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VCB-N Steering Committee and Secretariat

Md. Rubaiyath Sarwar

CHAIRPERSON, from 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 16 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) which is the largest online platform of development professionals in Bangladesh. With over 24,000 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.

Pham Thi Hanh Tho

From CASRAD, Vietnam

Ms. Tho Thi Hanh Pham is a specialist in agricultural development, focusing on value chain research and 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. As being trained in agricultural and food business, food safety certification for the value chain smallholders in Ireland, Denmark, and Australia and experienced in market systems and value chain research and development, she has been involved in the value chain tool-book production and testing in the field. 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. In the food market system, ensuring food quality including safety is one of her research interests. Product branding and labelling especially the community brand i.e. Geographical Indicator and Collective Brand are also her strong expertise. 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 has been involved in Agro-ecology and Bio-Trade research and development. The products made from these systems are increasingly demanded, especially in the high-end markets. In such production systems, the value chain stakeholders will be benefited sustainably and inclusively. These are also one of the best options for the rural poor in the mountainous and disadvantage areas in Vietnam and Asia.

Liu Yonggong

VICE CHAIRPERSON, From China Agricultural University, China

Yonggong Liu is a 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 is the faculty at COHD 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, Prof. Liu serves as Senior Advisor for Agri-Business Cooperation Platform of China-German Agricultural Center (DCZ), Vice Chairperson of Steering Committee of Value Chain Capacity Building Network (VCB-N), Chief Technical Advisor of FAO/GEF funded Jiangxi Provincial Wetland Management Project.

Tutik Rachmawati

From SMED, Indonesia

Tutik Rachmawati, Ph.D., is the director of the Centre for Public Policy and Management Studies. She has a Master’s degree in local and regional development from the Institute of Social Studies, Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of Erasmus Rotterdam University (ERU)- The Netherlands and a doctoral degree in Local Government Studies from the Institute of Local Government Studies, University of Birmingham – United Kingdom.

With a pedagogy background in development studies, she has been working for local community development for more than ten years, including local economic community development, which involves students’ role as the co-facilitators. As an expert in local government studies, she is also frequently working as a public policy expert advisory for both government institutions and several projects funded by International Funds and Government.

She is good at establishing a solid network with stakeholders in the government, private and business associations, finance institutions, and other stakeholders. She is also excellent at synthesising research result into a practical models used as technical guidelines for similar programs or trainings. She is also good at developing project designs, project implementations and project monitoring and evaluations as well as access to market. She has done capacity building initiatives within internal staffs and partners. She is also very knowledgeable in poverty and community empowerment issues. Having knowledge in tools for capacity building for social enterprises and micro-enterprises adds to her valuable expertise.

She is an active member of the Center of Excellence in Small and Medium Enterprise Development Parahyangan Catholic. She has won several fellowships such as STUNED- the Netherlands Government, Japan-Indonesian Presidential Scholarship (JIPS), Summer University – Central European University, IATSS Japan, and Mesopartner-Germany. She is an active member of the Indonesian Association of Public Administration (IAPA). She is an active reviewer for national and international academic journals such as Sustinere: Journal of Environment and Sustainability and Jurnal Ilmu Administrasi – Lembaga Administrasi Negara, Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance. She has done research and published articles in national and international journals and popular media on public management, public ethics, Information Communication and Technology for public administration, development studies, public entrepreneurship, and local economic development.

Dr. Rajendra Singh Gautam

From ILRT, India

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 from Madhya Pradesh Institute of Social Science Research & Vikram University, Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, India. He has over 18 years of experience of research, training and consultancy in academics and development sector especially livelihood promotion, institutional development, value chain development, decentralized governance, community based natural resources management, ground water governance, forestry based livelihood promotion, labour market analysis, skill & 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, etc., in national and international journals of repute.

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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