Seed World

Reflecting on a Two Year Presidency

There’s a lot going on behind the scenes with the International Seed Federation (ISF) that I didn’t realize until I joined ISF. After I was voted onto the Board of Directors of ISF, I found it somewhat of a revelation. There were a lot of important, complex issues and new topics that were highly conceptual even for people who have enough experience in the industry, and it soon gave me the idea of one of the most important parts of ISF: communication.

During my last two years as ISF president, I’ve really confirmed that communication is key to our success — not just ISF’s success, but the entire agriculture industry’s success. We’ve been working on engaging with other agriculture groups, such as the World Farmers’ Organization (WFO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and UPOV among many others and working in harmony with these organizations comes back to communication.

Communication is the golden thread that holds everything together. As the seed industry, we have very little ability to make an impact, to modernize and to influence alone. We are just one part of a much bigger agricultural picture. We need to join forces with others to unite our voices and interests. We can accomplish so much more together. 

Within ISF, I strongly believe that every single organization has a purpose, and that purpose should inspire every single objective and goal in the organization — especially in a non-profit organization like ISF. The purpose that we have, which is a combination of the vision and mission, is to promote innovation to ensure that everyone has access to good quality seed across the globe. I always try to communicate this clearly when I go to events, and I’ve been working on repeating this since day one.

Eduard Fito.

If we don’t know the purpose of an organization, or we don’t clearly communicate our purpose, the mission and vision of our organization will become lost. If it comes down to it, I’d say my most important task as ISF president was to remind everyone what our purpose and mission was. We have a wonderful industry with a lot of history and meaning, and we have a wonderful task to do. But, of course, we still have plenty of work ahead of us. 

We haven’t arrived at our destination yet, which is a world where everyone has access to quality seeds and sustainable agriculture. 

I think one of the most important tasks now is transparency. Our stakeholders are demanding more transparency and more information sharing. They want to know about us, and we want to know about them as well! Transparency and communication are the only ways to gain trust and bring more people into our advocacy. 

We are in this “learning mode,” where it’s easy for us to start to discover more ways to communicate and be transparent; however, it also gives others the opportunity to learn from us as well! For us to be more transparent, we need to continuously have our learning mode turned on, not only so people can learn from our industry, but so our industry can learn from others as well.

Editor’s Note: There was a typo in the print version of this column that has since been corrected in the online version. We apologize for the error.