Tropentag 2018:

Global food security and food safety: The role of universities

September 17 - 19, 2018,
organised by
Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium

Plenary Session addresses

Alexander de CrooAlexander de Croo
Deputy Prime Minsiter of Belgium and
Minister of Development Cooperation, Digital Agenda, Telecom and Postal Services
As Minister of Development Cooperation, he focuses on strengthening human rights and promoting local economic growth in the partner countries.


Patrick van Damme, UGent, foto Hilde ChristiaensPatrick van Damme
Head of the organising committee of Tropentag 2018
Professor at the Department of Plants and Crops, Ghent University
The laboratory headed by Patrick van Damme, Laboratory of Tropical and Subtropical Agronomy and Ethnobotany, focus on applied research that bridges the gap between academic research and its application by governments, NGOs, and other actors in rural development in tropical and subtropical countries. The laboratory also lectures and provides practical training for Bio-Engineers of the faculty, specialising in Agricultural Sciences and Land and Forest Management. Outside the faculty, courses in Agricultural Development are lectured to students of the Master in Development Co-operation and to students of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. Prof. Van Damme also lectures at the Catholic University of Leuven (KUL), the Institute of Tropical Medicine (Antwerp) and at the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Czech Republic.
Since 2009, Patrick Van Damme is also chairman of the Centre for Sustainable Development (CDO) (UGENT)

Geert HaesaertGeert Haesaert
Departmental Administrator, Internationalization Services of the Faculty Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University


Mieke van HerrewegheMieke van Herreweghe
Vice-Rector of Ghent University
Professor Mieke van Herreweghe has been vice-rector of Ghent University since 1 October 2017.


Guido Van Huylenbroeck; Copyright: UGent, foto Hilde ChristiaensGuido van Huylenbroeck
Ghent University, Director for Internationalisation
The Director for Internationalisation sees to the development and implementation of the Integrated Policy Plan for Internationalisation and presides the main advisory board, i.e. Expert Group, on Internationalisation and the specific thematic working groups, as well as the Commission on Development Cooperation (COS) and the Interfaculty Resonance Group for Internationalisation (IFRI).


Keynote speakers

Ramon L. EspinelRamon L. Espinel
Professor /& Dean, Facultad de Ciencias de la Vida, Guayaquil, Ecuador
Ramon Espinel is currently the Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences in ESPOL University, associate Professor at the University of Florida, and Representative of the Republic of Ecuador to the Board of the International Monetary Fund. He has served as Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, and as President of FINAGRO (Banco del Agro). He is an expert in Environmental Sciences, Agricultural Economics, Food Security and Rural Development Agroecology and Agriculture.

Bernhard FreyerBernhard Freyer
University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria
Univ. Prof. Dr. Bernhard Freyer heads the Division of Organic Farming as well as the working group of Transdsciplinary Systems Research at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna and has been a Senior Fellow at the University of Minnesota in the US since 2011. His research focuses on social systems theory and societal change within the context of organic agriculture and low input systems. His most recent research is on the sustainability of monasteries, farmer-consumer partnerships, ethics in the organic agrofood system, consumer behavior, climate change and smallholder farmer systems. He has organized and has headed several national and international research projects, is guiding PhD and master thesis since more than 25 years and offers lectures in a broad field of topics within organic agriculture, methods and theories in social sciences. Further more he is reviewer in several journals in the field of social sciences, ethics and ecology.

Emile FrisonEmile Frison
International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food), Orvieto, Italy
Emile Frison is an expert on conservation and agricultural biodiversity who has headed global research-for-development organisation Bioversity International for ten years, after holding top positions at several global research institutes. Emile Frison, a Belgian national, obtained an MSc in Agricultural Sciences from the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium and a PhD in Agricultural Science from the University of Gembloux in Belgium. He has spent most of his career in international agricultural research for development, starting as a researcher at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Nigeria in 1979, and working in Mauritania for USAID. He joined the International Board for Plant Genetic Resources in 1987 and became Regional Director for Europe of the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute in 1992. He became the Director of the International Network for the Improvement of Banana and Plantain (INIBAP) in 1995 and Director General of Bioversity International in 2003. He is currently the Chair of the International Scientific Committee on Sustainable Food Systems of the Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation. His areas of expertise include the conservation and use of agricultural biodiversity. He has a particular interest in sustainable food systems and the deployment of agricultural biodiversity to improve nutrition and the resilience and sustainability of agricultural systems.

John McDermott John McDermott
Director, CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH), IFPRI-Washington, USA
John McDermott joined IFPRI in 2011 to lead the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH), led by IFPRI. Previously he was Deputy Director General and Director of Research at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nairobi from 2003-2011. John has lived and worked in Africa for 25 years. As a researcher, John’s research career has focused on public health, animal health and livestock research in developing countries, primarily Africa. He has led projects on zoonotic and emerging diseases in Asia and Africa. John has a strong background in quantitative methods (modeling, study design, statistics). He has earned a PhD in quantitative epidemiology from the University of Guelph, a Masters Degree in Preventive Veterinary Medicine from the University of California – Davis, and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Guelph. During his research career, John authored or co-authored 200 peer-reviewed publications, book chapters and conference papers and has advised over 30 post-graduate students, including 20 PhD graduates. He was a visiting Lecturer at the University of Nairobi and a Professor at the University of Guelph. He has also served as an advisor to FAO, WHO, OIE, and other international agencies, served as a non-executive Director of the Global Alliance for Livestock Vaccines and Medicine (GALVmed), and as a member of the advisory committee of Veterinarians with Borders in Canada.

Francois StepmanFrancois Stepman
Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development (PAEPARD), Brussels, Belgium
PAEPARD aims to facilitate multi-stakeholder Africa-Europe partnerships in the field of agricultural research for development (ARD) with a view to contributing to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) since September 2015 have become Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Since 2010, PAEPARD has been working to promote new innovation processes through partnerships Multi-actors and mediation work between research organizations, NGOs, peasant organizations And the private sector. This process allows new projects to emerge or bring added value To existing projects in different sectors.
Francois Stepman is working since 2010 as European co-manager at PAEPARD.

Anthony WhitbreadAnthony Whitbread
International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)
Research Program Director - Innovation Systems for the Drylands, Hyderabad, India
Anthony Whitbread is the Research Program Director for Innovation Systems for the Drylands (ISD), International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), based in Hyderabad, India. With a PhD from the University of New England in Soil Science and Agronomy, Dr Whitbread leads a team of 30+ scientists across south Asia and sub-Saharan Africa in an innovation systems mode devising strategies to manage climatic risk, soil fertility and identifying market led development opportunities. This role was preceded by a 20 year research career in the crop-livestock systems of semi-arid Australia, SE Asia and Southern Africa. His team based work has received recognition with the “2006 CSIRO Learning Culture Award” and the 2013 CSIRO team medal for ‘Impact from Science’. In 2011, he became full Professor (W3) of Crop Production Systems in the Tropics at the Georg-August-Universität in Göttingen, Germany combining his passions of teaching and applied research. He has published widely with more than 55 journal articles, a H-index of 21 and citations exceeding 2400. His specialisations are: Agronomy and soil science, farm systems analysis, crop modelling, climate risk management, spatial analysis