David Neuwirth, Partner

David Neuwirth

David Neuwirth
Email: david.neuwirth@heartland-global.com

David Neuwirth is a proven, senior level executive with over 40 years demonstrated success in the consumer and business to business marketplaces.

Focusing primarily on the global and domestic food, agricultural, and nutrition industries, David Neuwirth’s specialty is strategic planning and positioning, strategic marketing, and product/market/business development.

In his numerous consulting positions, Mr. Neuwirth has successfully accomplished P&L growth for his clients in all aspects of their businesses including marketing, sales, product development/R&D, strategic positioning, acquisitions/mergers, operations, and human resources.

Mr. Neuwirth has also held senior management positions within the food/nutrition and service industries, including Executive Director of Novus Nutrition Brands LLC, where he initiated and grew three new global business units for Novus International. Neuwirth’s other senior positions have been with Procter & Gamble, Holiday Inns Inc., Ralston Purina, and Protein Technologies International. Within these companies, he led task forces to set corporate direction, led corporate growth efforts, accomplished divisional turnarounds, addressed business effectiveness, evaluated and initiated appropriate technologies, acquisitions and partnerships, and identified, developed, and launched new products, markets, and businesses worldwide.

Mr. Neuwirth holds an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering and a graduate MBA degree in Marketing.

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Heartland Global CEO calls for strengthened African seed companies and associations

May 9, 2013 

At a World Bank-sponsored seed systems seminar in Washington, DC on May 2, Lloyd Le Page, CEO of Iowa-based Heartland Global, Inc., described the importance of providing African farmers with a more reliable source of locally adapted seed through strong African seed businesses, represented by robust national and regional seed industry groups such as the African Seed Trade Association (AFSTA).  The private sector has been key to improving diversity and availability of new varieties, and would benefit from a more enabling policy and business environment. Efforts should include incentives and flexible financing products that support the nascent African seed sector. In comparison, India’s seed industry has flourished under policy and regulatory reforms in the 1980’s and 90’s that made way for a more competitive environment, and changed national government’s role from a competitor to an enabler.

AFSTA, a membership body representing 26 national seed associations and over 84 seed company and stakeholder members, has a long record of sustained, on-the-ground presence in addressing seed issues through its member associations, as well as directly with regional and international actors.  Speaking on behalf of the AFSTA Secretary General, Mr. Le Page outlined the current challenges and constraints inhibiting successful growth of the seed industry. Obstacles identified by member seed associations in an EU-funded national stakeholder dialogue included lack of effective implementation of existing regional seed regulatory harmonization agreements, seed technical and business management capacity, access to capital, and lack of coordination among donor and country seed initiatives, among others.  Participants stressed the need to continue pursuing reforms on seed policy, laws and the implementation of regulations that enable the flow of germplasm across borders and along African agro-ecozones. Mr. Le Page noted that solutions are emerging through a public-private partnership between the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) and AFSTA, known as the Alliance for the Seed Industry in East and Southern Africa (ASIESA), designed with USAID support, and now seeking funding from donors and partners.

During the May 2 seminar, seed specialists and representatives from the  World Bank Group, as well as other actors from USAID, the Bill & Melinda Gates FoundationCGIARFAOAGRA, and African and Indian private sector, civil society and land grant universities discussed the types of interventions, opportunities and challenges that exist in Africa’s seed sector. According to representatives present, the World Bank Group contributed more than US$500 million to the seed sector between 2007-2012, but this largely went to public initiatives, and there was a need to improve on outcomes.  The majority of World Bank’s global seed interventions have gone toward Africa, especially in the form of emergency lending to the public sector post the 2008 food crises.

Human capacity within seed companies, the associations that represent them, and government seed regulatory authorities are also critical to a healthy seed sector.  Although training breeders is a critical need, other business and production related training is just as important in the sector. Partnerships in the distribution chain such as local distributors and agro-dealer networks, as well as demonstrations with customers, are critical in improving supply and demand for high quality seed. Community-based seed production has a role in areas and crops that are under-served by seed companies at present, and innovative partnerships with these systems as part of commercial supply chains could provide a win-win situation for all.

