5th Commercial Farm Africa
14-15 Mar, 2017 - Dar es Salaam
Hyatt Regency Dar es Salaam, The Kilimanjaro
About our Event Speakers
We pride ourselves in presenting to you accomplished leaders, authors and advocates with strong track records of achievement and vision in a wide array of backgrounds, professional fields and life experiences. We believe you will benefit from their years of knowledge and experience and also from the latest thinking and innovative processes driving individuals and organizations forward.
Mr. M D Ramesh

.Ramesh has made a distinguished career expertise in Agriculture /Food Commodities and Africa. His geographical supervision consists of 20 countries in Central, South and East Africa. His current strategic business unit employs over 3,000 people including 50 top global managers. He serves on the Olam's Global OPCO and ManCo.

Ramesh joined Olam at its inception in Nigeria 24 years ago, and has been a part of the core team that saw the company grow from a green field start up to a Singapore listed USD 18 billion revenue organization today. Ramesh has lived and worked in multiple countries across Africa and also headed Olam's India operations at one time and started Olam's trading desk in Europe before returning to Africa.

Ramesh has worked closely with farmer groups, worked alongside government programs, set up and run logistics and processing operations and also set up distribution structures in a variety of African markets. He is widely consulted by banks, government structures, NGOs and private businesses. He is based in Durban and teaches at the University of Cape town.

Mr. M D Ramesh, President and Regional Head - South & East Africa
Olam South Africa (Pty) Ltd.
Day 1 [Tue 14, March], at 10:45 AM
Mr. Craig Hardie

Craig Hardie is the Co-Founder and former Joint Managing Director of Malawi Mangoes, an inclusive agribusiness in Malawi. Along with his business partner Jonathan Jacobs, he created an organisation which in five short years: raised US$55m in investment from a blend of private and public sector investors (including the International Finance Corporation), created a blended supply chain of Rain Forest Alliance certified, drip-irrigated anchor farms and a burgeoning smallholder programme affecting 25,000 of the rural poor, and signed and delivered against contracts with international and regional juice giants Coca-Cola, Pepsico, Doehler, Rhodes Food Group and Ceres.


He is now Co-Founder of Longevity Development, an advisory and operations implementation business that works with public and private sector, to bring together 'best in class' competencies in the Developing World in pursuit of launching and building lasting, progressive enterprises, and creating opportunities for the next generation of innovators, leaders and activists.

Mr. Craig Hardie, Co-Founder
Longevity Development
Day 2 [Wed 15, March], at 09:40 AM
Mr. Fabrice Blanc

.Fabrice is Head of Procurement & Demand Supply Planning for Nestlé Equatorial African Region. He has almost 20 years' experience in Procurement. After having worked in the automotive & consulting industries, Fabrice joined Nestlé 14 years ago. During this time, he supported strategic sourcing of Direct & Indirect materials across the world. Prior to his relocation in Nairobi, Kenya, 4 years ago, he was procurement manager for Nestlé Nespresso, based in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Nestlé Equatorial African Region oversees the multinational's operations in 20 countries including 4 factories, and Fabrice is currently responsible for the sourcing needs of the factories & offices, local production planning as well as the supply planning of imported finished products.

Fabrice is a Physics Engineer and holds an MBA with specialization in Procurement.

Mr. Fabrice Blanc, Head of Procurement and Demand & Supply Planning
Nestle Equatorial African Region Limited
Day 2 [Wed 15, March], at 10:10 AM
Ms. Heloise Smith

.Heloise is the Head for the Consumer Sector East Africa in Stanbic Bank, based in Nairobi, Kenya. She has almost 20 years of experience in financial services, and has been working on the African continent in various capacities in the public and private sector since the early 1990s. In a previous role as Head: African Telecoms and Media for the Standard Bank Group, she raised in excess of USD5bn in non recourse funding for African mobile operators. She has in depth knowledge of the debt capital markets of many African countries.


Heloise has also consulted to the MTN Group, Africa's largest mobile operator, regarding fundraising for its operations in Africa and the Middle East. Whilst at MTN, Heloise lived in Nigeria for a period of time, arranging Naira 250bn plus USD400m in funding for MTN Nigeria, as well as funding for MTN's operations in Afghanistan, Iran, Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia, South Africa, and Uganda. Heloise has also consulted to the Illovo Group, a subsidiary of Associated British Foods, on a greenfield integrated sugar project in Mali, and funding for operations in Swaziland and Zambia.


Prior to taking up her current role in East Africa, Heloise was a senior banker in the African Investment Banking Team of Standard Bank. She had responsibility for developing opportunities across the continent with existing and potential clients, both from within Africa and abroad, with a key focus is on the FMCG and Agri-business sectors where the booming African middle class is driving consumption.


Heloise holds B.Com, LLB and MBA degrees.

Ms. Heloise Smith, Executive & Head of Consumer sector : East Africa
Stanbic Bank
Day 1 [Tue 14, March], at 01:45 PM
Ms. Vanessa Adams

Vanessa Adams has over 20 years of professional experience, including with Fortune 500 companies in the US. She has fourteen years' experience working in 27 African countries with businesses and farmer cooperatives to increase productivity, meet buyer specifications, access finance, and compete in international markets. She partners with governments, donors and businesses to develop and implement strategies which increase productivity and international trade, expand investments, improve business environments, access financial services as well as reduce constraints to trade.


Vanessa managed $50+ million USD USAID-funded projects with multi-cultural teams, facilitated over $300 million in exports from Africa, and catalyzed over $57 million in investments as well as over $140 million in credit. She contributed to the foundation of three pan-African NGOs including the African Cashew Alliance, Borderless Alliance, and Global Shea Alliance, as well as initiating the Women in Agribusiness Leadership Network in Ethiopia.


Vanessa has an Executive MBA from INSEAD.

Ms. Vanessa Adams, Director/Chief of Party
USAID Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hub implemented by DAI
Day 1 [Tue 14, March], at 02:15 PM