Diversity in the workplace at top agricultural companies like Corteva brings more ideas, skills and creativity to the table.

To achieve Corteva’s goals, the company harnesses the talents of women and men who excel in their fields. These goals include helping farms and farmers flourish by forging meaningful relationships that advances the agricultural industry.

The aim for all employees at Corteva and its brands is to be the most trusted partner in global and local agriculture and the food community by earning the confidence of producers and consumers.

Field science tackles insect issues

Studying insects, the impact they have on crops and finding sustainable solutions are only some of the tasks Dr Marlene van Rooyen, her team and the Corteva Delmas Research Hub of Africa and the Middle East perform.

“I am the team leader of the insectary that forms part of the Research Hub, which supports Corteva and its growers, including Pioneer, Pannar and our crop protection brands.”

Van Rooyen holds a PhD in environmental sciences (integrated pest management) and has been part of the Corteva team since September 2011. This insectary (insect rearing facility) is the largest privately owned facility on the African continent and was established in 2014.

“I personally align strongly with the company’s mission: Our work as field scientists is dedicated to enable growers to increase quality food production, ensuring progress for generations to come.

“Our contribution also supports other continents and, in some cases, helps predict or guide crop management in specific regions. We are involved in new trait discovery projects and coordinate the non-target component of our research in South Africa.

“Through close collaboration with industry forums, growers, scientific research methods, continuously educating the industry on the latest research findings, and the support of my colleagues, I’m able to advance science and to improve the lives of many people.”

Research and innovation

As part of the research team at Corteva’s Delmas facility, Suzan Khoza is committed to the company’s goals. She is a senior research associate at the facility and started working for the company in 2015.

“I hold a master’s degree in plant breeding from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and joined the team at Corteva because I’m very passionate about solving hunger in the world.”

Her role at Corteva is to execute breeding operations in the eastern region, which involves planting of nurseries, pollinations, processing, data collection and inventory management.

“We use technology such as GPS equipped planters for precision planting, drones and ear photometry for data collection and the application of molecular breeding. I consider myself an innovator because I continuously try to find the most efficient way possible with every task I perform. Working for a company that innovate relentlessly is truly a dream come true.

“At Corteva we aim at enriching the lives of producers and consumers. Farmers face a lot of challenges such as climate change, diseases and destructive pests. The work we do in the research department is aimed at ensuring that we produce seeds which can thrive under unfavourable conditions. We make sure that we produce high yielding hybrids to keep feeding the growing population,” she says.

Marketing and building relationships

One of the brand-new team members at Pioneer SA, which is part of the Corteva family, is Germa Kieser, the marketing category leader. She is based in Centurion, Gauteng, and holds a degree in business communications. She joined the team in February 2019.

“At the marketing department, it’s critical that we determine the need for a specific product through research, as this will ensure we have the right products at the right time for the right customer. Our agronomists are doing exceptional work, doing research and creating content that will assist farmers.

“As marketers we help the agronomy teams to feed this crucial information to farmers.”

Growing human resources

Tshepisho Mafokwane is Corteva’s HR lead for the Africa Middle East (AME) region and is based in Centurion. She holds a human resources management degree and joined Corteva in February this year.

“As a human resources leader, I’m responsible for formulating a strategy that will focus on our people agenda and a performance driven culture. Acquiring and retaining top talent within our company, as well as overseeing training and development, is part of my job.

“This also includes improving employee skills, strengthening the quality of performance and increasing overall company productivity.”

Transformation is also a key focus in her day to day duties, and she assists the company to adapt in the face of ever-changing technology, policy and processes impacting the bottom line.

For enquiries, visit www.corteva.co.za or phone 012 683 5700.