Consultancy CV
Consultancy CV
Contact Details
Village Ways Pvt Ltd


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VIRGO, Keith J


Agriculture; Irrigation; Land Resources; Community-based Livelihood Development; Participatory Watershed Management; Team Leadership

Date of Birth

9th April 1941

Years of Experience




Proposed Position


Key Experience:

  • Freelance Consultant in Rural Development.

  • Extensive background of rural development and land use planning techniques for irrigation, agriculture, tree crops, soil conservation, salinity control and drainage, with emphasis on community-based, gender-sensitive programmes.

  • Over 15 years experience in senior management posts on rural development/livelihoods programmes, including acting as Local Development Consultant and UK Coordinator on the Koshi Hills Development Programme, Nepal (DFID 1987-93), TA Team Leader on the Doon Valley Watershed Management, India (EC 1992-01) & Consultancy Team Leader on the W India Rainfed Farming Project (DFID 1999-2006).

  • Expertise in project co-ordination, management and operation of multi-discipline teams, including administration, technical and participatory planning, monitoring, impact evaluation and review; institutional development and liaison with funding agencies, government organisations and NGOs. Skilled in report writing and editing, process documenting, newsletters and publicity materials and provision of relevant training.

  • Experience of agricultural planning, project identification, feasibility studies (Project Preparation Unit, GARPAD, Egypt 1984), Review Missions (EC Egypt 1999 & 2004; EC India 2002); Project Formulation (IFAD, India 2002) and Preparation (ADB, Afghanistan, 2005); Project Completion Reporting (ADB, Sri Lanka, 2006).

  • Experience on irrigation development, small-scale farming and settlement projects in N Africa, S Africa, Middle East and Thailand.

  • Practical understanding of technical and administrative procedures for TA projects, including Annual Work Plans & Budgets, PCM and Logical Frameworks.

  • Expertise in planning and facilitating workshops and conferences

Technical Qualifications:

1962 BSc (Hons) Agriculture, Wye College, University of London, UK
1964 MSc Soil Science, University of Aberdeen, UK
1976 Dip.Agr.Eng., Silsoe College (Cranfield University), UK

Training: Project Management (1986); Remote Sensing (1991); PCM - DGVIII (1997)
Member, Institute of Biology
Member, Remote Sensing Society
Executive Committee Member, Tropical Agriculture Association (UK)


Employment Record:

1964-67 Hunting Technical Services Ltd, UK
1967-68 Canada Dept of Agriculture, Alberta
1968-79 Hunting Technical Services Ltd, UK
1980-01 WS Atkins plc, Rural Development & Environment
2001-2006 Part-time WS Atkins & Freelance Consultant.
2001- Freelance Consultant


Languages:      English (mother tongue); French (fair); Arabic (basic spoken/written); Thai (basic spoken); Hindi (very basic).


Professional Experience:


Director, Village Ways Pvt Ltd, Kumaon, Uttarakhand State. Planning, preparation and management of a community-based Responsible Tourism company providing community-managed walking tourism within hill villages, aimed primarily at UK market ( ).


Director, Village Ways Pvt Ltd. Mission to NW Thailand to investigate opportunities for collaborative expansion of community-based responsible tourism in Thailand.


Invited Participant at Moderation Skills Training Workshop, Bangalore. Workshop organised by ENRAP, IFAD & IDRC to strengthen capacities of facilitative learning and experience sharing between national IFAD representatives of the Asia-Pacific Region. Outcome was establishment of an e-discussion ‘Knowledge Facilitators Group’.

Sri Lanka

Watershed Management Consultant, Upper Watersheds Project (ADB Loan Project). ADB Staff Consultant responsible for undertaking a technical review of the outcomes of a seven year conservation-orientated farming and forest rehabilitation project in the central highlands. With the Resident Mission staff, prepared Project Completion Report for the Asian Development Bank.


