settlements (LFSUS), a joint venture between UNHABITAT and the Government of Sri Lanka to initiate a national programme for low income housing, and Splendor Media (Pvt) LtdMr Abeywickrema has earned leadership in microfinance in Sri Lanka as well as in Asia as an innovator and practitioner. He was appointed as  the Team Leader for micro finance for the Asian Bankers Association  in view of his wide knowledge and expertise.Recently he was  appointed as a member of Executive Advisory Board of YouthSave Consortium, USA and also serves in the Advisory Committee of the Youth Inclusive Financial Services, an initiative of the Washington based Makingcents International. Chandula also serves as an Independent Non Executive Director of Thaneakea Phum (Cambodia) Ltd, one of the largest microfinance institutions in Cambodia. He graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce (Special) Degree  from the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka.


MICHAEL ANDRADE is Senior Vice President and Business Head of Agriculture at HDFC Bank, India.  Previously, he worked for a couple of multinational banks, including Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank and Barclays Bank Plc.  With 22 years of banking experience, Michael has worked in rural markets since 2001.  He pioneered and developed the Business Correspondent model for agriculture finance through partnerships with cooperatives and companies working with farmers as an effective distribution tool.  He is a graduate in Science and has a post-graduate degree in Financial Management from Mumbai University.


HANS BALYAMUJURA, General Manager of Absa AgriBusiness – Africa, commenced his career at ABSA as the Northern Regional Manager for AgriBusiness, responsible for four provinces in South Africa.  Prior to working with ABSA, he was General Manager for Agriculture at TSB Sugar and Head of Emerging Agriculture at First National Bank.  Hans holds an MSc. In Agricultural Economics from the University of Pretoria and a PhD in Agricultural Economics (Marketing Tea for Uganda’s Smallholder Sector) from the University of the Free State.


CARLOS BUDAR is the Chief Operating Officer of Agrofinanzas. Before joining  Agrofinanzas in 2008, he was Chief Credit Officer  at FIRA. Previous to that, Carlos was CFO and head of the Risk Management Department also at FIRA. Carlos Budar began his professional career at Mexico´s Central Bank. He holds a BA in actuarial science from Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico and an MBA from the Stern School of Business at New York University, graduating both with honors



HANS BOGAARD currently heads the agribusiness advisory activities of Rabo Development. He has worked closely with multilaterals, such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.  In addition, he works with Rabo’s core customers, including the World Bank and International Finance Corporation, to improve supply chains (e.g. Cocoa project in the Ivory Coast with ECOM, Warehouse Receipt System in Ethipia (IFC), Coffee Rwanda/Ethiopia (CFC), and other projects).  Hans has become a leader in financing agri-processing projects in emerging markets.  He has also worked for Rabobank’s Mergers and Acquisition Team in London in the food and agribusiness sector, and was a Director for Rabo’s Trade and Commodity Finance Team in the Netherlands, responsible for the financing of activities in Central Eastern Europe and Central Asia.  He completed his studies in Agricultural Economics at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.


ROSS COLBERT is the Global Strategist for Beverages at Rabobank International, Research Division. Mr. Colbert is in its Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory (FAR) group based in New York. Mr. Colbert is responsible for developing FAR's research portfolio and Rabobank's global view toward the beverage sector. He joins Rabobank following an extensive career in the beverage industry. Most recently, Mr. Colbert was Managing Director of M&A Americas for Zenith International. Prior to that, he was Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer for eight years at Beverage Marketing Corporation. Mr. Colbert began his career at Coca-Cola Bottling of Miami, before moving to Beverage Canners International and Cadbury Schweppes. He has been a managing director of BMC/Haas Financial, and from September 1986 to September 1998, Mr. Colbert was the president and a member of the board of directors of Haas Financial, LLC. He advised several of the largest national and global beverage companies such as Nestlé, Cadbury, Schweppes, Heineken and PepsiCo, as well as privately-owned, middle-market companies in the beverage industry. He has been a Director of Eldorado Artseian Springs Inc., since February 8, 2007. Mr. Colbert holds a B.A. from University of Hawaii, an M.B.A. from University of New Haven and completed the Executive Program of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.


OMER F. DEMIRHAN is manager of agricultural marketing department for Yapı Kredi Bank of Turkey. He started his banking career as a portfolio manager in a branch. Then continued to work for state bank of agriculture for 4 years. He believes “laissez-faire” and competition to be proper way for a sustainable agricultural finance, which forwarded him to private retail banks. Since 2008, he has worked for two different private banks to establish Agricultural Banking business units. He developed various financial products for agricultural sectors, as well as organization models to serve these products to the sector efficiently. He also took a part in governmental projects for establishing a rural development plan in Turkey and harmonization of Turkey’s legislation to European Union’s agriculture for 3 years. Since 2011, he has leaded a project to establish a standard agricultural lending system for his bank, with assistance of EBRD and Frankfurt School, which believed to be a pioneer for private banks of Turkey.


