Santa Clara University

Food & Agribusiness Institute
Location: Lucas Hall
Room number: Suite 111, Office A

Mike Harwood

Professor of Practice, Food & Agribusiness Institute


Mike has taught food and agribusiness MBA courses at the Leavey Business School over the past 15 years. To complement a long international management and consulting career, Mike has committed 20% of his work time over the past decade to NGOs involved with agricultural development in Africa, most recently with the Gates Foundation.

He received his MBA in Agribusiness in 1992 at Santa Clara while managing start-up plant biotech companies in San Jose. At UC Davis, he earned his MS in International Agricultural Development (Agricultural Economics) in 1968 and his Bachelor of Science in Plant Genetics and Agronomy in 1966. Mike has taught several courses at Santa Clara, including Biotech Business DevelopmentGlobal Challenges for Agribusiness and Marketing Food Products. He is preparing a new course, Strategy Development in Food & Beverage Industries, for introduction in 2015.  

He continues to work as a senior associate for The Context Network after 18 years of collaboration.  Context is a leading business management and strategy consulting firm that serves the world’s agriculture, plant biotechnology and food companies. Prior to Context, Mike worked as a manager or consultant in plant breeding, seed industry, plant protection chemicals, agricultural development and food processing sectors for 30 years. He spent much of that period overseas. His in-depth country exposure during that time includes West Africa (CARE & USAID), Egypt (KPMG/World Bank), Netherlands, UK & Brazil (Royal Dutch/Shell), Nigeria, UAE, Indonesia (FMC Food Machinery Div.) and the Mid-East/Africa zone, based in Greece (FMC Agric. Chemicals). This was followed by 10 years managing Bay Area plant biotech start-up companies (now merged with Dow and Monsanto). 

Over the past 12 years, Mike has sought to re-establish his earlier involvement with agricultural development in poor countries. He has consulted with The Cooperative League of the USA (CLUSA) in Angola, Senegal, Niger and Zambia, ACDI/VOCA in Mozambique & Tajikistan, Land O’Lakes in Nigeria and the Gates Foundation in Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana and Uganda.  His work in Africa has focused on smallholder food crop value chain analysis (corn, sorghum, millet, peanuts, cowpeas and cooking banana), to improve input availability and financing, intensify production systems, and develop market channel and processing strategies.

Mike is also involved with the undergraduate pathway, Food, Hunger, Poverty & the Environment at Santa Clara University. He developed and taught Feeding the World, and has accompanied Immersion trips to Costa Rica/Nicaragua and Ghana. He plans on joining the Cuba visit in 2015.   

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