Documentation Consultant on ‘Aajeevika’ Livelihood Improvement Project for the Himalaya (LIPH), Uttaranchal, under IFAD-IDRC funding. Responsible for guidance on preparation of reports, documenting participatory learning,, circulation of information and establishing linkages.


Watershed Management Specialist, Western Basins Water Resources Management & Irrigated Agriculture Development Project (ADB PPTA). Responsible for identifying upper watershed issues affecting the efficiency of proposed downstream irrigation developments in the Hari Rod Basin, Herat Province, and recommendations for community-based watershed management interventions, through government and NGO systems, including design of pilot phase. Undertaken for SMEC & Agrisystems Ltd.


Team Leader, Bustan Agriculture Development Project Final Evaluation Mission. Leader of three member team, responsible for review of project progress (irrigation, farming systems, involvement of women NGOs and institutional development), review of achievements and lessons learnt, including proposals for future sustenance. Reported to Government of Egypt and EC Delegation. Undertaken for IPP Consultants, under NRIL framework contract.


Director, Village Ways Pvt Ltd, Kumaon, Uttaranchal State. Planning, preparation and management of a Responsible Tourism company designed to encourage community-managed tourism within hill villages, aimed at Indian and UK markets ( ).


Agriculturist & Watershed Management Consultant for IFAD on Project Formulation Mission for the Himalayan Livelihoods Improvement Project. Member of multi-discipline team formulating a project aimed at stimulating rural enterprise in 10 districts of Meghalaya and Uttaranchal States, for funding by IFAD. Responsible for agriculture/horticulture, watershed management and water resource aspects.


Team Leader, Mid-term Review Mission of the EC-supported Transfer of Technologies for Sustainable Development Project, implemented by the NGO BAIF. Leader of 6-person MTR team on behalf of URS Corporation, for the EC. Reviewed progress of this community- and family-based poverty reduction programme in clusters of villages in five States (Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan & UP). Project included improved farming, livestock, women’s development and community health components. Specific responsibility for community and project institutional development. The MTR recommended improvements to M&E systems, LogFrame, financial management and refinements to the implementation processes for the remaining 2.5 years. The Mission was conducted in collaboration with the National Bank for Rural Development (NABARD). Presented findings to the EC Brussels.


Consultancy Coordinator & Team Leader, Western India Rainfed Farming Project (Phase II), under DIFD funding, implemented by two NGOs (GVT & IFFDC). The Project focussed on participatory, village-based programmes to support Tribal communities in remote, drought-prone areas of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh. Activities included trees, crops, livestock, soil & water conservation, irrigation, participatory technology generation and credit & savings programmes. Additional support was provided in monitoring & evaluation, social development and wage labourer/ migrant support systems and health. Responsible for co-ordinating consultancy activities of a multi-discipline team supporting this community-based rural livelihoods development programme, as well as strategies for dissemination and extension of lessons to wider areas of India and interactions with Government and NGO associates, .Responsible for Consultants’ report editing (over 110 reports) and training in .report preparation. Assisted in planning and facilitation of Livelihood Summit conference, Udaipur, and in facilitating a Policy Influencing Study. Responsible for liaison with DFID Madhya Pradesh team.


Team Leader/ Senior Evaluator, Al Bustan Agriculture Development Project (EC). Responsible for review of EC-funded irrigation project, with emphasis on institutional aspects and on means for ensuring participation of beneficiary farmers. Prepared Mission Report on proposals for future direction of the project, via an Action Plan, and amendments to the project programme.


Team Leader, Doon Valley Watershed Management Project, Uttaranchal (EC). Responsible for technical assistance team supporting implementation of three IWMPs in the Lesser Himalaya region, and establishment of Project Monitoring Unit. Undertook frequent intermittent inputs to manage and co-ordinate TA activities, aimed at developing a participatory approach to watershed management, through PRA-based micro-planning at village level and joint implementation of conservation measures between village organisations and the Watershed Management Directorate. Components included agriculture, horticulture, livestock, forestry, minor irrigation, training, GIS/MIS, rural credit, monitoring & impact evaluation studies, energy conservation, publicity/media, gender issues, institutional development, income generation. Responsible for:

  • Liaison with State & Central Government agencies

  • Co-ordination with the EC Delegation and SCR Brussels

  • Preparation of Overall Work Plan and Annual Plans, editing and presentation of Consultants’ technical reports.

