I am trained as a plant breeder (MSc) and integrated crop management specialist (PhD). I worked as an Integrated Pest Management expert in Asia between 1988 and 1999, focusing largely on pests of vegetable crops such as cabbage, tomato, hot pepper, and the application of discovery-learning methods in training and research. I developed curricula for vegetable farmer field schools. Until 2004 I worked out of UK and specialised in reducing farmer reliance on hazardous pesticides. During that time I also worked on cocoa in Africa and developed the curriculum for cocoa farmer field schools. Work in Europe included an apple IPM project in Albania and the technical audit of alternatives to methyl bromide in agriculture, which involved close collaboration with the European Commission. As a result of this work I am now a member of the UNEP methyl bromide technical options committee (MBTOC).
My mother tongue is Dutch, I am fluent in English and have basic knowledge of French, Indonesian, Spanish and German.
My current role focuses on acquisition and quality assurance of projects that are financed by EU, but also involves liaison with Netherlands based organisations as well as developing the CABI relation with the Netherlands government and institutions. I manage a CABI office in the Netherlands.
The Kurdistan Region of Iraq’s (KRI) favourable climate and soil fertility offer ideal conditions for potato production, while cultivation and post-harvest activities provide important sources of employment and income in rural areas. Land and labour are also in abundance so there is the potential to significantly increase production. However, due to a lack of investment in the value chain and the limited training received by trainers and extension workers, these factors are underutilised.