Tag Archives: Program Advisory Committee

Lima meetings gather RTB members with new Program Advisory Committee

RTB’s new Program Advisory Committee (PAC) met in person for the first time last week in Lima, Peru, where the members were introduced to some key RTB staff. The meeting took place at the headquarters of the International Potato Center (CIP), the lead center for the CGIAR Research Program.

The Program Management Unit (PMU) presented an update on progress with governance, program management, finance, communications, gender and intellectual property, engaging in discussions with the PAC members on further steps to be taken.

“One of the main assets of RTB are the human resources – after only 18 months the PMU team members have managed to put together the different parts of a machine that’s going very well, commented Helen Hambly, who was designated chair of the PAC. “That pool of common knowledge is what makes RTB very strong, it’s quite impressive to see how each other’s work fits in harmoniously”, she added.

The PAC, which comprised six independent scientists and development experts from different background, was established earlier in the year with the purpose of guiding RTB research and activities. It should merge with the current Steering Committee early next year, in order to become a unified, single governance body.

Later in the week the PAC had the opportunity to get a glimpse at root and tuber value chains while visiting the Santa Anita wholesale market in the outskirts of Lima, before tasting the creative dishes prepared by Hilton Lima’s chef Renzo Alcántara who cooked up a menu entirely based on potatoes.

Potato varieties in Santa Anita market

Potato varieties in Santa Anita market

'Yuca' (cassava) for sale in Santa Anita market

‘Yuca’ (cassava) for sale in Santa Anita market

Tasting native potato chips with Celfia Obregón from the NGO ADERS peru

Tasting native potato chips with Celfia Obregón from the NGO ADERS Peru

“The visit to the market gave us interesting insights to potential bottlenecks that can be found along the native potato chains”, Helen Hambly noted. “In Peru farmers grow thousands of varieties, however very few make it to Lima to be sold in markets. Are women growers particularly impacted by this?”, she wondered, as she is also a gender specialist.

For Graham Thiele, RTB Director, “the meeting really helped the PAC come together as a team. All members showed a high level of understanding of the opportunities and challenges of RTB, and I believe they now have a better insight into the way we’ve been working so far”.

The next steps for the RTB team involve giving more inputs to the PAC on different ongoing activities such as priority assessment of research activities, monitoring and evaluation, and gender. Final recommendations also included incorporating the ex-situ conservation of genetic resources into the scientific enterprise, and reaching out to universities to entice post-graduate students to consider roots, tubers and bananas in their research.

“It will be interesting to see what the team is up to in six months’ time”, Helen Hambly observed.

At the Larco Museum

At the Larco Museum


RTB Program Advisory Committee gets underway

RTB can now count on its Program Advisory Committee (PAC) to help optimize the impact of its research for development. The PAC will guide RTB’s overall program development and partnering strategies. It is made up of six independent scientists and development experts who are appointed by the RTB Steering Committee with RTB Director Graham Thiele as Secretary.

PAC members are selected for their competencies in gender, partnerships, evaluation and theory of change, capacity strengthening and ‘cutting edge’ science. They are expected to provide independent advice to the Lead Center’s Board of Trustees and to the RTB Management Committee on the quality and relevance of the research, priority setting, strategic allocation of resources and need for external reviews.

On April 4th the PAC held its first introductory meeting and committee members were warmly welcomed by Barbara Wells, Director General at the International Potato Center (CIP) and Chair of the RTB Steering Committee.

The first activity of PAC will be to provide feedback on the Extension Proposal that RTB, along with other Research Programs, should submit to the CGIAR Consortium on April 25th, and which is a refresh on current thinking.

RTB governance


The six members, who were appointed for an initial three years, are:

  •  Alfredo Augusto Cunha Alves, Coordinator of Technical Cooperation at EMBRAPA, Brazil
  • Rupert Best, Senior Technical Advisor – Agriculture and Environment at Catholic Relief Services, Colombia
  • Helen Hambly Odame, Associate Professor of Capacity Development and Extension in the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada
  • Yvonne Pinto, Director of Agricultural Learning and Impacts Network (ALINe) at Firetail Limited, UK
  • Dunstan Spencer, Senior Partner with Enterprise Development Services Ltd, Sierra Leone
  • Eugene Terry, Senior Technical Adviser of TransFarm Africa, USA