SPOTLIGHT: Achieving success (Part 1)

It has been some time since the last post, however I encourage all readers to look forward to the continuity of this blog. Such an endeavor requires dedication, a trait we should all have, especially within the agriculture industry.

No matter, which sector you are interested in, if you are agri youth, or a high level stakeholder dedication and persistence is key within this noble profession.

At the GCARD2 event, there were a small number of professionals representing the Caribbean. One of the most stand out individuals was Dr. Jimmy Smith, Director of the International Livestock Research Insititute (ILRI).

Fortunately, an interview was made possible with Dr. Smith allowing an insight into the factors to achieving success in this noble profession:

Dr. Jimmy Smith – Director General of the International Livestock Research Institute

Interviewer: Dr. Smith, pleasure to meet you. Please briefly explain your career, from your beginnings as a Caribbean Youth in Agriculture to present time.

Dr. Smith: Please call me Jimmy. To start with here are concise points to my career:

  • Began as a  Guyanese youth and one of  seven children. Our family practices mixed farming of cattle and citrus
  • Studied at the Guyana school of agriculture and earned a diploma in agriculture
  • Moved onto a Bachelor’s of Science in Animal Agriculture at the Tuskegee University in Alabama, then a PHd in Animal Physiology
  • Worked at the Caribbean Agriculture Research Institute and then migrated to Canada for a position at the Canadian Development Institute.
  • Some time after, I became a part of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)
  • Following this, 10 years of my career was spent in Africa at the International Livestock Center for Africa (now called ILRI)
  • Previously, my portfolio involved the leadership and management of the World Bank’s Livestock Portfolio
  • And most recently appointed the Director General of ILRI in April 2011

Interviewer: What are your motivators? who influenced you?

Dr. Smith: My parents where the major driving force as a modest family attempting to escape poverty.

I was taught to make use of all educational opportunities and that there are no second chances! It is through these opportunities that I attained technical knowledge.

Coupled with my environment and hard work as a youth, I had and still do posses confidence in my agricultural knowledge and my ability to apply it effectively.

Another important aspect is self motivation. The best attitude to every obstacle or endeavor is to do it to the best of your abilities. Nothing worth doing is easy and once it’s complete you can reap the rewards and enjoy what you have earned.

We’ll pause here until the next post,  to avoid an exceeding long read. The interview will be continued in the next post- Spotlight: Achieving success (Part 2). 


  1. Thank you for this post, It seemed like an very Interesting interview, and goes to show that hard work and consistency definetly pays of. Taking full advantage of each opportunity is my take away lesson from this post.Also reminds me of a recent quote which I learnt and adheres to is that “Luck is Opportunity, Meeting Preparedness” In other words when the opportunity arises it is compulsory upon you that you be prepared to undertake it, to its fullest capacity. Thank you, keep up the good work TECHNOLOGY4AGRI!!!

  2. Pingback: SPOTLIGHT: Achieving Success (Part 2) « technology4agri

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