Good Food for Cities

A new board leadership towards a new mission

January 31, 2024
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We are proud to present Mary Shetto as the new president of the board of directors of Rikolto International. She takes over from Stephanie Daniels, who joined the board in 2017 when Rikolto became a network organisation. We thank Stephanie for her commitment and are delighted that she will continue as a board member.

Mary Shetto, an agricultural and rural development specialist with over 30 years' experience in East Africa, has dedicated much of her career to Kilimo Trust in East Africa, where she was CEO from 2017 to 2020. Working closely with smallholder farmers, particularly women and youths, and micro, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in commodity markets, she promotes private-sector partnerships to drive innovation, improve market access for smallholder farmers and support the growth of SME agribusinesses.

Mary Shetto - New president of the board of directors of Rikolto International.

In 2017, Rikolto's organisational and governance structure transformed into an international network organisation. The combination of a highly programmatic focus and decentralized leadership towards the regional offices has led to strong budget growth and brought new perspectives to strategic discussions and decisions. These perspectives have induced a shift from a narrow focus on inclusive supply chains, farmer incomes and sustainable production to a broader lens envisioning sustainable food systems; making sustainable, nutritious and safe food accessible to urban consumers while contributing to better farmer livelihoods as well as thriving production landscapes. Under Stephanie Daniel's stewardship over the past six years, we have gracefully navigated this complex transition, incorporating systems thinking into both the fabric of our strategy development and the design of our programmes and projects.

As the world’s food systems evolve rapidly, propelled by regional and global turmoil (Covid, the war in Ukraine,...) and amplified by climate change, we find ourselves at a crossroads, re-visiting our approach and envisioning a future shaped by a food system perspective.

As we enter the third year of our five-year programme cycle, the recent strategy meetings held in Indonesia last November set the stage for a comprehensive review of Rikolto's strategy beyond 2026. Mary Shetto, the newly elected President of the Board, will lead the process, supported by the other nine board members. We are also proud to announce three new members who bring fresh perspectives and a wealth of experience and expertise to the table: Jennifer Azuka Abuah, Andrés Montenegro and Fitrian Ardiansyah.

Jennifer Azuka Abuah, a sustainability expert and entrepreneur based in Ghana, led Olam's cocoa livelihoods programme for over 12 years and is the founder of Emmy's Daughter Organics. Andrés Montenegro has been working in the Latin-American coffee sector since 2016, making him an expert on its challenges and opportunities, and is currently sustainability director at the Specialty Coffee Association. Fitrian Ardiansyah, has dedicated his career to facilitating dialogue in multi-stakeholder platforms on climate and sustainability, covering areas from climate finance to ecosystem conservation. He is now working on impact investment and social entrepreneurship in South-East Asia as impact director for the ADM Capital Group.

Great achievements have been made  with Rikolto’s shift in focus since 2005, from food security to livelihood improvements for smallholder farmers. To meet today's challenges and successfully implement our food system approach, we need to forge stronger collaborations with like-minded and complementary partners.

Mary Shetto | New president of the board of directors of Rikolto International

Rikolto’s expertise in promoting sustainable production and marketing practices, building inclusive business relationships in food chains and contributing to enabling environments through the facilitation of multi-stakeholder platforms, lays the foundation for extending our impact to the entire food system. The Board's challenge is to lead the organisation towards a new programmatic framework that goes beyond secure livelihoods for smallholder farmers and food security for urban consumers, linking Rikolto' three areas of action and fostering collaboration between our global programmes to fully embrace a food system perspective.

We are excited to have Mary Shetto on board leading this organisation-wide process towards an even more successful and impactful Rikolto!

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