  • Co-ordinating in-country training programmes for staff and village groups, and organising overseas study tours and short course training for project staff

  • Procurement of project equipment in Europe and India

  • Maintenance of accounts and invoicing procedures for the TA assignment

  • Facilitating communication between project authorities and outside agencies (projects, NGOs, government agencies, donor agencies etc).

  • Participation in Mid-term Review and Project Planning Workshops

  • Assistance in recruitment of women Community Organisers.

  • Edited and published monthly News Letter (Village Notes).


Land Resources/Agriculture Consultant, Mun River Basin Master Plan Study (EC). Member of team planning long term water resource use, with responsibility for regional agricultural and land use planning in the context of water use for irrigation. Policy aimed at achieving greater participation of agricultural water users and user groups to improve efficiency.


Natural Resources Adviser on Koshi Hills Development Programme (DFID). Intermittent TA assignment to the Local Development Support Project. Closely involved in institutional aspects and in planning and implementing participatory training programmes for local officials, as well as interaction with training, agriculture, livestock and community forestry components. Responsible for co-ordinating TA team inputs, drafting Annual Plans and a strategy for future DFID support in the Koshi Hills.


Technical Supervisor, Southern Province Development Project (ADB - TA). Responsible for monitoring study, co-ordinating consultancy inputs and preparation of final reports for feasibility studies covering rural roads, irrigation & drainage, fisheries, income-generation, women’s development and village social development.


Senior Soils Advisor on Bas Cheliff-Mitidja Irrigation Rehabilitation Project (IBRD), providing advice on drainage and reclamation of heavy soils.


Agriculturist on Southern Regional Development Planning Study. Responsible for agricultural aspects of long-term regional planning and land use planning within sub-regions, with emphasis on irrigation.


Agronomist, MIBA. Responsible for investigating potential for a maize development project, Mbuji Mae area.


Senior Soils Adviser on Grand Gedeh County Land Capability Study (EDF funding). Supervised reconnaissance and detailed soil surveys, leading to selection of sites for swamp rice development.


Remote Sensing Adviser on Systems Development Project for the Planning Committee for Development and Environment in S Region. Duties included recommending satellite imagery and processing systems for use in land, marine and climatic monitoring. Advised on irrigation land use planning in Salalah Plain.


Agricultural Planner on Greater Sohar Structure Plan Study. Responsible for assessing irrigated agriculture and artisanal marine fisheries aspects affecting long term plans for urban development being prepared by team of urban planners.


Land Use Advisor, Project Preparation Unit within GARPAD (World Bank funding). Responsible for advising on soil survey, land use planning and training requirements for GARPAD staff, assisting on initial feasibility study in Nuqra Plain and in procurement of equipment


Land Use Planner on Masinga Dam Soil & Water Conservation Project for Tana & Athi Rivers Development Authority (EDF). Responsible for supervision of land resource and erosion survey of 4000 km2 catchment and planning for pilot soil conservation measures.


Project Manager/Land Use Planner on reconnaissance study of soil and water conservation needs in seven island states, including identification of implementation schedule. Undertaken for CARDI (EDF funding).


Member of implementation planning team for National Fruit Tree Project covering six provinces (KfW funding). Responsible for co-ordinating initial plans for land resource and soil conservation studies.


Land Use Planner on Chisumbanje Irrigation Feasibility Study. Member of team planning irrigation project for ARDA, under Kuwait Fund finance. Responsible for supervision of semi-detailed soil survey and land use planning of 27,000 ha scheme.


