Washington D.C., August 8, 2016 –HarvestPlus today announced the appointment of Beverley (Bev) Postma as HarvestPlus’ new Chief Executive Officer. In this role, Postma will lead HarvestPlus in strategy development and implementation, partner outreach and engagement, resource mobilization, and thought leadership. She succeeds Dr. Howarth Bouis, the founder of HarvestPlus and a 2016 World Food Prize laureate.
HarvestPlus, a joint venture created by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in 2003, improves nutrition and public health by developing and promoting biofortified food crops that are rich in vitamins and minerals, and provides global leadership on biofortification evidence and technology. Approximately 20 million people in low-income farming households in 30 countries around the world are now growing and eating these nutritious staple foods, including cassava, maize and sweet potato enriched with vitamin A; beans and pearl millet enriched with iron; and rice and wheat enriched with zinc. Testing of biofortified varieties is underway in an additional 25 countries.
“We are extremely fortunate to have recruited Beverley Postma as the new CEO of HarvestPlus,” said Dr. Shenggen Fan, the Director General of the International Food Policy Research Institute. “She is a highly qualified candidate with a strong and varied background and a passion for uniting nutrition and agriculture to benefit millions of vulnerable people around the world. We are excited to have her leadership as HarvestPlus progresses to its next phase.” Dr. Ruben Echeverría, Director General of the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, said “Beverley’s international experience and her familiarity with food issues, innovation and multi-stakeholder partnerships are important assets for HarvestPlus and the global biofortification movement.”
Postma has 25 years of experience as a policy expert in international food systems, nutrition and food security. She comes to HarvestPlus after six years as founder and Executive Director of Singapore-based Food Industry Asia (FIA), a successful non-profit regional platform tackling food security, nutrition and regulatory harmonization. FIA is known for fostering non-competitive dialogue and forging multi-sectoral partnerships between the major food companies and public sector affiliations, including the World Bank, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Health Organization, and the regional trade bodies, APEC and ASEAN. Postma was a founding partner of the Global Food Safety Partnership (GFSP) convened by the World Bank and a founding member of the Asia Roundtable on Food Innovation for Improved Nutrition (ARoFIIN). She was also the recipient of 2015 prestigious Gold Standard Award for Professional Excellence.
Postma is joining HarvestPlus at a critical time in the expansion of biofortification globally. “I am honored to join the team at HarvestPlus as it scales up its work to achieve the essential goal of reaching 1 billion people with biofortified food by 2030,” Postma stated. “Hidden hunger is a shocking and unacceptable reality for millions of families, around the world and HarvestPlus offers both the leadership and convening power to deliver this promising innovation to those who need it most. I am looking forward to working with the many donors, staff and research teams at HarvestPlus as we team up with other stakeholders in the public and private domains to overcome hidden hunger by 2030 and be part of delivering one of the most pressing components of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”
Postma’s experience with food and agriculture stems from her childhood growing up in a farming community in the UK. After completing a Bachelor’s degree in marine biology, she spent 3 years as a PhD Research Assistant with the University of Liverpool before accepting a Technical Development role with the Isle of Man Milk Marketing Board. This led to eight years with the UK National Farmers’ Union, including regional advocacy roles in the UK and Brussels. During that time, she was a prominent spokesperson for complex trade policies and agriculture negotiations in the European Union. Thereafter, Postma spent four years with Kellogg’s in Europe, and Syngenta in Asia. At Syngenta, she worked with regional and country leadership teams in Southeast Asia to support social, environmental and economic benefits of crop protection and seed technology. This included the promotion of integrated food security initiatives with multiple stakeholders across Asia and beyond.
“Finding the right person to succeed Howdy Bouis, a visionary pioneer and World Food Prize laureate, was no easy task. I know that under Beverley’s leadership, HarvestPlus’ success will continue and grow, mobilizing partners around the world to expand access to biofortification,” said Peter McPherson, former Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development and co-chair of HarvestPlus’ Program Advisory Committee.
HarvestPlus’ principal donors are the UK Government; the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; the U.S. Government's Feed the Future initiative; the European Commission; and donors to the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health, of which HarvestPlus is a part.