Dr. Thulasizwe Mkhabela was born in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa and raised in Swaziland. An agriculturist with agricultural economics; economics; soil science; and monitoring & evaluation qualifications. He is an experienced lecturer and researcher in Agricultural Economics, Agribusiness and Soil Science with a focus on commercial farmers and value chain development (agribusiness & food – agri-food sector) who has published widely on these subjects. Good knowledge of issues relating to agribusiness, food security, rural development and agriculture and policy-related issues in Southern Africa and Africa as a whole. His research interest include: small-scale farmer and rural development (linking farmers to markets); food security; efficiency and productivity studies in agriculture; market access for farmers and monitoring and evaluation of developmental interventions.

Thulasizwe holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics (Econometrics) from the Stellenbosch University and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Economics from University of Cape Town, amongst other qualifications. Thulasizwe has worked for Stellenbosch University as Lecturer; National Agricultural Marketing Council as a senior researcher; Department of Agriculture–KZN both as a senior researcher – Soil Science and Deputy Director: M&E; Department of Social Development- Western Cape as a Deputy Director: M&E; AFRICA LEAD (USAID-Funded Food Security and Agribusiness Organization) as Southern Africa Training and Institutional Liaison Manager; Agribusiness Development Agency as Chief Operations Officer & acting CEO. He has recently been elected as Vice-President of the Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA) and is currently a Senior Lecturer Extraordinaire for the Department of Agricultural Economics at Stellenbosch University and acting CEO for the Agribusiness Development Agency (ADA).

Thula is also a member of several high level committees such as the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Project Brokering Unit (PBU); Economic, Social and Infrastructure Development Technical Cluster of the KZN Executive Council (Cabinet); National Agro-processing Forum; etc.

Married to Gcinaphi Mkhabela with six children.