If the corporate world is to pursue a global food security agenda, it cannot ignore the role of small-scale farming systems. Therefore it is essential they make connections with local organisations.▶
Responsible for world-wide Development Projects and Account manager Organic at Rijk Zwaan. Heleen is responsible for international contacts and content development of Rijk Zwaan’s small scale projects on vegetable production in developing countries. Responsible for Rijk Zwaan’s organic programme world wide.
Rijk Zwaan is a people-orientated organisation and has a wealth of specific knowledge about plant breeding and growing. These elements are combined in our development projects which are designed to increase the level of knowledge of growers in less-developed areas and in doing so contribute to fighting poverty in the world. By making our knowledge about growing techniques available to growers we want to increase their chances to generate sufficient income to have a good life. We choose projects that enable us to be closely involved, so that we can make a real
contribution to the prosperity of the population. Our own employees are closely involved in these projects.
For Rijk Zwaan she works in Tanzania with Afrisem, which aims to eventually provide local African horticulture with hybrid varieties. These should enable growers to realise a good yield, be resistant to any pests and diseases and meet the wishes of the local market. By teaching and passing on knowledge to African farmers we want to offer structural help to Africa and contribute to the development of horticulture in this continent.
She also worked in Bangladesh (May 1997 – Jan 2001) for DG Interprojects GmbH as consultant/Deputy Team Leader on Farmer Beased Seed Enterprise Development (Training/Gender Expert). Development and implement participatory training programme; Work out financing and credit systems to support farmers seeds groups; Develop concepts and strategies for private seeds business development in Bangladesh; Develop concept and strategies for involving women in small scale seed business; Establish functional and effective private pulice partnering in seeds sector Bangladesh.
In Nicaragua (Jan 1988 – Jul 1994) she worked for the Dutch Development Organisation S.N.V. as senior advisor at the Instituto Nicaraguense de Tecnologia Agopecuarua INTA, Matagalpa. Senior adviser on participatory extension methods, farmer seed production, enterprise development & gender policy and strategy; Researcher on farmers and local seed systems in small-scale farming.