A. Thimmaiah, Ph.D
Associate Professor and Program Director, Department of Sustainable Living
Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, Iowa, USA.
Twenty years’ experience in regenerative organic agriculture, biodynamic agriculture, traditional knowledge systems, agroecology, rural development and Gross national happiness (GNH). Advised and built capacities of Governments, United Nations, International organizations, Agribusiness corporations, non-governmental organizations, and farmers associations in systems of regenerative agriculture and agribusiness. Developed national organic standards, zero-cost certifications systems and strategy documents for the development of agriculture, poverty alleviation and empowerment of small farmers. Advised international projects in 10 countries.
EXPERIENCE & SKILLS
- Advised Government of Bhutan for 6 years in organic agriculture. Established enabling environment for the national programs at the highest political level to transition Bhutan into world’s first organic nation.
- Developed and authored Bhutan National Organic Standards (BNOS), Bhutan Organic certification System (BOCS) and strategy documents that led to legislation.
- Robust understanding of how government functions and can be influenced
- Proven ability to learn and become an expert in new policy or research areas quickly
Analysis and strategy
- 20 years’ experience in Regenerative Agriculture, sustainable development and Gross National Happiness (GNH) at national and international level both in an academic and policy environment leading to the development of national agriculture and economic policy.
- Strong focus on regenerative agro-ecological practices for crop production, rural development, research uptake, evidence-based decision making, and trade-related technical assistance.
- Proven track record of strategy development and problem-solving in a diverse range of areas.
- Advised projects in Bali (Indonesia), Bhutan, Costa Rica, Holland, India, Italy, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Taiwan and USA.
- Worked with diverse groups of stakeholders with governments, public institutions, non-profits, corporate, academic sectors like University and think tanks, national and international experts in regenerative agriculture, low-carbon green strategies, sustainable development, and trade.
- Ability to adjust my influencing style according to the specific circumstances of projects and stakeholder groups
- Built strong and trusted relationships with stakeholders at the highest political and managerial level including Cabinet Ministers and political advisers and chief executives
Management and team development
- Managed teams of varying size and diversity guiding cultural protocols, cross-cultural communications
Communication and leadership
- Strong written and oral communication skills with an ability to present complex and technical findings to different audiences and adjust style and format.
- Substantial experience in leading projects, chairing committees, providing intellectual direction for projects and organizations and cultivating productive partnerships across sectors
- Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Sustainable Agriculture, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi, India,2001
- Master of Science (M.Sc), Entomology, Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), Delhi, India,1996
- Bachelor of Science (B.Sc), Agriculture, University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS), Dharwad, India, 1993
2017- date Member, Working Group on Eco Agriculture, Indian Council of Food and Agriculture (ICFA), New Delhi, India. ICFA is a think tank organization on policy, trade, and technology in agriculture
2017- date Member, Advisory Group, The Carbon Underground (TCU). The Carbon Underground is a US-based think-tank that links academia, business, financial markets on climate change
2017- date Member, Expert panel, International Advisory Panel for Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Energy to build Bali Green Island”, an initiative of the Government. of Bali, Indonesia, in collaboration with Asia Pacific Network for Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Energy (SAFE-Network), Indonesia. SAFE Network is an Asia Pacific network of experts in Agroecology and sustainable development.
2014- date Member of Uberoi Foundation’s Expert Committee. Uberoi Foundation is a US-based organization to deliberate global issues on environment and wellbeing from a socio-cultural perspective
2014- date Member, Board of Directors, Demeter Association Inc. USA. Demeter promotes biodynamic agriculture and certifies such products.
Member, Board Of Directors South East Iowa Food Hub ( SEIFH), Iowa, USA. SEIFO is a food hub that promotes local food cultivation and market linkages.
Trustee, The Cows Foundation, West Virginia, USA. Cows Foundation is a non-profit organization promoting animal welfare
2007 Member, Program and Course Design Committee of Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), New Delhi, India for the development of the technical curricula in Organic farming
2007- date Member, Executive Council, International Institute for Sustainable Agriculture (IISA), Pune, Maharashtra, India.
2006 – 2008 Member, Technical Support Group National Horticulture Mission (NHM), Department Of Horticulture, Government of Karnataka, India.
2001- date Member, Board of Directors, Natura Agroconsultants Pvt. Ltd. India
Department of Sustainable Living
Feb. 2014 to present
Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, Iowa
Associate Professor and Program Director
- Director of Regenerative Organic Agriculture Program (ROAP), a 9-month certificate program and Bachelor’s degree in Regenerative Organic Agriculture
- Lead research, education, and outreach in Agroecology and low-cost regenerative agriculture.
- Teach courses in Organic Agriculture, Biodynamic farming and traditional knowledge systems.
- Networking with international organizations for collaboration and resource mobilization.
- Mobilized 10 full-tuition scholarships worth $110,000 for the 9-month certificate program in regenerative organic agriculture for economically deprived applicants from India through Sarojini Damodaran Foundation.
Leading advisory projects in progress:
- Ministry of Education, Government of Bali, Indonesia.
- Organic medicinal herb project in Pune, India.
- Empowering the refugees through organic gardening in Fargo, North Dakota, US.
- Agribio and network of organic agriculture organizations in Italy.
- Capacity building of farmers and gardening enthusiasts in low-cost agriculture in Taiwan.
Bhutan Agriculture & Food Regulatory Authority
May 2010 to Nov.2013
Ministry of Agriculture & Forests, Royal Govt. of Bhutan
- Advised Government of Bhutan to transition into 100% organic nation through strategic direction and leadership in Agroecology & regenerative agriculture systems
- Built systems to create enabling environment for sustainable agriculture production and trade by evolving Bhutan national organic standards (BNOS) and assurance systems like Bhutan Organic Certification system (BOCS) complying international procedures.
