SHIJO JOSEPHShijo Joseph is presently the Group CIO at East-West Seed, a privately-owned Dutch company that is one of the largest vegetable seed companies in the world and a producer of an assortment of hybrids and open-pollinated seeds. He is a seasoned IT professional with nearly two decades of rewarding global experience heading IT in domains that include agriculture, manufacturing, logistics, life sciences, and utilities. He is also proficient in designing a successful IT governance and strategy to drive innovative and disruptive change within the organisation. At East-West Seed, he leads Information Technology, Business Transformation and Digital Initiatives within and for the company, and as the CIO, he plays an integral role in laying out the future business operating model for East-West Seed while also enabling and automating the same using modern ERP and digital platforms. East-West Seed is presently restructuring its business operations and the technology they use. While the organisation has been extremely successful in their endeavours as a seed company in the last 35 years, they envision the crux of business transformation in their need to change the way they operate and in the way they make the best use of modern technologies.
East-West Seed has outranked 12 other leading global seed companies when it comes to R&D as a key measurement area in the Access to Seeds Index 2019, owing largely to its comprehensive breeding programs and an impressive 12 R&D sites in six index countries. Your R&D division is also one of the largest in the country in terms of seed productivity and increased yield. What was the thought process behind prioritising R&D?
How do you take a call on which variety seed a farmer or a market needs?
Data security and data management are integral parts of IT centralisation. Do you feel the same considering East-West Seed is a research organisation that handles volumes of data?
What are your views on the role of financial institutions? How well do you think they understand the value chain, the importance, and possible rate of return of quality seeds. Also, should the cost of seeds be taken into account while considering the value of input credit that is provided to farmers?
As the organisation's CIO, how do you think technology is driving efficient strategic planning that is in line with business goals and growth objectives?
EWS promotes the development and cultivation of tropical vegetable seeds, which help farmers grow better crops. In your opinion, what is the role of technology in enhancing agricultural productivity?
EWS' founder, Mr Simon N. Groot, was awarded the renowned international ‘World Food Prize’, which recognises human development through quality and availability of food in the world. Could you tell us a little more about what makes EWS unique in its approach to achieving the same?
What are your suggestions to farming communities around the world to ensure sustainability and food security?