Chief Executive Officer
Arun Baral was appointed chief executive officer (CEO) of HarvestPlus on July 1, 2019, succeeding HarvestPlus founder Howarth Bouis. As CEO, Baral oversees the interdisciplinary, global effort of HarvestPlus to develop and deliver micronutrient-rich staple food crops to reduce micronutrient deficiency (or “hidden hunger”) among malnourished populations. He champions biofortification within the CGIAR system, the private sector, among national agricultural research centers, and in the international agriculture and nutrition communities. He focuses on developing effective partnerships to scale up biofortification and support development of sustainable biofortified food systems that provide access to nutritious food for all. Baral also spearheaded the establishment of HarvestPlus Solutions, a non-profit entity that is working with partners in the private and public sector to fill gaps in biofortified food value chains to scale up biofortified products.
Baral joined HarvestPlus in 2017 as chief financial officer, after more than 30 years in the international agriculture sector, with roles in commercial operations, profit and loss (P&L) management, strategy, finance, business development, and marketing. He has been based in Asia, Africa, and the United States, and has also traveled extensively for work in Latin America. Baral spent over 24 years at DuPont Pioneer, including as Asia Regional Business Director, where he was instrumental in developing and executing a strategy that significantly grew the Asia business during his tenure. Baral holds a Master of Business Administration from Drake University in Iowa, and a Bachelor of Commerce (honors) from Delhi University in India.
Chief Financial Officer
Adam Mayaki is the Chief Financial Officer for both HarvestPlus and HarvestPlus Solutions. He is an accomplished leader with over 15 years of experience in financial and operational management, organizational fiduciary oversight, effective planning and analysis, and human resources management. At HarvestPlus, Adam provides leadership for finance, risk management, human resources, and administration functions while actively supporting country programs and building capacity of in-country finance teams. For HarvestPlus Solutions, in collaboration with the CEO and the senior leadership team, he works on expanding the organization’s presence globally and establishing partnerships that help fill the gaps in biofortified seed and food value chains.
Prior to joining HarvestPlus, Adam was the Senior Director of Finance and Operations at the World Cocoa Foundation, where he provided fiduciary oversight for the organization, financial and revenue planning, cost control, risk management, and budgeting. Adam has served in leadership finance roles in other multimillion dollar international organizations in the private and nonprofit sectors, which allowed him to work in many countries and acquire a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities associated with organizations that have an international presence. Adam holds an MBA from the Keller Graduate School of Management of Devry University and a Bachelor of Science in Finance from the Robert H. Smith Business School of the University of Maryland.
Director, Impact and Strategy
Ekin Birol is an accomplished research leader and senior manager with 15 years of post-doctorate experience in identifying evidence gaps; designing research portfolios, projects, and programs; fundraising and donor engagement; and implementing research projects with policy and programmatic implications in the fields of nutrition, agriculture, food, and environment. She has over 20 years of international experience working effectively with universities, research centers, donors, CSOs, and public and private sectors in countries of all regions. In 2010, after three years as a research fellow with the Markets, Trade and Institutions Division of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Birol joined HarvestPlus in her current position. The department’s 10 full time staff working closely with some 40 collaborators to conduct research to inform the development of targeted and cost-effective biofortification interventions; to estimate their acceptance, reach and effectiveness and to communicate research results to a wide range of audiences. Birol holds a PhD, MPhil, MSc, and BSc (Honors) from the Department of Economics at University College London. She was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Cambridge. In 2010 and 2014, Birol received special awards in recognition of her outstanding accomplishments as an IFPRI/HarvestPlus employee. She has published two edited volumes, over 40 peer-reviewed journal articles, and over 30 chapters in edited volumes.
Director, Alliances and Policy
Lynn Brown joined HarvestPlus in her current role in July 2020 after a long career focused on food and nutrition policy. She had an extensive career at the World Bank and held senior positions within the UN World Food Programme, including as its first Chief Economist. Since 2013 Brown has been a senior independent adviser to several leaders and organizations in the areas of gender, food and nutrition security, agricultural policy, and livelihoods/social protection.
Her expertise spans the food security agenda. She worked in both the agricultural and nutrition sectors in the World Bank, including managing the World Bank’s nutrition portfolio in Bangladesh. At WFP, Brown also worked as the chief of social protection. She was the representative for Rachel Kyte to the Global Panel on Agriculture, Food Systems and Nutrition, negotiated WFP’s entry into the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development, and founded the Nutrition workstream in that Platform. Joining HarvestPlus completes a career cycle as she began her career at IFPRI, where she co-led IFPRI’s research on gender, which together with biofortification has been a career long commitment.
