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VCB-N Steering Committee and Secretariat

Md. Rubaiyath Sarwar

Chairperson at VCB-N and Managing Director at Innovision Consulting Private Ltd., Bangladesh

Md. Rubaiyath Sarwar is a specialist in design, management and evaluation of market driven solutions to poverty challenges. His works build on the premise that the multidimensional challenges of poverty can be tackled more sustainably through collaborative and mutually reinforcing commercial and social benefits among the private sector, NGOs and the government agencies. He is the co-founder and Managing Director of Innovision Consulting, an international consultancy with its bases in Dhaka, Bangladesh and London, United Kingdom. Over the last 18 years, Rubaiyath has worked for major DFID, USAID, SDC, EU, GIZ, IFAD projects in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nigeria, Philippines, Somalia, SriLanka and Yemen on solving growth, employment, and inclusiveness challenges in agriculture, health, industries, finance, water, sanitation, hygiene and nutrition sectors.

Rubaiyath is serving as the Chairperson of the Value Chain Capacity Building Network (VCB-N) for The Asia and the Pacific Region. VCB-N is founded with grant from International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to build a regional resource pool of experts for value chains and market systems development projects. He founded Desperately Seeking Development Expert (DSDE), a Facebook based community which is the largest online platform of development professionals in Bangladesh. With over 29,000 members, DSDE plays an influential role in ideation, research, placement, discussion, dialogue and advocacy on development agenda in Bangladesh. He also founded D2, a data analytics company for development research and Baggitude, an online retail channel for trendy bags that are primarily made of sustainable materials. Rubaiyath has completed his BBA and MBA from the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), University of Dhaka. He is an Acumen fellow from Bangladesh.

Dr. Rajendra Singh Gautam

Vice-chairperson at VCB-N and Dean at Institute of Livelihood Research and Training (ILRT), India

Dr. Rajendra Singh Gautam is Dean with Institute of Livelihood Research and Training, India. He has acquired doctoral degree (Ph. D.) in Community based Natural Resources Management in social science from Madhya Pradesh Institute of Social Science Research & Vikram University, Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, India. He has over 18 years of experience of research, capacity building and consultancy in academics and development sector especially on natural resource management, climate change, livelihood promotion, agri-value chain development, decentralized governance, ground water governance, forestry-based livelihood promotion, labour market analysis, skill and entrepreneurship promotion. He has published research papers including case studies on various themes such as natural resource management, democratic decentralization, skill development, NTFPs based value chain development, ground water governance, landscape restoration, etc., in national and international journals of repute. He is also the Vice-chairperson of VCB-N initiated by IFAD at Asia Pacific Region for promotion of pro-poor value chain and market system development.

Tashfiq Ahsan

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Edge Consulting Limited, Bangladesh

Tashfiq Ahsan has more than 13 years of experience in designing and implementing market systems programmes spanning across Bangladesh and the Fiji Islands. He is currently the CEO of EDGE Consulting Limited, a leading research, advisory and training firm in Bangladesh. He has previously worked in Katalyst and Market Development Facility and is currently engaged in several advisory roles with the private sector such as Petrochem (Bangladesh) Ltd, Nil Sagar Ltd etc.
He is deeply passionate about learning and sharing his experiences and enabling others to grow since he believes that strong teams are made through proper coaching and mentoring. He is a certified trainer of Value-chain Capacity Building Network, as a member of its Centers of Excellence in Bangladesh.

Pham Thi Hanh Tho

Vice-director at the Centre for Agrarian Research and Development (CASRAD), Vietnam

Pham Thi Hanh Tho is a specialist in the development sector, focusing on value chain research and
agricultural development. She is keen on finding pathways that help the rural community to innovate their
production and marketing. She is one of the specialists in Vietnam linking different partners together
strengthening the local products in the potential high-end markets. She has been working with different
local and international partners in making market benefits the rural community and smallholders. She has
been engaged in value chain research and development for more than 15 years concerning cross-cutting issues such as poverty reduction, gender equality and climate change mitigation. The community capacity building such as farmer’s groups, cooperatives strengthening, which help to better the value chain linkages is one of her main research and consultancy tasks. Recently, she is involved in the technical team preparing the
National Action Plan for Vietnam for transforming the country food system into a more sustainable one.

Liu Yonggong

Ex-professor at China Agricultural University, China

Yonggong Liu is an ex-Professor at College of Humanities and Development (COHD) and Managing Director of Center for Integrated Agricultural Development (CIAD), China Agricultural University (CAU) in Beijing. Since 1991 he was the faculty at COHD and majored in Rural Development Studies.

His teaching and research focus on Development Studies and Planning; Community Development Management; Climate Change and Community Livelihoods; Natural Resource Management; Poverty Alleviation; and Agricultural Market and Value Chain Development.

Besides the academic activities at the university, he also serves as senior consultant for rural development programs and projects. In the past 30 years, he worked for about 80 agricultural and rural development projects respectively funded by the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Water Resources, Ministry of Ecology and Environment, State Council Office for Poverty Reduction and by international development organizations, such as World Bank, ADB, UNDP, FAO, IFAD, WFP, GEF, as well as by bilateral development agencies like EU, GIZ, DFID, AusAID etc.

Currently, Liu serves as Senior Advisor for Agri-Business Cooperation Platform of China-German Agricultural Center (DCZ), member of Steering Committee of Value Chain Capacity Building Network (VCB-N), Chief Technical Advisor of FAO/GEF funded Jiangxi Provincial Wetland Management Project.

Elivas Simatupang

Lecturer at the Small and Medium Enterprise Development (SMED), Parahyangan Catholic University, Indonesia

Elivas graduated from the London School of Economics (LSE) and Erasmus University of Rotterdam (EUR). He is currently the head of the Research and Development Department of Cimahi Municipality, West Java – Indonesia. He is also an adjunct lecturer at Parahyangan Catholic University and a visiting researcher in Thailand and Vietnam. As an economist and anthropologist by practice, he has worked in agriculture development especially with indigenous communities along the country and abroad for the last 10 years. He also obtained several national awards for some innovations in regional and local economic and entrepreneurship development of indigenous community in Indonesia. Growing up in the northern coastal area of the island of West Java, he is accustomed to involvement in community development of marine sector and mangrove forests.

Khushbu Alam


Khushbu Alam has over 10 years of extensive experience in the area of value chain and market system development. She is a competent project management professional and worked on several donor funded projects in international organizations. She is also committed to women empowerment and gender mainstreaming as a leading gender expert in Bangladesh.
Khushbu holds professional international certification in inclusive market system and value chain development. She is serving the VCB-N network as Coordinator from the year 2021.

Nishat Naila Nilima

Communications Associate

Nishat is currently serving as the Communications Associate at VCB-N. She maintains administrative liaison with the members and associates of the network in order to keep its activities on track. Her skill-set allows her to support the network’s knowledge materials development and dissemination process. Having sound academic knowledge in research & education, Nishat is now professionally thriving in the development sector with an aim to excel in market research and communication management.


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