Agronomist on Alger-Sebaou Water Resources Management Project. Member of multi-disciplinary team preparing 30 year development plan for regional water resources (World Bank funding). Responsible for agricultural water demand aspects, including review of irrigation potential and estimation of future water needs for 180,000 ha.


Land Resource Planner on Integrated Agricultural Development Projects, Campeche and Chiapas States. Pre-investment study for two 100,000 ha mechanised irrigation projects. Prepared agronomic proposals for rice/soya and sugar/cereal projects.


Senior Land Resources Planner on Borno State Agricultural Development Project. Member of multi-disciplinary team involved in feasibility study for integrated agricultural development of the State (funded by World Bank).


Soils Specialist on Ho Lan Shan State Farm Study, Ningxia Region. UK Mission for planning model animal husbandry demonstration farm.


Soils Specialist on Umm Er Radhuma Study. Member of team investigating land and water resources for agricultural development.


Soils Specialist/Team Leader on Jaanaale-Buulo Mareerta Project, Lower Shebelli (AfDB).


Land Resource Planner on Konar River Basin Feasibility Study (Kuwait Fund).


Soil Scientist on Jowhar Sugar Estate Drainage and Reclamation Study for Ministry of Industry.


Senior Land Classifier, Tigrai Rural Development Study (DFID).


Deputy Project Manager and Soils Specialist on Blolekin-Zoukougbou Cocoa Project (IBRD).


Land Classification Specialist on Southern Land Settlement Project (DFID), aimed at developing new agriculture settlements in southern hill areas.


Land Classification Specialist and Team Leader on Imbuluzi Basin Study (DFID).


Soils Team Leader on Yom Basin Irrigation Development Study, for Royal Irrigation Department (DFID).


Soil Surveyor on Dallol Maouri Irrigation Project (UNDP).


Canada Department of Agriculture, Soil Surveyor, Alberta.


Member of research team investigating arid zone land systems in United Arab Emirates, South Yemen and Bahrain.


Soil Surveyor on Roseires Irrigation Feasibility Project (IBRD).


Other Countries visited as part of business development activities:

Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia, Iran, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Bhutan, Maldives, Malaysia, Myanmar, Botswana, Ghana, Guinee Bissau, Morocco, Zambia, UAE.


 Publications: author or co-author of:

