A new face recently joined us at Enko: David Jones as Chairperson of the Board. We’re eager to get to work integrating and learning from David’s decades in agriculture.
David is an agricultural industry veteran: he spent many years as Syngenta’s Head of Business Development and has served as Chairperson for Arysta LifeScience, Plant Impact and BigSis.
The two of us recently spoke about what led him to Enko, what he most looks forward to in his role and the biggest challenges the agriculture industry faces. Below is a condensed and edited version of our conversation.
David, you’ve been involved with Enko for some time. What about our mission led you to join the Commercial Advisory Board and ultimately, the Board of Directors?
David: I have always been fascinated with opportunities to commercialize new technology in agriculture. It has never been as important as it is now. Agricultural productivity must continue rising not only to sustain population growth, but also to play its part in tackling climate change; attending first to its own carbon footprint, but then to take on new roles in carbon sequestration, efficient water utilization and novel biofuels.
Most of the world’s suitable agricultural land is now being worked, so these challenges mean we need more from existing acres delivered in ways that preserve our fragile soils. Of the many agtech start-ups around today, Enko is unique in promising a jumpstart of AgChem innovation–which is stalling as current discovery methods fall short. AgChem is the most favored way growers deal with the ‘yield thieves’ of weeds, pests and diseases. These menaces are in the ascendent as older chemistry fails in the field or is withdrawn for regulatory reasons. Enko’s promise and mission is to reverse this, with rapid and broad discoveries of new chemistry that meets today’s exacting standards. What could be more exciting!
What do you look forward to most in your new role at Enko?
David: It is always people. It is good to be around a team that knows that what they are doing is important and is delivering results. Growing this team from the current core of founding professionals is the most motivating part.
David, are you optimistic that the agricultural industry can solve these pressing problems?
David: Growers have an excellent track record stretching over 150 years of improving productivity through the adoption of successive waves of technology. We are now in a rich time where new technologies, mostly developed by boutique companies, are multiplying options for growers to farm productively and sustainably. Mobilizing these tools will overcome the challenges facing global agriculture. Enko is in the vanguard of this trend.
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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Enko collaborate on novel crop protection.