Lasantha Wickremesooriya

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is | Chartered Marketer and Consultant Strategist, Association of Agriculture Machinery Manufacturers and Suppliers Association, Sri Lanka

Topic: Agricultural Mechanization Leasing, Rural Finance and Investment

Lasantha Wickremesooriya, Chartered Marketer and Strategist, is a Senior Fellow of the INSS, Ministry of Defense, Sri Lanka.
He has served, both, in the export marketing of agricultural produce and agri- mechanization in Sri Lanka. He has wide experience in introducing appropriate mechanization in diverse applications, throughout the complete supply chain, from manufacturer to the end user.
He is currently the President elect of the Agriculture Machinery Association of Sri Lanka and is actively engaged in the industry providing advisory services. Through the association, he works closely with the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture Mechanisation, of the UN-ESCAP.

Trade and Investment policies in the Asia-Pacific region have been progressively formulated to enhance the mechanisation of agriculture. However, one of the major challenges is the lack of capital availability to purchase such machinery, particularly by small scale farmers. At present most of the funding is through private banks or leasing firms, whose commercial interest rates are prohibitively expensive. Thus, a strategy for easing the cost of financing through low cost funding and or cooperative scheme where machines can be rented on a need basis, could be a viable option going forward.

Martin Gummert

| Senior Scientist, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)

Topic: Value chain upgrading from harvesting to markets for sustainable rice production


Martin Gummert is leading IRRI’s Mechanization and Postharvest Cluster and is coordinating the Postharvest Activity and the Value Chain Support Services Clusters of the Flagship Program 2, Upgrading of Rice Value Chains of the CGIAR Research Program RICE. He is also leading the SDC funded Closing the Yield Gaps in Asia COPIGAP and postharvest and mechanization components of World Bank funded project in Myanmar, Burundi and India. He has a rich experience in providing consulting services to public and private stakeholders. His ambition is to contribute to sustainable rice production and to make farming in developing countries a viable career option for young people through scaling out state of the art technologies and management options.

Johannes Buschmeier

| Managing Director/ CEO, AFC Agriculture and Finance Consultants GmbH

Topic: Crucial factors for financing investments in agricultural machinery and the impacts of subsidies

Johannes Buschmeier is a multi-faceted leader and agricultural economist managing projects in agriculture, agribusiness, and financial sector development.

He is currently the Project Manager and Managing Director of AFC Agriculture and Finance Consultants (AFC). Under his helm, the company is mainly working with the agricultural finance sector supporting banks to develop new credit products required by different actors in agricultural value chains.

In his projects, he successfully took up challenges related to: the promotion of agricultural finance for agri-based enterprises; the analysis of capacities and expertise of financial institutions; and addressing financial issues related to mechanization and the process of machinery invention, specifically in the Demonstration and Training Projects of the German Ministry of Agriculture and “Green Innovation Centre” of GIZ.

Mr. Buschmeier, through the German Ministry of Agriculture, EIB, GIZ, KFW, ADB, and EC, has been active in numerous countries for AFC. In Asia, he handled projects in China, India, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Tadjikistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

Lastly, he is a member of different professional working groups such as the DLG Foreign Committee and German Agribusiness Alliance.



AFC Agriculture and Finance Consultants has been active in the agricultural sector for more than 45 years and has developed a strong department for agricultural finance and financial sector development in the past 15 years. With the combination of knowledge in agriculture and finance, AFC was able to implement a variety of projects worldwide.

Financial consulting becomes more important because of the increasing mechanization in countries such as China and India. Thus, AFC applies her experience in both fields to implement different projects in these countries. The project in India, through the GIZ, successfully adapted potato-planting machines for emerging and small farmers.

The interest of banks to operate in agricultural finance systems and government subsidies may have a crucial impact on financing issues and have to be considered when present.

The lack of knowledge in agriculture of bank employees is a major factor in terms of agricultural finance and hinders their capacity to give out loans in this field. Credits and loans for long-term investments in machinery are therefore often more problematic than credits for working assets. Thus, training and consulting of bank employees are crucial to increase capacities in agricultural finance and long-term investments for machinery. However, the bank management must be interested and convinced right from the beginning about agricultural finance products.

AFC, in cooperation with DLG International, supported Demonstration and Training projects with private business partner (on behalf of BMEL) for the last 10 years in China. Since then, a number of German machinery producers have invested in China to produce or assemble on site. Naturally, the local subsidy system influences the decision of the private firms.

Dr. Ron Porat

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is | Head of Dept. of Postharvest Science of Fresh Produce at Agriculture Research Organization, The Volcani Center

Topic: Harvesting and storage technology to increase yield quality

Dr. Ron Porat is Head of the Institute of Postharvest and Food Science, ARO, The Volcani Center, Israel, and is a world leading expert on postharvest physiology and quality of fruit and vegetables and prevention of food losses and wastage.
Dr. Ron Porat has published more than 100 research articles in international refereed journals, and serves as an Associate Editor in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture (JSFA), and as an Editorial advisory board member of Postharvest Biology and Technology (PBT).

