Pierre van Hedel joins SoilCares Foundation’s Board

Pierre van Hedel joins SoilCares Foundation’s Board

Pierre van Hedel, former director of Rabobank Foundation, explains how AgroCares’ solutions can contribute to reaching out to smallholder farmers, so they can sustainably produce more food.

AgroCares talks about creating impact among smallholder farmers with Pierre van Hedel, retired director of Rabobank Foundation, with a vast international experience of working for Rabobank and Rabobank Foundation. Pierre has recently joined SoilCares Foundation’s Board. He shares his views on the urgency to sustainably produce more food and why smallholder farmers are key.

Some background on Pierre van Hedel
Pierre has worked over 40 years for Rabobank, starting in education/consultancy and management organization and international affairs. 10 Years ago he became CEO of Rabobank Foundation, which he has built up from his predecessor responsible for the Social Funds of Rabobank to a well known corporate foundation focusing on financing smallholders in 23 developing countries. Next to this is Pierre also involved in education: he is an associate professor at HAS University of applied agricultural sciences in ‘s-Hertogenbosch focusing on cooperatives. Common thread in Pierre’s career is connecting people and organisations, connecting from north with south, from different countries, from ‘have’s with have not’s’ and from people with knowledge with people without knowledge.

Main developments/problems in developing countries
Pierre has worked for more than a decade in developing countries, so he is very aware of trends and developments taking place. What has changed over the years is that there is at least awareness now that something needs to be done, especially at small holder farmers level. 

80 – 90% of all food in Sub-Saharan Africa is produced by small holder farmers, so they are key! The effects of climate change in combination with the rapidly growing population in Sub-Saharan Africa are occurring and problems are increasing. If we don’t enable people to look after themselves catastrophes will happen and will reach us, in ‘safe Europe’ as well.

On the other hand, there is a large potential to increase production (especially East Africa and SE Asia) and current technological developments make this possible.

Added value of AgroCares’ technology
Rabobank Foundation was the launching customer of AgroCares Scanner 2 years ago. The opportunity to sustainably increase production and/or to reduce costs for buying inputs in a digital way with upscaling potential is great and Pierre is still an enthusiastic ambassador of AgroCares.

Board member of SoilCares Foundation
Starting as one of AgroCares’ first ambassadors, Pierre kept following AgroCares during the years and still wants to stay involved. His ambitions as a Board member of SoilCares Foundation is to mobilize his network and to help in upscaling and creating impact. His knowledge and experience of how things work in Sub-Saharan Africa and SE Asia will help AgroCares to empower even more farmers to make informed decisions about soil fertility management

Other SoilCares Foundation board members
Besides Pierre van Hedel, the SoilCares Foundation has the following board members: Geert Westenbrink, Gerard Teuling, Annelies Zoomers and Henri Hekman.