Eminent Agriculture Scientist & Advisor, Agribusiness Associates
Dr. Khush is an eminent agronomist and geneticist who, along with mentor Henry Beachell, received the 1996 World Food Prize for his achievements in enlarging and improving the global supply of rice during a time of exponential population growth.
He graduated B.Sc. from Punjab Agricultural University in 1955 and earned his Doctorate degree from the University of California, Davis in 1960. After serving as a faculty member of the University of California for seven years studying the tomato genome, he joined the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines as Plant Breeder. He was appointed as Head of the Plant Breeding Department in 1972 where, in pursuit of ever-improved rice varieties to nourish the growing needs of the developing world and to support its agricultural economies, he spent over twenty years directing and participating in genetic research and breeding. During that time he played a key role in the development of more than 300 innovative rice strains such as Semi-dwarf IR36.World rice production increased from 257 million tons in 1966 to 626 million tons in 2006.
He retired from IRRI in February 2002 as Principal Plant Breeder and Head of Division of Plant Breeding Genetics and Biochemistry and returned to UC Davis as adjunct professor.
Devon Zagory has a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from the University of California, Berkeley and has worked extensively as a consultant to the produce industry for more than 25 years. He is a past co-chair of the Technical Committee of the International Fresh-cut Produce Association and was the Editor-in-Chief of the Third Edition of the IFPA Food Safety Guidelines for the Fresh-cut Produce Industry. He has written numerous scientific publications and industry bulletins dealing with microbial safety, packaging, quality, long distance shipping and operations. He has served as the Executive Director of the Center for Produce Safety at UC Davis and is on the Board of Directors of the Postharvest Education Foundation.
CEO, S N Consultants
Sekhar started off doing something quite different early on in his career which underwent several transformations that led to his professional success.
A Chartered Accountant and Cost Accountant by qualification, Sekhar has spent more than 30 years in ‘Monsanto’. He is the Chairman of the Company’s listed entity providing strategic counsel, business guidance, and representing the Company on several industry forums. Prior to this role, he held several leadership positions across functions – Chief Financial Officer, Business Development Head, Sales and Marketing Head, Global Corporate Strategy Lead at Monsanto’s headquarters in St. Louis, USA and the India Region Lead. He has been instrumental in evolving the India business from a pure herbicide company, into an agrochemicals, seed, and biotechnology company that is setting the stage for a renewed crop revolution in India.
The new millennium saw Sekhar take over as Managing Director for the South Asia Region where he played a key role in collaborating with Mahyco for the commercial approval of the first biotech crop technology in India – Bollgard® in-built insect-protection Bt cotton. The technology catalyzed a doubling of cotton production in seven years (2002-08), making India the world’s second largest producer and second largest exporter, and more importantly, a self-sufficient global contributor in cotton.
Sekhar is also an active member of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) National Council on Agriculture and CII National Biotech Committee.
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