Dr. Nobutaka Ito

| Ph.D in Agricultural Engineering

Topic: ASIA FOOD PROJECT: How the Asian Agrifuture can be achieved


Nobutaka Ito, Ph.D in Agricultural Engineering, Visiting Professor, Department of Industrial Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Chiang Mai University, Thailand

Asian agriculture characterized by small scale, family labor and low income may be improved by the cooperation between Asia, resource oriented and ASEAN+3, technology oriented countries through ASEAN Economic Community. The process is 1) To make Asia, a world food pantry in safe, high quality food production and supply with competitive price, 2) To create Asian food brand for sustainable economic promotion and regional peace keeping, and 3) To build up a win – win relationship between countries for mutual benefit and prosperity. This presentation shows the project scheme and framework

Academic background: B.S in Agricultural Machinery, Mie University, Japan 1965,

M.S in Agricultural Engineering, Kyoto University, Japan 1967, Ph.D in Agricultural Engineering, Kyoto University, Japan 1976, Past Status: President of AAAE, Asian Association of Agricultural Engineering (2004 -2005), Honorary Doctor awarded by CMU (January 2007), Honorary Citizen of Hochiminh city, Vietnam (December 2016), Academic Contribution; He joined writing seven books. Original publication is more than 100 and the other articles are more than 250.

Dr. Michal Levy

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is | Senior Deputy Director-General of Agricultural Innovation, Israeli Ministry of Agriculture

Topic: Boosting Agricultural Innovation

Dr. Michal Levy is the Senior Deputy Director-General of Agricultural Innovation at the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture where she helps promote entrepreneurship and innovation in the Israeli Agtech industry. Dr. Levy helps developing the Israeli ecosystem by connecting all the stakeholders such as companies in all stages, investors, academic researchers, etc. She holds deep knowledge of the Israeli and global Agriculture markets from various aspects.

After years of academic research at UC Davis, CA and The Weismann Institute, Dr. Levy transitioned to the business world combining her in depth understanding of technology with the markets’ business needs. Prior to her appointment as the Senior Deputy Director-General, Agricultural Innovation, Dr. Levy served as VP, Head of Business Development Agritech, Veterinary & Environment at Yissum, the Technology Transfer Company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Dr. Levy was appointed in 2017 as a board member (by the Minister of Agriculture) to the “Israeli peanut council”

Between 2010–2018, Dr. Levy served as the Deputy Mayer of Oranit (volunteer position) and as a board member in the “Oranit Municipal Financial Corporation

Dr. Jean Balié

| Head, Agri-food Policy Platform, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)

Topic: “Food System Transformation and Implications for Agricultural Markets and Policies”


Dr. Jean Balié is the Head of the Agri-food Policy Department at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI). He leads a team of sixty-five scientists that promotes agri-food policy reforms to support the transformation of rice-based economies. His field work experience extends to sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Latin America. His areas of expertise relate to agricultural and food policy analysis, monitoring and evaluation, public expenditure and price analysis, and international multilateral negotiations in agriculture. He worked during 17 years on these topics for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations where he led the Monitoring and Analysis Food and Agricultural Policies (MAFAP) program. Previously, he held positions as civil servant in the Ministry of Agriculture and one decentralized regional Government of France. He holds a PhD in agricultural economics form the University of Göttingen, a MSc in agricultural economics (Montpellier) and an Ingenieur agronome diploma (Toulouse).

Dr. Dares Kittiyopas

| President, Thai Society of Agricultural Engineering; Deputy Director-General, Department of Agricultural Extension, Thailand; Luminary of Agricultural Logistics of Thailand Research Fund 

Topic: Pre-conditions for Smart Farming in Southeast Asia


Dr. Dares Kittiyopas has a background of Agricultural Engineering with specialty in extension and on-farm application of machineries. Dr. Kittiyopas has much experience in the research and analysis field of farm machineries. She is currently the Deputy Director-General of Department of Agricultural Extension, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Thailand.
She also presides as the President of Thai Society of Agricultural Engineering and the Luminary of Agricultural Logistics of Thailand Research Fund.

Dr. Klaus Erdle

| Division Manager Plant Production and Field Operations, DLG e.V. (German Agricultural Society), Germany


Dr. Klaus Erdle, Division Manager Plant Production and Field Operations, DLG e.V. (German Agricultural Society), Germany

Sebastian Smija

| Area Sales Manager for Asia and Oceania, Fliegl Agrartechnik GmbH, Germany

Topic: “Manure Application for Improved Nutrient Management in Crops”



Mr. Sebastian Smija, Area Sales Manager for Asia and Oceania, Fliegl Agrartechnik GmbH, Germany

Sebastian Smija studied industrial management at the University of Passau, after graduating high-school and finishing military service. Graduated of business administration with a focus on distribution management and trade, as well as business English.

After studying: 1.5 years trainee program at the Tengelmann Group in the division of distribution management. Working at Fliegl since 2007, 4 years of that as the area sales manager in Spain at Fliegl Iberica S. L. From 2011 until now as the Area Sales Manager for Asia and Oceania at Fliegl Agrartechnik GmbH in Mühldorf am Inn