Director, Research and Development;
REGIONAL DIRECTOR, ASIA
Wolfgang Pfeiffer is a project manager and scientist with 35 years of experience in crop improvement, commercialization, and international agriculture. He has been with HarvestPlus for over 12 years, serving in a variety of capacities, including Global Director of Product Development & Commercialization and Plant Breeding Coordinator. Currently, Pfeiffer leads the research team and drives the development, delivery, and commercialization of biofortified crops through collaboration with over 400 partners in 50 countries. During his time with HarvestPlus, Pfeiffer has led HarvestPlus through the initial phases of gene discovery, product development, and commercialization while expanding organizational capacity. Under his direction, over 200 micronutrient-dense, high-yielding, and profitable varieties of key staple crops have been released in over 30 countries. He has also established country teams and created strategies to deliver seed and food products under social, commercial, and mixed marketing situations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Pfeiffer’s experience includes working with a wide range of crops, including rice, wheat, maize, cassava, beans, pearl millet, banana, plantain, cowpea, Irish potato, lentil, and sorghum. Pfeiffer received his PhD in agricultural sciences, a Master of Science in agricultural sciences with a focus on plant production, and a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Hohenheim (Germany).
Regional Director, Africa
Donald Mavindidze is a Zimbabwe national with more than 20 years’ experience in the agriculture sector in Africa. Donald started his career in Zimbabwe and previously worked for Monsanto for more than 16 years, where he held various positions in different locations. He started working for Monsanto in Zimbabwe as a Field Manager, then moved to Malawi where he held the role of Plant Manager and subsequently was appointed to the position of Operations Lead for the Central Eastern and Southern Africa Region, where he was responsible for supply chain operations covering Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, and Kenya. Donald relocated to Zambia in 2013 to be Country Lead. Donald transitioned into agricultural development in 2016, when he took up the role of Director of Commercialisation at the African Agriculture Technology Foundation before joining HarvestPlus in 2018. Donald graduated from the University of Zimbabwe with a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture with honors in crop science. He also holds an ACCA diploma in financial management and a Master of Business Leadership degree obtained from the School of Business Leadership at the University of South Africa.
coordinator, Latin America & the Caribbean
Marilia Nuti holds a Master of Science in food science from the State University of Campinas, Brazil. She earned post-graduate degrees in nutritional planning from the University of Gent, Belgium, and in consumer studies from the University of Guelph, Canada, while working as a full-time researcher and lecturer at the Department of Nutrition and Food Planning, State University of Campinas, Brazil. Her work experiences in the private sector included technical director of Nutricia S.A. Produtos Dieteticos Nutricionais, work in regulatory affairs at Brahma and positions at Unilever Foods in Brazil. From 1996 until 2002, she was the general director of Embrapa Food Technology, and from 2002 to 2010, she coordinated the Brazilian Biofortification Network as a researcher at Embrapa. She joined HarvestPlus in 2011 and coordinated HarvestPlus LAC (Latin America & Caribbean) through 2017. She has been in her current position since 2018, based at CIAT in Cali, Colombia and overseeing work in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Honduras, Haiti, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Panama. Nuti represents HarvestPlus (on behalf of IFPRI) in the Codex Alimentarius Committees.
Dr. Erick Boy
Dr. Boy joined HarvestPlus in 2008. Previously he spent nine years at Nutrition International, where he developed and managed the iron and zinc research portfolios, established a consultative group of nutrition experts, promoted the adoption of micronutrient powders and introduced zinc supplements in Latin America. During the previous 10 years he worked at the Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama, providing technical assistance in maternal nutrition and iodine deficiency control to the health ministries of member countries. In his current role, Dr. Boy leads the nutrition unit, which commissions crop related research studies comprising biomarkers development, food consumption and composition, deficiency prevalence, nutrient retention, micronutrient bioavailability, and the efficacy of biofortified crops. He manages relations with nutrition research collaborators, the World Health Organization and the Micronutrient Forum, and other programs that specialize in micronutrient nutrition. He is a member of FPRI’s Institutional Review Board, the editorial board of the Food and Nutrition Bulletin, and the steering committee of the BRINDA working group. Dr. Boy obtained his medical degree from the San Carlos University in Guatemala and his PhD in nutrition from the University of California at Davis.
Founding Director, HarvestPlus
emeritus Fellow, IFPRI
Howarth Bouis, a recipient in 2016 of the World Food Prize, pioneered the concept of biofortification in the early 1990s and founded HarvestPlus in 2003. He has devoted his career to turning this idea into a global movement that currently reaches more than 50 million people in smallholder farming families in low-income countries. He continues to actively champion biofortification and the work of HarvestPlus in the international agriculture and nutrition communities. Bouis received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Stanford University and a master’s degree and PhD from Stanford University's Food Research Institute. Prior to beginning his graduate studies, Bouis worked for three years as a volunteer in the Philippines with Volunteers in Asia. After receiving his PhD, Bouis was offered a postdoctoral position in 1982 in the Food Consumption and Nutrition Division of IFPRI to undertake a two-year research project on the Philippines. He subsequently worked as a Research Fellow and Senior Research Fellow in the same division. His research concentrated on understanding how economic factors affect food demand and nutrition outcomes, particularly in Asia. Insights gained during this research led him to propose the concept of biofortification. Bouis also chairs the Board of Trustees of the Micronutrient Forum. In 2017, he was awarded a Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa, by the University of Greenwich. In 2018, Bouis was named a Nutrition Champion by the African Leaders for Nutrition, a joint initiative of the African Development Bank and the African Union to promote high-level engagement and advance the nutrition agenda. Bouis currently resides in the Philippines.