Inside Asia Podcast

Seeding Purpose (w/ Elizabeth Hernandez)

August 29, 2021

When was the last time you thought about where your food comes from? And I don’t mean from your local supermarket… Well, according to the U.N. Food & Agriculture Association, 70% of food consumed globally comes from so-called “smallholder” farmers. 

There are an estimated 570 million of them, and nearly half live and operate in the world’s poorest countries. In most developing markets, agriculture contributes anywhere from 15 to 35% of GDP. Without this constellation of farming communities, unemployment would soar and economies would crumble. 

Not surprisingly, there’s a political dimension to supporting the smallholder farmer. This requires governments throughout the region to make constant adjustments – balancing local subsidies against foreign food imports.

Into this socio-economic brew enters Corteva Agriscience, a company that a little over two years ago spun off from the chemical giant DowDupont in order to focus exclusively on agribusiness. Today, the company produces high-yield, pest-resistant hybrid seeds, land management, and digital solutions. As my guest, Elizabeth Hernandez, explains, the timing and focus of their market entry offers a unique opportunity for farmers and investors alike.

This is the latest in a series of episodes we have planned featuring companies that are delivering on Corporate Purpose. Two episodes back we featured another Corporate Purpose leader, T.C. Ng, Asia Pacific Managing Director of the iconic tech company, HP. If you missed that episode, you can listen or read about it by  visiting

In coming weeks, we will feature on this program conversations with leaders of other purpose-driven institutions. Our discussions are founded on in-depth case studies created in a three-way partnership between Inside Asia, The Conference Board, and the Center for Creative Leadership.  

One year ago, we came together to introduce the Asia Corporate Leadership Council, which today is comprised of 20 plus Asia-based CEOs, Regional Managing Directors, and heads of family-run businesses. It’s a select group of senior individuals representing best-practice corporate purpose. The case studies – and these accompanying podcasts – are designed to demonstrate what Corporate Purpose in action looks like.

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