- Contributed to the diagnostic work on Identification and promotion of specialty crops of the region and integrate with niche markets by strengthening the brand “Organic Bhutan”
- Developed research uptake strategies, impact pathways and programs with the National Research Centres (NRC’s).
- Ensured strong & result oriented networking and linkages with various international organizations and the private sector.
- Represented Bhutan at international events and facilitated resource mobilization, networking and experience sharing.
SNV Netherlands Development Organisation, Bhutan
April 2008 to April 2010
Senior Advisor (Organic Farming Specialist)
- Advised the Royal Government of Bhutan in developing and implementing a strategy for inclusive food security, agroecology, value chain development (VCD) and research uptake strategies in regenerative organic agriculture.
- Built the capacity of stakeholders and smallholders in Good Agriculture Practices (GAP), Organic Agriculture regulations and international trade.
- Developed the following strategic documents;
- Implementation Plan for the development of organic agriculture sector in Bhutan.
- Training Manuals on low-cost agriculture technologies.
- Bhutan National Organic standards for crop production and animal husbandry complying International norms and ISO guidelines.
- Mainstreamed strategies towards multidimensional features of food security by integrating sustainable production of cash crops in the prevailing farming system and market support.
Natura Agroconsultants Pvt. Ltd, Faridabad, India
Feb. 2001 – March 2008
- Led the management of the organisation, strategic expansion, marketing and networking with agri-business corporations and development aid organizations.
- Provided advisory services in Agroecology, Organic Farming, Solid Waste management and value chain development (VCD) to orchards and plantation crops (like coffee, tea, spices), speciality field crops basmati rice, pulses, vegetables, fruit crops and medicinal plants to agribusiness corporations, farmers cooperatives, NGO’s, and government institutions complying international standards.
- Developed and designed training modules in sustainable agriculture and built capacities of various organizations in international standards (EC, JAS, NOP, NPOP, Demeter and Private standards) of organic agriculture production and trade.
- Advised leading organic agriculture companies in India; Organic India, POABS Group, Assam Tea Company, Sunstar Overseas, Bombay Burmah Trading Company and more.
Freelance Consultant, Faridabad, India
1999 to 2001
Maharishi Vedic University, Holland
Advised the project on organic production of medicinal plants and high-value crops in India
Stassens Group, Sri Lanka
Advised to the Bio-tea project of Stassen Group, Sri Lanka in organic tea production, processing and trade complying the international organic agriculture standards.
Term-based International Consultancy Projects (2001 – 2016)
- AMARSI, Italy, 2018
Capacity building of farmers and stakeholders in low-cost regenerative farming systems.
- Ministry of Education, Government of Bali, 2017
Developing a curriculum in organic agriculture integrating the traditions of Bali for high schools.
- FARRMS (Foundation for Agriculture and Rural Resource Management and Sustainability), Fargo, North Dakota, USA, 2017
Empowering the refugees through community gardening programs
- Yangminshan Ecovillage Preservation and Education Alliance, Taiwan, 2017
Capacity building of the stakeholders in agroecology and regenerative farming systems
- Agribio, Cissone, Italy (2007 – 2016)
Strengthened Capacity building through exchange of international practices in biodynamic farming and low-cost agro-ecological practices to the farmers, vineyards and agro-based organizations in Italy during Nov.2007, April 2009 and March 2016. Facilitated Integration of agriculture production and trade.
- Ministry of Agriculture, San Jose, Costa Rica (2010 – 2012)
Provided technical advice in Regenerative agriculture, Natural resource management, and Research uptake strategies to various stakeholders operating under National Institute for Technology Transfer (INTA) under the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of Costa Rica.
Published a document in Spanish on strategies and technologies on low-cost agriculture.
- International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Nepal. (2005-2007)
Strengthened the capacity of stakeholders (India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Bhutan) in Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) for the sustainable cultivation and marketing of medicinal and aromatic plants in compliance with the international organic standards for production and trade.
- SNV (Netherlands Development Organization), Bhutan Oct 2007 to Dec. 2007
Studied and explored the Traditional Agriculture & Gross National Happiness (GNH) concepts of Bhutan.
Published a book ‘A Guide to Organic Agriculture in Bhutan’, to facilitate understanding of organic agriculture, standards, marketing, quality control, policy and support systems to multiple stakeholders was published.
- Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), New Delhi. India. to July 2007
Member, Expert Group
Advised the university and designed three certificate courses in Organic agriculture for distance learning.
- Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. 2005-2006
Assessed the current situation of inputs available for organic farming, traditional agricultural practices of India.
Published two documents on practices and prospectus for organic agriculture in India.
- Current Status of Inputs for Organic Agriculture
- Training Manual for Organic Agriculture
- International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD), Rome May-July 2004
Member of the research team. Published a document “Thematic Evaluation -Organic Agriculture and Poverty Reduction in Asia -China & India Focus”.
- International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada 2003-2005
Delivered professional advisory support for the sustainable production of medicinal and aromatic plants (MADP) adopting organic agriculture in India and South Asia complying international guidelines on marketing, processing and quality control.
Advised Agriculture University (CSHKV), Palampur, Himachal Pradesh, India in developing research uptake strategies in sustainable agriculture.
English, Kannada & Hindi – excellent, written and spoken
- Awarded Junior Research Fellow by Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), for pursuing Masters in Entomology at Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi.
- Awarded the prestigious K.S. Krishnan Fellowship from Bhaba Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Department of Atomic Energy, Mumbai for Ph.D. at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi.
- Awarded “Community Service Award” from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi for providing an appropriate technology on waste management for the hostels of IIT.
- Awarded ‘Maharishi Award’ for Research and development from Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, Iowa, USA.