Camilla is the Head of Crop Protection Research at Syngenta in Basel, Switzerland.
What do you do?
I’m responsible for the invention of novel chemicals and biological pest controls for biotic and abiotic stress management. This is the stress that plants undergo as a result of damage from living organisms – such as insects and weeds – or from their environment, for example drought or temperature changes. My team and I are looking to deliver innovative grower solutions across all crops and geographies.
Why do you love your job?
I love the opportunity to interact with many people with different backgrounds, and to look for future solutions that will impact agriculture in the next decade.
How did you get here?
I’m a chemist and I joined Syngenta immediately after finishing my postdoc. I have had the opportunity to have different leadership roles across the Chemistry and Portfolio departments before taking to my current responsibilities.
What is your advice for young women wanting to contribute to sustainable food and farming?
Women are often the backbone of rural economies around the world. Globally, they represent two-thirds of smallholders and 60% of all farmers. Research has shown that when women have access to relevant services and other inputs, such as improved seeds and fertilizers, they will increase crop yields substantially.
We have a significant number of women among our existing and potential customers. We understand that there are opportunities to tailor our outreach programs to serve them more effectively. I truly believe that recent digital platforms have given our customers a level playing field, increasing the opportunities available to everyone.
How does agriculture need to change to be fit for the future?
Our growers need a toolbox of different crop protection solutions to meet the challenges of agriculture – this includes both biological and chemical controls.
At Syngenta we are working to offer growers safe, cost-effective solutions that: address the challenge of new pests and diseases; have novel modes of action to address resistance issues; and provide new tools to meet the increasing demands of consumers and the food value chain.
What’s one challenge you face as a woman in agriculture and what do you think needs to be done to overcome this?
Encouraging more women to pursue careers in science is something I am passionate about. Agriculture offers exciting career opportunities in a range of disciplines. Our scientists come from a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines and we value the strength this diversity brings to our teams.
Camilla 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.