Verena Bitzer


Verena Bitzer, PhD, is an interdisciplinary social scientist who helps create sustainable, rural livelihoods in developing economies. Her work focuses on making value chains, the delivery of agricultural services and (agri-)business models more inclusive and empowering for people working in these sectors.

Verena’s work has shown her that dealing with such complexity requires a context-specific, bottom-up approach. It also needs to builds on all stakeholders’ interests and needs, paying special attention to gender equity and youth inclusion. That is why creating and spreading knowledge with others is an essential part of Verena’s work. 

With professional experience in scientific research, action research and applied knowledge, along with qualitative and quantitative evaluation Verena brings years of practical experience along with scientific rigor to her work. Having lived in South Africa and Malawi, and worked in various developing countries, Verena emphasises the advantages of a collaborative approach to creating opportunities for sustainable livelihoods and inclusive rural transformation.

In addition to her work at KIT, Verena is affiliated with Maastricht University (ICIS) in the Netherlands, where she enjoys interactive teaching, engaging with students and researching on Southern sustainability standards in agriculture.  

Verena’s key fields of expertise include: 

  • Inclusive business, corporate social responsibility and sustainability (standards)  
  • Value chain collaboration and public-private partnerships 
  • Food security and inclusive rural transformation  
  • Livelihood diversification and innovation in service delivery models 

She has lived and worked in South Africa, Malawi, Germany, the US and the Netherlands.