  • Soil Structure in Vertisols of the Blue Nile Clay Plains. J. Soil Sci. 20 189, 1969.
  • Soil and Landform Features of Mountainous Terrain in South Thailand. Geoderma, 18, 207-225, 1977.
  • Soil Erosion Features of Central Plateau Region of Tigrai, N. Ethiopia. Geoderma, 20, 131-157, 1978.
  • Vertisol Soils of Tropics and Sub-tropics, their management and use. Outlook on Agric., 10, 33-40, 1979.
  • Cultivating Soils of Tropical Steeplands. World Crops, 31, 216-221, 1979.
  • An Introduction to the Vegetation of Bahrain. Wildlife in Bahrain, Annual Report 1978-79, p65-109. Bahrain Nat Hist Soc, 1980.
  • Observations of Cracking Patterns in Somali Vertisols. Soil.Sci. 131,60-61, 1981.
  • Potential of New Crops. Far Eastern Tech. Rev., July, 1981.
  • Variations in Characteristics of Soils Developed on the Basalt Plain in the Zimbabwe Lowveld. Zimbabwe Agric.J., 81, 121-126, 1984.
  • The Use of SPOT, Pan and XS imagery for Land Cover Mapping in the Koshi Hills, Nepal. Paper presented at Remote Sensing Soc. Conference, UK, 1989.
  • Participative Approaches to Watershed Management. Tropical Agriculture Association Newsletter, September 1993.
  • Land Use Change between 1978 & 1990 in Dhankuta District, Koshi Hills, E Nepal. Mountain Research & Development, 14, 159-170. 1994
  • Participatory Watershed Management in Lesser Himalayas. Proc 8th International Soil Conservation Organisation Conference, New Delhi, 1054-1069, 1994.
  • Towards Sustainable Watershed Development through People’s Participation. Mountain Research & Development. 18, 213-233, 1998
  • Developing Village Funds to Sustain Watershed Management. In “Participatory Watershed Development: challenges for the twenty-first century”. Ed J Farrington, C Turton & AJ James. Oxford University Press, 1999.
  • Watershed-PLUS & Learning from Villagers: lessons from two workshops. Mountain Chronicles, Mountain Research & Development 18, 357, 1998.
  • Sustainable Rural Livelihoods Concept: theory or reality? Presented at Tropical Agriculture Association Biennial Conference, Edinburgh, Sept 1999.
  • Uttaranchal: Un-exploited Himalayan Destination. Himalayan News 2001.
  • Why was Doon Valley Project a Success? Reflections of the TA Team. In Watershed Management in Himalaya: concept & strategy. Pages 343-366. Editors Pandey BP, Arya, KL, Pant, CC & Sharma, AK. Watershed Management Directorate, Uttaranchal/ Gyanodaya Prakashan, Nainital. 2002.
  • Bringing People’s Perceptions to Project Management Desktops: A Quantified Participatory Assessment of the Doon Valley Watershed Project in North India. Impact Assessment & Project Appraisal: 20, 201-204 (2002).
  • Starting Right: lessons from Doon Valley Watershed Project, Uttaranchal. Presented at Watershed Management & Sustainable Livelihoods conference, KAWAD/DFID, Bangalore, January 2003.
  • Participatory Evaluation of Watershed Management Projects. Waterlines 22, 12-14 (July 2003).
  • Agriculture or Livelihoods? Experiences of practitioners and beneficiaries of the DFID-funded Western India Rainfed Farming Project. Tropical Agriculture Association Newsletter, 23 #3, 13-17 (Sept 2003).
  • Informal Newsletters to Strengthen Support Networks of Watershed Projects: lessons from Doon Valley Watershed Project, Uttaranchal. Presented at Watershed Summit, Chandigarh, Nov 2004.
  • Dissemination Village (Prasar) Approach - a sustainable means for spreading rural development through local communities. Presented Tropical Agriculture Association seminar, University of Durham, UK, Dec 2004.
  • Dissemination Village (Prasar) Approach: spreading access to rural development & information through local communities. In Proc Vol 2,pp T138-139, AHAT/BSAS International Conference, Integrating Livestock-Crop Systems to meet the Challenges of Globalisation. Khon Kaen, Thailand 14-18 Nov 2005, Editors Rowlinson P, Wachirapakorn C, Pakdee P. & Wanapat M. British Society of Animal Science, Edinburgh, UK.
  • Primary Livelihood Development Co-operatives: a sustainable alternative to CBO federations? Paper presented at the Livelihood Summit, Udaipur, hosted by IFFDC and sponsored by DFID. 27-30th September 2005.
  • Livelihoods – as if the poor matter. 2006. Synthesis of the Livelihoods Summit: Challenging poverty by enhancing rural livelihoods, Udaipur, India, September 2005. Indian Farm Forestry Development Cooperative. (Editor).
  • Participatory Watershed Management: examples from Herat, Western Afghanistan. WASWC Proceedings (in press), 2006

Additional Experience


Editor, TAA Directory of CVs. Responsible for receiving, classifying, collating and posting CVs of registering members on an on-line web site ( to publicise consultancy expertise available within the Tropical Agriculture Association (UK). Member of Exec Committee. Joint-Founder of TAA India Branch.

Contact Details

Postal Address:   Pettets Farm, Great Bradley, Newmarket CB8 9LU, UK
Telephone:   + 44 (0) 1440 783413
UK Mobile:   + 44 (0) 7785 258026
India Mobile:   +91 (0) 98100 20928
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SKYPE ID   keithkft

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