Dr Marinda Visser

University of Pretoria
Innovation Africa

Director: Strategic Projects and Partnerships in Agriculture


Dr Visser has more than 19 years’ experience in the Agricultural industry, 13 at senior leadership level. She has extensive knowledge in the field of Agricultural research and policy, gained from diverse Agricultural industries. She started her career at the Agricultural Research Council as a Senior Plant Pathologist and her previous roles includes Chief Director: Plant Production and Health; and Director: Plant Health at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

Most recently, she managed the Grain Research and Policy Centre at Grain SA where she spearheaded an initiative of building consortia of experts from the various universities, private seed companies and public research institutions for the different grain and oilseed commodities. In her role at Grain SA, Dr Visser focused on research and all regulatory and policy aspects for the grain industry in South Africa. She led the development of significant national research networks and platforms that connect universities, industry and Government. 

These include a Crop Improvement consortium focused on establishing a wheat-breeding platform with an aim to revitalise the wheat industry in South Africa; a Crop Protection Consortium that focuses on economically-important pests and diseases and a Climate Resilience Consortium for the grain industry that brings together national, regional and international experts. 

Dr Visser is passionate about training and developing the youth of South Africa to be leaders in agriculture for the future. During her time at Grain SA, Dr Visser contributed to the development of critical skills for the grain industry by spearheading initiatives ranging from bursaries and internship programmes, to training smallholder farmers in the Farmer Development programme.  

She is a member of several industry technical steering committees for the summer and winter grains. Her involvement in the different commodity forums ensures that research focuses on priorities for the grain and oilseed industry. She has published in Harvest SA, SA Grain, Farmers Weekly and other related grain industry publications and regularly engages via other media forms as a trusted voice in Agriculture in South Africa.