There has been, and remains, a real buzz and energy around the agriculture sector globally. The past 12 months have demonstrated the importance of food security during what can be viewed as one of the toughest periods ever for producers. The need for innovative solutions that can feed growing populations and solve the problems associated with climate change are paramount. But we’re constantly reminded that the road ahead is tough. Food system transition needs to be balanced against financial stability, and longevity, but many food producers are facing into incredibly challenging market conditions that disincentivise production which, ironically, is counter to the need for a concrete food security plan.
These factors, compounded by more global ‘shocks-to-the-system’ have forced many reinventions and the emergence of cutting-edge technologies that will help businesses to diversify. These impacts are yet to be felt further up the supply chain but this creativity will likely form the basis of our food production systems in the decades to come. Once again, the agriculture industry is proving itself the most resilient and adaptable of sectors. From vertical farming, through to genetically edited wheat and nanobubble irrigation systems, the future is really exciting!
Investors are keen to invest, innovators strive to innovate and companies are ready to adapt but at Eden we are conscious that the Farmer’s voice must be heard and it is critical that this remains a central part of the conversation. In our view it’s those emerging companies with the right support around the Board table as well as an in-depth knowledge and passion for their supply chains that are likely to be most successful. Knowing our customers is key but knowing our customer’s customer is better. The agricultural ecosystem, for all its challenges, cannot be ignored and the question is how do we work with farmers and producers to support them to unlock their own potential through the implementation of new technology? Alongside this we cannot discount the importance of people! We’re huge believers that it is, and will remain, people who move businesses forward by bringing the most important of qualities, empathy! More so, emerging companies need to be aware of the significance that potential investors pay to advisory Boards and the quality of ‘industry’ people around a Board table. It’s just good business sense that people will remain at the centre of the agriculture sector in the years to come.
But talent is changing!
We’ve spent many years supporting executive teams but it is during the past 12 months that we have witnessed the biggest shift. The changing expectations of leaders, the skills required for new technologies and the urgency of some of the challenges we are seeking to tackle mean that the Boards of today will look very different tomorrow. Skills are changing and will keep changing but our advice is let’s lean into it!
A strong people and talent acquisition strategy is critical to success but let’s not forget the importance of empathy and value added by the voice of the Farmer.
Darren Houghton, Director and Head of Agritech