Female #FoodHeroes

Aman Chandi

Aman is the Technical Manager for the Herbicide Discovery Biology Group at FMC Corporation in Delaware, in the U.S. The group’s goal is to discover new modes of action herbicides for sustainable weed management, and to empower growers to efficiently manage weed resistance problems on their farms.

Why do you love your job?

We’re an agricultural sciences company with a clear purpose: to enhance the growth of agriculture through the sustainable protection of crops. I find engaging in good science, and being able to make a positive difference to people’s lives across the globe, very motivating and rewarding.

My team is focused on resolving the most pressing issues that growers face, which also threaten global food security and agricultural livelihoods. I love leading a diverse group of highly motivated scientists who innovate to make agriculture both sustainable and rewarding for the growers.

How did you get here?

I was born and raised in a family with a science teacher mom and an aquatic weed scientist dad, so a career in science and research came naturally to me. Growing up in Punjab, one of the largest wheat and rice growing states in India, you see agriculture all around you. You learn not only to recognize the challenges associated with agriculture, but also how these challenges impact the lives of growers and their families.

When I was a kid, conversations at our dinner table would focus on the botanical names of vegetables served for dinner, how they were grown, and which part of the world they came from. On the weekends, my dad and I would take long early morning walks around our family farm discussing plants and their interactions with the environment.

After receiving my master’s degree from Punjab Agricultural University in India, and a doctorate in crop science from North Carolina State University, I pursued opportunities in innovative weed management technologies. Research aimed at bringing novel herbicides to growers brought me to my current role at FMC.

What is your advice for young women wanting to contribute to sustainable food and farming?

I believe I must still traverse a long road before I can advise others. But if I may, I would advise young women to invest in themselves. We must invest in our education and keep the process evergreen. Like all other fields, technologies and opportunities in agriculture are constantly evolving. Keeping ourselves informed and involved is the key. We can utilize our knowledge, expertise and willingness to collaborate to make an impact on sustainable agriculture.

You should always be willing to stretch yourself and you will be amazed by what you can achieve. Let’s not shy away from accepting challenges – they are the opportunities that can result in the biggest impacts. Most importantly, have a vision of what you want to achieve. Then reach out and collaborate with others to bring your vision to life.

How does agriculture need to change to be fit for the future?

Agriculture is vast and diverse. There are enormous regional variabilities in weather, topography, crops, crop protection needs, and growers’ cultural preferences. Solutions that work very well in one region might not be as effective somewhere else. Growers, industry, and the academic world must unite to invest in, promote, and adopt sustainable solutions. Most importantly growers must have access to relevant and cutting-edge technologies that address their specific needs, protect the environment, and maximize their returns; for example, by using smart inputs.

There is a phrase in Sanskrit – “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” which means “earth is one family”. Nothing embodies the oneness of the human race more than agriculture. Agriculture significantly contributed to the evolution of humanity and is still nourishing us all after thousands of years. I would like to ask all of us to cherish the opportunity to be involved in agriculture and to work towards sustainability. Let us set a precedent for younger generations by developing and stewarding novel agricultural technologies and encouraging bright young minds to contribute to agriculture.

What’s one challenge you face as a woman in agriculture and what do you think needs to be done to overcome this?

There has been a visible change and more women are choosing careers in agriculture and related fields. However, I would love to see even more women in agriculture – we’re not yet where we need to be. To overcome this, I believe we – the women in this industry – must be strong ambassadors to reach out and enlighten young girls and women about the many opportunities in this exciting field.

 

 

Aman is just one of many inspirational women working in agriculture. Visit our Female #FoodHeroes page to hear from other women working to improve plant science and nutrition.