GRAHAME DIXIE is Senior Agricultural Specialist for the World Bank, where he has been involved in developing a raft of new agricultural competitiveness projects in Nepal, Afghanistan, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. He is Chairperson of the World Bank's Rural Thematic Group for Rural Infrastructure Services, Markets and Rural Finance (RIMFI).Previously, Mr. Dixie was an independent consultant for 30 years, primarily working at the interface between international aid and the private sector. His clients included many of the international development agencies, e.g., World Bank, IFC, USAid, Swiss Development Corporation, EU, FAO, IFAD, among others, as well as private sector companies and major NGOs (TechnoServe, CARE). He has worked in over 65 countries, particularly in Africa (17 countries) and South Asia (7 countries). The focus of Mr. Dixie’s professional work has related to the increase of rural incomes through connections to, and the understanding of, markets and agribusiness. To achieve this, he has developed expertise in a range of techniques and approaches, including feasibility studies and investment appraisals, value chain studies, identification of market and investment opportunities, market linkage programs, marketing extension techniques, the use of ICT for market and agricultural information, development of internal and external trade, and contract farming. 


MIGUEL GALLO is the Marketing and Sales Director at Grupo Finterra. Mr. Gallo joined FinTerra in November 2003 as Business Development Director responsible for the origination of Finterra’s loan portfolio and supervision of the branch network. Mr. Gallo has worked in Mexico’s Agribusiness sector for over thirty years. Prior to joining Finterra, he was part of the senior management team in charge of creating Financiera Rural which is Mexico’s Federal Government bank focused on channeling financial resources to the Agribusiness and Rural sectors. Mr. Gallo worked for nine years (1993 – 2002) with Banamex (a wholly owned subsidiary of Citigroup) in Mexico where he was responsible for the bank’s Agribusiness operations.  Previous to working at Banamex, Mr. Gallo worked as field manager in four sugar cane mills, as a research assistant for the University of Kentucky´s Department of Agronomy and for CIMMYT (International Corn and Wheat Improvement Center) which belongs to the CGIAR Group. Mr. Gallo received a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Engineering from the ITESM and a Master of Science graduate degree from the University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture.


RAMESH IYER is Managing Director at Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services and CEO Financial Services Sector. Ramesh has been working with Mahindra Finance since 1995. Under Ramesh’s leadership, Mahindra Finance has hired a team of young managers to direct more than 9,000 employees in more than 500 branches spread across the country. Ramesh is a Commerce graduate and has an MBA from Mumbai University. He an alumnus of several management and leadership programs conducted in India, the US, France, and China by institutions like IIM, Bangalore, Michigan Business School, and Harvard Business School. Prior to joining Mahindra, Ramesh worked with Ashok Leyland Finance. Ramesh is a member of the Banking & Finance Committee of the Bombay Chamber of Commerce and Industry and of the core committee of the Finance Industry Development Council (FIDC) and the Taskforce of NBFCs of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).  He also serves as Co-Chairman of the Group on Finance & Leasing and Insurance of the Council of Economic Affairs, and helped set up the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).  He also serves on the boards of several Mahindra Group companies. Over the years, he has received several awards including the Udyog Rattan Award from the Institute of Economic Studies, New Delhi; the Rashtryia Udyog Pratibha Award from the Council for Economic Growth & Research, Pune; and the Bhartiya Udyog Ratna Award from the National Education & Human Resources Development Organization, Bombay.  In 2010, Business World named him in its special report on India’s Most Valuable CEOs.


FLORENCE KARIUKI is the Deputy Head of Agribusiness in Equity Bank. Before joining head office Florence, had worked extensively in rural Kenya managing complex farmer programs working with various players in the agricultural value chains. It is as a result of hard work and ability to coordinate programs that she has grown through the ranks in the bank. Florence was quite instrumental in the establishment of the now fully fledged agriculture lending structure in the bank. She has spearheaded and managed many strategic partnerships where she has gained enormous experience in handling innovative finance in agriculture. Florence has a BA degree and is a graduate of Certificate in Agriculture Finance under Kenya School of Monetary Studies. She is also trained in Agriculture and Community Banking through Lifelong Learning for farmers with field visits in India. Florence has attended many conferences and shared experience with many experts in innovative agricultural finance.

