Following an undergraduate degree in Applied Psychology at Durham University Naysan did an MSc in Applied Development Studies at Reading University. In 2005 he spent six months in Lucknow, India, supported by a TAAF award, developing an agriculturally-focused curriculum for primary schools. In 2006, after joining the TAAF Committee, Naysan moved to Afghanistan to work with a local gender-focused NGO. This began a long period of work in Afghanistan with local and international NGOs, University of Cambridge, Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). In 2008 Naysan embarked on a PhD at IDS Sussex investigating ethnicity in the Central Highlands of Afghanistan. While conducting his PhD research he has also worked intermittently as a consultant for UNDP on poverty-related issues in Iraq and Jordan. Naysan completed his PhD in 2017.
While working towards an MSc in Environmental Technology at Imperial College London, James gained a TAAF award in 2015 to work with smallholder coffee farmers in Honduras. His project aimed to establish a method of assessing on-farm conditions in support of climate-smart decision making. Subsequently, James founded a company, Climate Edge Ltd, to continue the work alongside fellow TAAF awardee and committee member Paul Baranowski. With Climate Edge, James’ work has expanded to include smallholder tea farmers, and has spread geographically into Eastern Africa as well as Central America. James also works as an agricultural consultant for the Centre of Environmental Policy at Imperial College London, supporting the commercialisation of IPM technologies within the European Union
Paul first came into contact with the TAA in 2015 while completing his Masters degree in Environmental Technology at Imperial College London. Alongside fellow awardee, James Alden, Paul received a TAAF award which allowed him to carry out fieldwork in Honduras with smallholder coffee farmers. This work was designed to explore how smallholder farmers can adapt their farming practices to cope with climate change. Following their fieldwork, Paul and James founded Climate Edge in 2015. Their company continues to pioneer the use of weather stations in smallholder agriculture. In addition to his work at Climate Edge, Paul also works with Imperial College focusing on European agriculture.
James Brockington is a social scientist working on natural resource management and smallholder agriculture. He graduated in International Development at the University of Sussex in 2009 and completed an MSc in Agroforestry at Bangor University in 2010. He was a TAAF awardee in India in 2010 and again in 2011. He has worked on impact assessment of agroforestry and livelihood interventions in India and on a distance-learning agroforestry course in Uganda. He is currently a Graduate Teaching Assistant and PhD candidate in the School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography (SENRGY) at Bangor University. His doctoral research on the socio-economics of smallholder agroforestry development in tribal areas of the Western Ghats is funded by ICRAF.
Antony Ellman (Chairman)
Antony Ellman is a tropical agriculturalist trained in agriculture and social anthropology. He has some 40 years experience of small farmer development schemes in Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia and many other countries of Africa, Asia, South Pacific, Caribbean and Central America. He has worked for FAO, UNHCR, DFID, NRI, CDC, Commonwealth Secretariat, Tanzania Government, Oxfam and several other NGOs. He was an agricultural adviser to Sir Bob Geldof following the Band Aid/Live Aid concerts. In 1990 he served on a TAA committee investigating future prospects for UK tropical agriculturalists. Since 1996 he has been a freelance consultant working mainly on access of small farmers to fair trade markets
After an undergraduate degree in English Literature from Durham University (2000) and working in PR consultancy, Daniella did an MA in Environment and Development from Kings College London (2004). She has a variety of fieldwork experience gained in Zambia: working as a biodiversity research assistant in Kafue National Park, carrying out a feasibility study into setting up a community based tourism project outside Kasanka National Park, and receiving a TAAF award in support of a year spent setting up a beekeeping cooperative with a small local NGO in the Copperbelt. She has worked for the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), City University, and currently works for a grant-making charitable foundation in London.
Margaret Pasquini (Finance Committee)
Following a BSc in Ecology at the University of York (1999), Margaret completed a PhD in Geography at the University of Durham in 2002. She received a TAAF award in 2000 to support the fieldwork for her PhD on peri-urban horticulture around Jos, Nigeria. From 2003 to 2009 Margaret worked at CAZS Natural Resources, Bangor University, in projects focussing on the promotion of indigenous vegetables in rural and peri-urban farming systems in sub-Saharan Africa. She then took up the post of Assistant Professor at the Interdisciplinary Development Studies Centre, Universidad de Los Andes, in Bogotá, Colombia, and undertook research on the use of traditional food crops in Afro-Colombian communities. In August 2013 she joined the Colombian Corporation for Agricultural Research (Corpoica) to take up the post of Director of the Obonuco Research Centre near the town of Pasto, southwest Colombia.
Laurence Sewell has over thirty years experience in international development. He has worked in project management and natural resources planning (including land use planning and participatory rural appraisal techniques for environmental management and resource assessment) in Africa and South Asia; as a strategic planner and institutional development advisor in Central and Eastern Europe, and the Near East; and has wide experience in advising on development in post-conflict situations. He has particular expertise in designing monitoring systems and in the conduct of evaluation studies for bilateral and multilateral donors.
After studying Economics and Politics at Edinburgh University,
Jonathan gained a TAAF award in 2008 to work with the Small Producers’ Association of Talamanca in Costa Rica where he gained experience as a business advisor and financial analyst. Following this, he acquired further work as a consultant for small producer cooperatives and associations in Panama and Belize in sustainable agriculture and
forestry initiatives. Jonathan then worked as a climate change policy analyst with the UK Government’s Committee on Climate Change. He is now an Agricultural Economist in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in London.
Jim Watson (Secretary)
Jim Watson is an independent consultant in Tropical Agriculture (with 40 years experience, now retired) specialising in cotton, oilseeds and general crops research. He has worked mainly in Africa and Asia spending 16 years in Tanzania and Swaziland on cotton breeding and agronomy, followed by three years in Indonesia and Thailand on crop development. Since the 1980s he has mainly been involved in short-term consultancy on tropical agronomy, working for companies and international agencies in more than 30 countries.
Jane is Course Director for a Masters programme in Leadership for Sustainable Development with the Sustainable Development Charity, Forum for the Future. She is also a Sustainability Adviser, working in partnership with public sector organisations in the UK. Recent work has included running a capacity building programme for international sustainable development partnerships, (set up as a result of the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002). She has 20 years experience of managing training, 10 of which were with VSO as Head of Training and Training Advisor. She has experience of working in Thailand, the Solomon Islands and on projects in Bosnia and Tanzania. Until recently she was on the board of the Bristol University Careers Service.