Governance & Leadership

Dr. Maria Isabel Andrade

Board Member

Dr. Maria Isabel Andrade, a co-recipient of the 2016 World Food Prize, has 30 years of working experience in Africa.  Her research interests include technology transfer, breeding seed systems and the amelioration of value chains for income-generation. Maria, from Cape Verde, has spent the last 21 years working in Mozambique. The first 10 of these, she served as a regional cassava and sweetpotato agronomist for the Southern Africa Root Crop Research Network, a program run conjointly by the International Potato Center (CIP) and International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA). From 2002-2006 she coordinated a five year IITA/CIP project on Accelerated Multiplication and Distribution of Healthy Planting Materials of the Best High Yielding Varieties of Cassava and Sweetpotato.  Over one million farmers received improved planting material under this project in 98 of the 141 districts of the country with Maria collaborating with 124 partners to achieve this objective.

In 2006, she joined CIP to manage the SASHA Southern Africa Sweetpotato Support Platform bringing together sweetpotato breeders from Malawi, Zambia, South Africa, Madagascar, Mozambique and Angola, with a research emphasis on breeding drought-tolerant sweetpotato varieties. She has released 30 bio-fortified sweetpotato varieties of which 20 are drought tolerant. The Mozambican government recognizes bio-fortified sweetpotato as a food and nutrition security crop. These drought tolerant varieties have reached more than half a million farmers who have adopted them and are making profits selling the roots and vines. Maria is highly skilled in training other breeders, facilitating knowledge sharing and constructing communications platforms to heighten the visibility and impact of sweetpotato in Sub-Saharan Africa to reduce Vitamin A deficiency and improve markets and crop production.

Today, Maria serves as CIP’s country manager in Mozambique, over and above her scientific leadership role. Maria served as the vice president for fund raising for the International Society for Tropical Root Crops (ISTRC) global for five years. Key recognitions for her sweetpotato breeding work include: 2016 World Food Prize co-laureate and 2017 Swaminathan Award for Environmental Protection.

Blog Posts

Major Deals to Accelerate Africa’s Path to Prosperity through Agriculture Agreed at World’s Foremost Gathering of African Agriculture Leaders

Close to US$6.5 billion worth of investments in palm oil, pulses, potato and rice, mainly in West Africa, over the next eight years, were made and the new US$280 million Partnership for Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa (PIATA) launched Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, Friday 8 September 2017 – Africa’s economic growth prospects received a major boost this

Seeds, Not Diamonds, Will Make Africa Great

As I settle back in my homeland Nigeria since retiring as the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in March this year, I am reminded of a local saying that when you go to the stream to fetch water, your bucket will only be filled with the water that is yours. No one can

Agribusinesses and African Smallholders Seize $1 Trillion Food Market as Meals Replace Minerals to Restart African Economic Growth, New Report

 Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, 5 September 2017 – The power of entrepreneurs and the free market is driving Africa’s economic growth from food production, as business wakes up to opportunities of a rapidly growing food market in Africa, that may be worth more than $1 trillion each year by 2030 to substitute imports with high value food


Josette Sheeran

Co-Chair, Finance & Human Resources Committee

Usha Barwale Zehr

Chair, Audit Committee

Judith Rodin

Chair, Nominations and Governance Committee

Joachim von Braun

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Frank N. J. Braeken

Board Member

Rodger Voorhies

Co-Chair, Programs Committee

Adam Gerstenmier

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Dr Joe DeVries

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Sean de Cleene

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Dr. Lindiwe Majele

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Boaz Keizire

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Elizabeth Chemengen Titoo

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Fadel Ndiame

Regional Head, West Africa

Anne Mbaabu

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Dr Richard Jones

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Hilary Tororey

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Dr Rebbie Harawa

Head of Soil Fertility & Fertilizer Systems