Panellists confirmed for the Forum on Open Science and Open Data in Agriculture in Namibia next Monday 18 April

The half-day forum is based around two senior-level panel discussions that will look at issues of open data and science in agriculture in the light of Sustainable Development Goals. Panelists are attending from a mixture of agriculture-related institutions in Namibia and the sub region (see below) and the morning will be split into two 45-minute expert and senior policy panel sessions with follow-up Q&As in Plenary. Wider details and background about the forum can be found here.

Panel 1: “Open Data, Open Science, Sustainable Development Goals and Research in Agriculture”.


Dr. Babagana Ahmadu – FAO Representative to Namibia and former FAO representative to the Republic of The Gambia. A veterinarian with 25 years experience in veterinary institutions across Africa he has extensively published scientific articles on veterinary medicine in Africa and previously held the titles of Director for the Department of Rural Economy and Agriculture in the African Union Commission in Ethiopia.

Ms Loide Uahengo is Senior Program Officer at the National Commission on Research, Science and Technology. The NCRST was set up in recognition of the importance of research, science and technology as an engine of social growth. Its chief mission is to establish a national system in Namibia that promotes and develops research, science, technology and innovation towards a knowledge-based society.

Dr N. Patricia Petrus is a senior lecturer in Animal Science, Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Namibia. The faculty promotes sustainable agriculture and natural resources development and management in Namibia through teaching, research and outreach services to the livestock industry. It has an added emphasis on communal and commercial farming communities. Dr. Petrus’ specific research interests are: Poultry and Ostrich Production, Pig and Rabbit Production

Professor Timothy Simalenga is the Executive Director of the Centre for Co-ordination of Agricultural Research and Development for Southern Africa, (CCARDESA), a Southern Africa Development Community, (SADC), sub- regional organization, headquartered in Gaborone, Botswana. He leads CCARDESA in developing and generating broad support for the implementation of CCARDESA’s strategy and vision of a food secure Southern Africa.
Dr. Justin Chisenga is an information management officer at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. He leads capacity development initiatives for the exchange of knowledge between stakeholders in food, agriculture and rural development; support participatory approaches in knowledge exchange and information management with emphasis on the use of digital Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs); and support FAO communication and visibility activities and initiatives in Africa.

Panel 1 speakers and topics:

Moderator: Prof. Kingo Mchombu

  • Open Data and Open Science: Brief Overview – Dr. Justin Chisenga, Capacity Development Officer, FAO of the United Nations, Rome, Italy
  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Food and Agriculture Dr. Babagana Ahmadu, FAO Representative to Namibia.
  • Namibia’s Research, Science and Technology Policy/Agenda - Dr. Eino Mvula, Chief Executive Officer, National Commission on Research, Science and Technology, Namibia
  • Agriculture Research at the University of Namibia -  Dr Patricia Petrus, Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Namibia
  • Agriculture Research and Innovations Agenda in Southern Africa – Professor Timothy Simalenga, Executive Director, Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development for Southern Africa (CCARDESA), Botswana

Panel 2: “Open Data and Open Science in Agriculture”


Gracian Chimwaza is the founding director for ITOCA Information Training & Outreach Centre for Africa. He currently serves on the Research4Life Programs Executive Council, the IAALD Africa Executive Board and is also Chair of the International Advisory Group for the Mobilising Knowledge for Development (MK4D), Institute for Development Studies (UK).


Ms Veno Kauria is Director of the Namibia Library and Archives Service, (NLAS), Namibia. NLAS acts as a central agency for the implementation of National and International standards relating to library and Information work. Its missions is to secure equal access to knowledge and information for lifelong learning by creating and maintaining a professional expertise and nationwide network of libraries/information centers.


Prof. Kingo Mchombu is Pro Vice Chancellor: Academic Affairs and Research, International University of Management. Among other subjects he has published work on knowledge management and indigenous knowledge management, while his current research into scholarly communication research projects is supported by the IDRC of Canada. Honorary President of Book Aid International, he is also on the editorial board of several African and international refereed journals.


Mr. Lazarus Matizirofa (no photo available) is team leader in Data, Content & Curation Management Services, Knowledge Management Corporate, National Research Foundation (NRF), South Africa. Established as an independent government agency the NRF aims to promote and support research through in order to promote innovation and development in all fields of science and technology in South Africa. 
Since 2006 Imma Subirats-Coll has been working as senior knowledge and information management officer at FAO. She supports organizations in the creation, management, preservation and dissemination of information and data in agriculture, fisheries and forestry. Her work includes developing capacities in country members to enable information management specialists and data managers to manage and exchange knowledge and data in agriculture. In this context she designs and delivers online and face-2-face training programmes, in particular emphasis in Africa, Asia and Latin America. She represents FAO in several global research data and information initiatives, like the Research Data alliance (RDA).

Panel 2 speakers and topics:

Moderator: Dr Justin Chisenga

  • Open Data and Open Science: Challenges and Benefits of Sharing Data in Agriculture – Ms Imma Subirats, Information Management Officer, FAO of the United Nations, Rome, Italy
  • Access to Global Research in Agriculture to Support National and Regional Research and Academic Programmes – Mr. Gracian Chimwaza, Executive Director, ITOCA, South Africa
  • Major Initiatives and Strategies on Open Access to Data/Information in Namibia: Challenges and Lessons learned - Ms Veno Kauaria, Director, Namibia Library and Archives Service (NLAS), Namibia.
  • The Role of Researchers in Promoting Open Data and Open Science and Potential Challenges in Namibia and in Sub-Saharan Africa - Prof. Kingo Mchombu – Pro Vice Chancellor: Academic Affairs and Research, International University of Management, Namibia.
  • Institutional and National Policy Implications for Adopting Open Data and Open Science Strategies - Mr. Lazarus Matizirofa - Team Leader: Data, Content & Curation Management Services, Knowledge Management Corporate, National Research Foundation (NRF), South Africa

The forum takes place Monday 18 April at the Avani Hotel in Windhoek, Namibia. It is co-organized by the FAO of the United Nations alongside the National University of Namibia (UNAM), Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN), Information Training and Outreach Centre for Africa (ITOCA), and Research4Life