November 3, 2011 – MUSCLE SHOALS, Alabama, United States – The Board of Advisors of the Virtual Fertilizer Research Center (VFRC) met October 30-31, 2011, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The 14-member Board represents a broad spectrum of international experts in the fields of agriculture, fertilizer, food security, sustainable development, soil science and international philanthropy.
The VFRC is a new IFDC initiative to foster the development and commercialization of the next generation of fertilizers and production technologies to help feed the world’s growing population and provide sustainable food security. The VFRC is conceived as a global solution to a global problem and will comprise the work of multiple research institutions and business entities cooperating to advance a unified technology improvement agenda for fertilizers.
It is expected that the VFRC’s global mission will be endorsed and supported financially by multiple international donors. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) recently provided a second round of VFRC funding.
Major outcomes of the meeting include the re-appointment of the Board of Advisors; the appointment of the Executive, Science and Commercialization committees; and the appointment of Sanjib Choudhuri as executive director of the VFRC. At the meeting, the Board of Advisors also reviewed a preliminary program of new technology development priorities.
The Executive Committee is chaired by Dr. Jimmy Cheek. Dr. Rudy Rabbinge serves as the vice-chair. Other members include Mark Huisenga, Peter McPherson, Prof. Ruth Oniang’o, Dr. Juergen Voegele and Dr. Prem Warrior.
The Science Committee is chaired by Rabbinge, and also includes Dr. Marco Ferroni, Dr. Renfang Shen and Ajay Vashee. The Commercialization Committee is chaired by Warrior, and also includes Mark Huisenga, Assétou Kanouté and Luc Maene.
Choudhuri will lead a small VFRC team based in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the VFRC, he was senior vice-president for global strategy, marketing and business development at JohnsonDiversey, a $3 billion global developer and supplier of specialty cleaning and hygiene chemicals and systems for institutional facilities and food and beverage production plants. He also held senior positions at DiverseyLever, Molson Companies, McKinsey & Company and Procter & Gamble.
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