BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Mr. Jitendra Sinha
Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Jitendra Sinha is a triple Masters in Agricultural Economics; Development Planning; and Rural Development from India and Europe. He has been trained as Social Entrepreneur by the Miller Centre, California, USA and the UnLtd India for over five years.
He has worked for more than 25 years before taking charge as CEO of SAI. The key positions earlier held by him are:
- International Chief Technical Advisor to UNDP/GEF and Government of Iran
- International Team Leader-Evaluation to EU Programs in Bangladesh & China
- South-South Cooperation Specialist to UNDP and Govt of Lao PDR & Bangladesh
- Team Leader – Monitoring & Evaluation to World Bank funded project on Horticulture Development in India
- Advisor to WBG/IFC Farm Forestry Program in India
Mr. Sinha has published 14 books on development issues.
Ms. Shivani Sinha
Shivani has completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Textile Designing in 1998 and a Graduate Degree in Arts in 1996.
She has been working on women and children issues since 1999. She initially worked as Vice Principal of a reputed educational institution between 1999 and 2006. After a brief stint of two years abroad she joined an NGO to work on women and children health and livelihoods improvement.
Shivani co-founded SAI-Sustainable Agro in 2013, and since then has been working with tribal community, looking after health, education and livelihoods aspects. She manages her time between field office at Koraput and head-quarter at Navi Mumbai.
Mr. Mahesh Ramachandran
Mr Ramachandran is a successful Serial and Social Entrepreneur. He brings with him several decades of rich & varied experience in the field of Entrepreneurship, FinTech, Leadership, Digital Marketing, Mentoring & Governance.
Mr. Ramachandran acts as non-executive director on the boards of several multi-national companies and innovative start-ups. He
- Chairs the TiE FinTech Special Interest Group on FinTech.
- Cofounder & CEO of Commonwealth Inclusive Growth Services Ltd
- Director (International Business) of Commonwealth Investment Corporation and Partner Pontaq, a UK India Innovation Fund.
- Founder Member, Indian Professionals Forum, a UK based think tank.
- Visiting Faculty of Indian School of Business and Bennett University
Mr. Ramachandran holds an MBA from University of Westminster, Sloan Masters in Leadership & Strategy (Distinguished Sloan Fellow of London Business School) from University of London. Now appointed by the Ministry of Information Technology as a Mentor for Fintech Startups. His organization Pontaq has been approved by SEBI to manage funds for investments in select startups.
Dr. Shyam N. Nigam
Dr. Shyam N. Nigam is a renowned groundnut scientist with distinction of having released more than 125 groundnut cultivars in 35 countries in Asia and Africa. He worked with International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in different positions during 1974-2012 in Asia and Africa. He serves in various committees at State and Central levels. In addition to crop improvement, he specializes in seed systems and farmer participatory research and development.
Dr. Nigam is honoured with several international awards, notables among them are: Medal for Agriculture and Rural Development from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Government of Vietnam; Distinguished Carrier Achievements Recognition by the Peanut Genome Consortium International Peanut Genome Initiative, USA; Doreen Mashler Award – 2009 by ICRISAT; Distinguished Scientific Achievement for long standing partnership by Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC), Bangladesh; Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC), Nepal; Department of Agriculture, Sri Lanka; and Cagayan Valley Integrated Agricultural Research Centre (DA-CVIARC), the Philippines.
Mr Gurumani was until 2013 Country Director, India with Project Concern International. Thereafter, he helped set up a pioneering NGO dedicated to primary health care. He has over four decades of experience in industry, consulting and social development. In addition to social development, he has worked in banking, manufacturing, consumer products, hotels and oil exploration and refining, holding increasing responsibilities. He has acquired Masters Qualifications in Management Science, Commerce and Systems Management.
An award-winning manager and a Rotary International Fellow, Mr Gurumani’s work includes both line and staff management. Passionate about helping people, systems and organizations perform better; Mr Gurumani is also an internationally certified Workshop Leader in the celebrated Heal Your Life process of Louise Hay.
Mr. Sanjay Upadhyay
Senior Advocate, Supreme Court, & Managing Partner, ELDF
Mr Upadhyay is the founder and managing partner of the India’s first environmental law firm, Enviro Legal Defence Firm. A Visiting Fellow at the Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley; and a legal intern to the Earth Justice Legal Defense Fund, San Francisco, a Global Fellow in Marine Policy at the Duke University, North Carolina, he started his professional career at the World Wide Fund for Nature– India at the Centre for Environmental Law.
Sanjay has served as an environmental and development law expert to most well-known International, Multilateral, national and state Institutions including the World Bank, ADB, IUCN, DFID, AFD, FAO, UNDP, IIED, ODI to name a few. He has been in the drafting Committees of several laws in India and abroad including Wildlife Act, Forest Rights Act, Nagaland Biodiversity Rules, Land Acquisition law of Afghanistan, Forest Sector Policy of Himachal Pradesh, Medicinal Plant Policies of Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand among others.
Ms. Deepshikha Dalchand
Chief Strategy Officer
An engineer in biotechnology from BITS Ranchi, Deepshikha then went abroad to pursue her Masters of Science with a specialization in Tropical Biodiversity and Ecosystems from Europe. She has worked with double and triple bottom line ecotourism companies, developing sustainable tourism projects in villages. She has also conducted and led environmental and community-focused expeditions for student groups from international schools and colleges. Her team’s work in Uttarakhand was awarded the National Tourism Award under the category of ‘Best Rural/Agri/Plantation Tourism Project’ in 2019. From 2016-2020, she was a part of the volunteer Core Team of the Standby Task Force, an international NGO based in the USA.
Ms. Akankshya Behera
Field Coordinator - Odisha
Akankshya joined SAI in December 2020, and is now in charge of SAI Operations in Odisha. A Botany Graduate, she went on to complete her Master’s in Social Work from Sambalpur University, Odisha. Prior to joining SAI, she worked as a Counsellor cum Center In Charge for Mission Ashra for about two years.
She works with the Cluster Coordinators and CRP’s to ensure smooth functioning of the plantation and harvesting.
Mr. Tankadhar Sahu
Training & Procurement In charge
Tankadhar or Bapi worked at Utkal Alumina as local supervisor earlier. He is a local youth, stays in one of the SAI’s intervention village. He joined SAI as Community Resource Person in 2015. Based on his performance he has been promoted as In charge-Training & Procurement from 2018.
He has received training on agriculture & horticulture development, as well as organic farming by the Odisha government.
Ms. RITUPARNNA PATI
Cluster Coordinator, Millet
Rituparnna is the newest addition to our field team, who joined SAI as an Intern and then went on to become a Cluster Coordinator for SAI. She is an Agriculture Graduate.
She is in charge of handling millet-based operations in the Rayagada District, and works with the Field Coordinator CRP’s to coordinate plantation and procurement.
Mr Dekhina Majhi
Cluster Coordinator - Rayagada
Dekhina is a tribal farmer from Dongasil Panchayat in Kashipur block who earlier collaborated with SAI in 2016 to promote agroforestry on his barren land. He has studied up to 10th standard.
He joined SAI as CRP in 2017. Dekhina is looking after Dongasil cluster in Rayagada district by mobilizing and training farmers; assisting them in preparing the field, completing crop cultivation and plantation activities and providing them regular technical support. He is also in-charge of managing the Renga cluster, and monitors the CRP’s work in these two areas.