Claudia Ebach

| Christine Zimmerman-Loessl, Chairwoman, Association for Vertical Farming e.V



Christine Zimmerman-Loessl,

has a background based on studying political science, sinology and philosophy at Munich University – which was the starting point for her interest in international work. She has worked in different Asian countries which has given her experience and deeper insight in the culture and people. In Germany, she benefited from this as a project manager for risk analysis and crisis management. Networking was always easy for Christine and she founded the Asia Network Information Center – combining her talents for projects, research and ideas. Later on, as the representative for the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in China, she took responsibility in different areas and led a German-Chinese Management Institute, initiated environmental protection and poverty alleviation projects, as well as engaged in women’s programs.

Christine was inspired by her son’s interests in Vertical Farming and got involved. She was able to use all of her experiences and networking skills to found with a group of like minded young people the first nonprofit in the world – the Association for Vertical Farming (AVF) in 2013, since then she is acting as the chairwoman of AVF . “Through AVF we are raising awareness and building a network of like-minded people for the implementation of Vertical Farming around the world”.


Naveen Kulkarni

| Abiotic Stress Management & New Technology Lead, Product Biology, APAC, Syngenta Crop Protection Limited

Topic: Improving Sugarcane Yields Through New Technologiesy

Mr. Naveen Kulkarni, Abiotic Stress Management & New Technology Lead, Product Biology, APAC, Syngenta Crop Protection Limited


Dr. Pipat Weerathaworn

| Committee for Agricultural and Biological Research Group, National Research Council of Thailand; Thai Bioplastics Industry Association (TBIA)

Topic: Innovation and Changes of the Southeast Asian Sugar Industry

Dr. Pipat Weerathaworn, Committee for Agricultural and Biological Research Group, National Research Council of Thailand; Thai Bioplastics Industry Association (TBIA)

Dr. Pipat Weerathaworn obtained his doctorate from Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland. He worked in various research organizations both public and private on research aspects and modern technologies. He was a researcher in Kasetsart University, the vice president for R&D at Mitrphol, the biggest sugar company in Thailand, the vice president for Green Business Development at PTT Global Chemicals Company (PLC), and nominated as the president of the Thai Bio-plastics Industry Association (TBIA) in 2011.
Now, he has been retired and still being the honorary president of TBIA, consultant, committee and reviewer for research projects of various organizations in Thailand.



Economic growth and population is increased in SE-Asia, the sugar-imported region. The government of SE-Asia has been announcing the sufficient policy in sugar industry. Therefore, sugar industries have to be developed and increasing efficiency and productivity. Sugar, the food additive, is one of the products from Sugarcane, an industrial crop. The new technologies mechanization and others modern agriculture has been studied. However, environmental conditions, enterprises and farmers are different among countries. Only, the appropriated technology has to be adopted for the achievement.

Dr. Wolfgang Pfeiffer

| Director – Asia, Research & Development, HarvestPlus

Topic: Catalyzing biofortified food systems with partners in supply chain and market development



Dr. Wolfgang H. Pfeiffer, Director – Asia, Research & Development, HarvestPlus  

HarvestPlus works with 400+ research and implementation partners to tackle hidden hunger globally by breeding iron, zinc and vitamin A into staple food crops, in building food systems through inclusive, sustainable markets. To date, 200+ biofortified varieties in 30+ countries, reached 40+ million at-risk consumers. An action-oriented agenda scaling biofortification spans the value chain with its multidisciplinary network of expertise. Scaling innovation requires focus on building demand, markets, and supply chains, engaging the public and private sectors to overcome deployment challenges.

Dr. Pfeiffer is a project manager and scientist with 37 years of experience in crop improvement, commercialization, and international agriculture. He has been with HarvestPlus for over 15 years, serving in a variety of capacities, including Global Director of Product Development & Commercialization and Plant Breeding Coordinator. During his time with HarvestPlus, Dr. Pfeiffer has led HarvestPlus through the initial phases of gene discovery, product development, and commercialization, while expanding organizational capacity and building an interdisciplinary global alliance of research and implementation partners.