Concluding his remarks, Mr. Le Page delivered a message from the Nairobi-based Secretary General, Mr. Justin Rakotoaris​aona, calling  upon seed actors across all sectors to come together to support the industry across the continent, and to develop rational business-led strategies around these recommendations. AFSTA is recognized by the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and COMESA as the apex seed industry organization and is well positioned to play a leading role in coordinating efforts in the sector.

Click here to see the full outline of Mr. Le Page’s presentation.

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Heartland Global, Inc. is a community development business headquartered in Iowa, USA and with operations in Africa and Asia. Heartland Global’s vision is to deliver value-chain and technology innovations that provide lasting economic and livelihood growth, helping communities solve their own needs sustainably. Heartland Global’s activities focus primarily on farming, agri-business and food value chain investments and creating business to business relationships.  

Editors Note:Heartland Global, Inc.

Heartland Global actively seeks the best seed solutions for our customers, and we believe in the critical need for collaboration at all levels to ensure that companies and farmers have access to the right seeds for their environment.  To that end, we foster innovative partnerships that have the ability to accelerate the development and delivery of improved seed technology and locally adapted products.  We also conduct local trials, demonstrations and analysis to ensure the value of the solutions we provide to our clients.  In sum, we believe that seed innovation and technology delivery must be supported by holistic solutions that provide knowledge in use, improved market access and ongoing support which go beyond a single project’s lifespan.

For more information on Heartland Global, Inc. go to www.heartland-global.com.

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Heartland Global Gender In Agriculture Series: Finding Monica

“Monica was a street hawker, and a very good one too.  During a walk on the streets of Nairobi, Kenya, I discovered just how good she was: I handed over money to purchase a flashlight she was selling, despite my own perfectly functioning flashlight being in the bag I was carrying on that very walk.  So I immediately I asked her to work with me.  Monica was just what I needed to convince farmers to try research outputs.  And I knew that once these new innovations were tried, the results would speak for themselves.”

World Bank women in marketCurt Carnemark, The World Bank

My friend Paul Seward (the ever unassuming CEO of Farm Inputs Promotion Scheme) once told me this story, and its profound implications have stuck with me.  It turns out that in his efforts to get farm inputs from the labs and warehouses of researchers and innovation providers, to the fields of farmers, Paul had encountered more resistance than anticipated.  His efforts revealed a simple truth: Approximately half the farmers he encountered were women; however, this critical mass of women farmers did not have the same access to information, resources and decision-making opportunities as men.  Furthermore, Paul often found that the women’s husbands did not take well to their wives spending time buying farm inputs and receiving information from male stockists (retail outlet owners).  In the face of these dual barriers – gender inequality and farmers’ reluctance to try new methods – Paul decided something needed to be done.

So he began to recruit women and provide them with the resources to become farm-input stockists.  He decided to target women who served as the heads of their households and women who were already well trusted in the community.  He focused on giving them the support and training necessary to fully establish themselves in their new roles as stockists, and he also encouraged them to utilise opportunities for marketing new farm inputs to reluctant farmers.  For example, market days – when women were already gathered en masse to buy and sell goods – proved to be an ideal opportunity for the women stockists to pitch new inputs to a “captive” audience; they had a good excuse to be at the market, and had time to discuss the farm inputs on sale.  

Similarly, working with primary schools enabled girls as well as boys to see firsthand, and at a young age, the benefits of improved varieties and agronomy.  In some cases, self-pollinating crops provided an ideal opportunity for women with limited resources to benefit from research: Through a “seed loan,” the women received improved vegetable seed, which they then could plant and watch flourish.  They then then “paid it back” with the seed reaped from these harvests.

None of this was rocket science, it just required attention: A team sitting down with and listening to women farmers and stockists, identifying the issues inhibiting women farmers’ participation and decision-making ability, and then brainstorming simple solutions for how these issues could be addressed. 

And then, of course, the most critical factor was identifying the Monicas – those female leaders who have the ability and drive to get the work done on the ground. Part of Paul’s success at FIPS was identifying where his organization needed to focus on working with women, then backing this up by partnering with the individuals who would be able to successfully do something about it.

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Our Gender in Agriculture Series is written by Heartland Global partner Dr. Andrew Ward.  Heartland Global’s vision is to deliver value-chain and technology innovations that provide lasting economic and livelihood growth, helping communities solve their own needs sustainably.

For more information on Heartland Global, Inc. see www.heartland-global.com.

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