ERDAL KOCOGLU is a Project Manager at the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management. He started his career as an independent entrepreneur and joined the Frankfurt School in 2008. His work includes assignments focused on agricultural finance, credit guarantee schemes, business planning & financial modeling, and field studies. Erdal helped design and implement a system to evaluate the cost-revenue structure of agricultural enterprises to assist banks in making credit decisions. He also developed a value chain finance concept designed specifically for Turkey. Erdal holds M.Sc. Degree in European Business Law and is pursuing a PhD in Business Administration.         


ALLYN LAMB was the President and CEO of AgChoice Farm Credit for over 14 years. AgChoice has $1.5 billion in loan volume with over 8,000 customer-owners in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Prior to that, he served for 28 years in various leadership roles with Farm Credit East’s predecessor organizations. Mr. Lamb also served for eight years in lending positions in commercial banking. Mr. Lamb completed a USAID funded Farmer-to-Farmer project in Ghana in April 2013 through ACDI/VOCA. He is scheduled to do a cooperative development project in Nigeria in July 2013 with Winrock. He has also assisted the Nigerian Minister of Agriculture in his efforts to establish a new farm credit system. He has been invited to speak at a conference in Lagos in September on the evolution of the US Farm Credit System. Mr. Lamb is a graduate of Cornell University.


ROBERT PASCAL is Head of Agribusiness at National Microfinance Bank Plc (NMB) in Tanzania. He is responsible for the development and implementation of agriculture financing strategy, including the development of tailor-made agri-financing products for farmers and investors in agribusiness. Prior to joining NMB Plc, Robert served as Senior Relationship Manager Corporate (agriculture finance) at CRDB Bank Plc. He earned a BA and an MBA in International Banking and Finance from Birmingham Business School in the United Kingdom, and has attended seminars in Agribusiness at Harvard Business School.


ARVIND SONMALE is a career Banker having been in the industry for over 36 years. Born in Pune, India in July 1950, he completed his Bachelor’s in Civil Engineering in 1971. He started his banking career as a Probationary Officer in State Bank of India in July 1975. His 9 years with State Bank of India (SBI) took him through various areas of banking responsibilities including that of a Branch Manager of a SBI office in Panaji (Goa) and in SBI’s International Division at its apex Central Office in Mumbai. In 2004, he was the Chief General Manager of handling Corporate Finance and Recoveries in Exim Bank, Mumbai.  In December, 2004, Arvind Sonmale took over as Managing Director and CEO of Global Trade Finance Ltd. (GTF) promoted by Exim Bank with equity participation from IFC, Washington and FIM Bank, Malta. GTF was a leading finance company in India, which was actively engaged in Trade Finance aimed at the SME sector in India. He is currently the Managing Director & CEO of Sustainable Agro-commercial Finance Ltd. (SAFL) having its Head Office at Mumbai, India. SAFL is a NBFC promoted by Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd. with equity investment from IFC, Washington, and is focussed on extending finance to small and medium sized farmers in the rural and semi-urban geographies of India.


KASHIF UMAR THANVI is the General Manager and Head of Rural Finance, Habib Bank Limited, (HBL), Pakistan. Kashif's experience in the banking sector spans over a period of ten years. Before he joined HBL in 2007, he worked with Khushali Bank Limited and United Bank Limited. At HBL, Kashif is leading the transformation of bank's Rural Finance Division into a business model that is innovative, self-sustainable, and scalable. His active involvement with the Central Bank of Pakistan has led to multiple initiatives such as prudential regulations for agricultural credit, crop loan insurance scheme, agricultural credit target estimation, and guidelines for various agriculture sub-sectors.


MATT TRONIAK is the Technicial Adviser at the East African Agricultural Finance Network. He is a senior economic development, project / business management and finance specialist with more than 25 years of experience working with private and public sectors in emerging markets. In addition to running projects Mr. Troniak has hands on experience in conducting strategic planning, development, financing and administration of development projects as well as private sector projects and investments with a focus on Agricultural Development. He has held senior management positions (CEO, CFO, Managing Director, Director and Executive Director) in finance institutions such as banks, loan guarantee corporations, trust companies and MFIs, as well as government departments and private equity and venture capital funds. He assisted in implementing change management initiatives in USAID projects, SMEs, financial institutions focused on the delivery or expansion of dedicated MSME lending, agricultural lending and agricultural insurance programs, as well as bank down-scaling and investment banking programs (privatizations and IPOs). 


To review a list of speakers from the 2012 Forum, please click here.