Mr. Roland Treitler

| Project Director – German International Cooperation (GIZ)

Topic: Financial Innovation for Mitigation Measures in the Agricultural Sector

Mr. Roland has built the foundation of profound understanding of market forces and dynamics, arbitrage opportunities and risk management by 15 years of experience in the Capital Market trading Derivatives. The combination of experiences in the Capital Market as well as the environmental / agricultural sectors lead me to several financial innovations in these sectors. The most recent ones are the Revolving Fund Structure for introducing new technologies in the agriculture sector, an incentive scheme for Ecosystem Services (Intrinsic Ecological Value) and a Concept for a Cryptocurrency for Natural Capital.

The fund’s objective is to promote the spread of climate-friendly agriculture extension services like Laser Land Levelling (LLL) to Thai rice farmers using an innovative financial mechanism. Once LLL service delivery is complete, service providers are paid by the fund thereby taking farmer credit risk out of the transaction equation. Farmers subsequently repay the fund in 3 instalments. The fund pays service providers an amount less per hectare than what it charges farmers. The differential is retained by the fund to continue the capitalization of the fund for growth so that the fund can provide more climate-friendly services to farmers going forward.

Michael O’Connor


Topic: Mechanization of Sugarcane Farms in SE Asia

More than 40% of the world’s sugarcane is grown throughout SE Asia, China, Pakistan and India.  Estimates suggesting that currently more than 70% of this sugarcane is still planted and harvested by hand.  Therefore, expect some fairly dramatic changes in the way we farm throughout this region over the next two decades.

SE Asia is tracking towards total sugarcane production of around 250MT by 2022.  Increased mechanisation and adopting best practices, particularly with ground preparation and planting could help increase sugarcane production by 20%.  This could mean an additional 50MT of sugarcane produced each year by embracing similar practices to that of a fully mechanised sugarcane country like Australia.

Labour costs still look relatively low for most of SE Asia.  However, it is inevitable with greater urbanisation, a gradual decrease in suitable labour, increased pressure on wages and government restrictions on harvesting practices, will all ultimately place greater focus on farmers to get more efficient with their farming techniques.

“I am the former co-owner and Sales Director of MPH Rural Pty. Ltd. a family owned, manufacturing and construction SME operating in the highly competitive, seasonal markets of grain and water storage.
For more than a decade I developed and grew the MPH Rural business and gained an extensive knowledge of the Australian agricultural industry and the demands of regional business and property owners.
My brother, Jim O’Connor and I purchased Gessner Industries in July 2013. Gessner Industries specialize in the design and manufacture of the highest quality equipment and attachments for the Agricultural, Construction and Mining Industries throughout Australia, Africa and Asia. In 2015, Gessner Industries will have operated continuously for 40 years.”

Wisman Djaja


| Director – Sustainable Agriculture Development & Procurement, PT Nestlé Indonesia, on behalf of the Dairy Working Group of PISAgro, Indonesia

Topic : Dairy farming in Indonesia, current situation and outlook in the next 5 years

Prior to his appointment as Sustainable Agriculture Development and
Procurement Director in 2013, Wisman was Supply Chain Director (2006) and Sales Director of the company (2002).
Wisman joined Nestlé Indonesia in 1980 and over the years assumed increasing responsibilities in the field of production as well as factory management, taking the role of Factory Manager of Nescafé coffee factory in Lampung and Nestlé’s milk factory in East Java respectively.
Wisman obtained a degree in Production Engineering and Management from Loughborough University of Technology in UK and Program for Executive Development (PED) at the International Institute for Management Development (IMD), Lausanne, Switzerland.

Indira J Ekanayake

| Senior Agricultural Economist and Ag GP country coordinator in the World Bank’s Food and Agriculture Global Practice in the EAP region , The World Bank

Topic : Market Orientation of Agri-food Systems: Operating in the Win-Lose Quadrant!

She’s an agricultural professional with the World Bank for 1.5 decades. Prior to the Bank, I served for about 2 decades in three CGIAR centers. My interests & expertise cover topics such as, agricultural technology innovation systems, research, extension; irrigation and water management; agribusiness, public private partnerships, value chains & marketing; gender; nutrition, food safety & quality; climate smart agriculture; agro-forestry, sector policies and strategies, & program and project management.