Developing country experts

Six developing country experts from different regions worldwide are part of the STDF and they rotate every two years. Developing country experts take part in STDF Working Group meetings, share experiences on SPS technical cooperation, provide guidance to review funding applications, and promote the STDF in relevant regional and international events.
Rommel Betancourt

With over 26 years of experience in the agricultural sector, Rommel Betancourt currently serves as the General Coordinator for Food Safety at Ecuador's Phyto and Zoosanitary Regulation and Control Agency. In this role, he helps ensure that plant and animal products adhere to rigorous food safety standards. Rommel also oversees the national control system on organic production, good agricultural practices certification, and the surveillance and control of primary food. Beyond his national responsibilities, he chairs the Codex Alimentarius FAO/WHO Coordinating Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean, with 33 member countries, and the Inter-American Commission on Organic Agriculture, with 19 member countries. Rommel holds a Master of Science in Animal Husbandry from the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Poland, and a Specialist title from the International Trade Negotiations from the Catholic University in Quito, Ecuador.  

Nime Kapo  

Nime Kapo is a veterinarian with over 20 years of experience in animal health. He has worked as a regional veterinarian and as Chief Veterinary Officer for the government of Papua New Guinea's (PNG) biosecurity service. Notably, he was PNG's first delegate to the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) and initiated the country's implementation of the WOAH Performance of Veterinary Services (PVS) Tool. Nime has also collaborated extensively with PNG's public health sector on International Health Regulation (IHR) issues such as zoonoses and antimicrobial resistance. Currently, he works as a freelance consultant, providing expertise in biosecurity, transboundary animal disease management, market access, One Health, and livestock development. Nime holds a Master's in Tropical Veterinary Science from James Cook University, Australia, and a Master's in Management from the University of Natural Resources and Environment in Papua New Guinea.

Martin Kimanya

Martin Kimanya has over 27 years of experience in national and international food safety and quality control services. Currently, he provides scientific advice to the East African Community (EAC) in the harmonization of food standards and SPS measures (through GIZ -Tanzania). He also supervises research on food safety for the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology and provides guidance on the development of Africa positions for the Codex Committee on Contaminants in Foods. Martin has previously worked with the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA) and the former Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA). He holds a PhD in Applied Biological Sciences from Ghent University, Belgium and has a background in food science.

Mary Grace Mandigma

Mary Grace Mandigma is the Chief Science Research Specialist and concurrent Assistant Director-Designate at the Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards in the Philippines. She recently led the development and implementation of the STDF- funded project preparation grant (PPG) – Piloting the use of good regulatory practices (GRPs) in agriculture and fisheries. In addition, Grace is a member of several committees, including the National Codex Organization (SCO) subcommittees on General principles and Food Import and Export Inspection. Grace holds a bachelor's degree in food technology from the University of the Philippines and a master's in development management from the Development Academy of the Philippines.

MaryLucy Oronje        

MaryLucy Oronje has over 15 years of experience in SPS measures in developing countries. She has extensive knowledge of phytosanitary issues, crop protection, integrated pest management, biological control, crop pollination and pollinator conservation. MaryLucy is a senior SPS Scientist at the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI), based at the Africa Office in Nairobi, Kenya. Her experience includes pest risk analysis, Inspections, surveillance, and other official controls. She is also a certified Global G.A.P Farm Assurer trained in Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles and the STDF P-IMA tool. In 2022, MaryLucy led the development of the Good Practice Guide for Avocado for Kenya and received the "Outstanding Women Award" conferred by the Avocado Society of Kenya. She holds a Ph.D. in Biology from Bielefeld University, Germany.

Jaime Romero

Jaime Romero is a Colombian expert in Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics with over 20 years experience in strengthening veterinary health services in developing countries. He works with the Institute for Corporation on Agriculture (IICA) as an International Professional in the Agricultural Health, Quality and Food Safety programme. In this position, he provides technical cooperation to 34 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) and represents the organization at both international and regional meetings. Jaime has published over 80 pieces in his field, including 30 peer-reviewed papers, eight books, nine book chapters, and four guidelines. He holds a PhD in Veterinary Epidemiology and Economics, an MSc in Agricultural Economics and a bachelor's in veterinary medicine.