Q&A with Adama President and CEO, Chen Lichtenstein (16 June 2014)

With Farmoz launching their new global brand, Adama, and having their global President and CEO, Chen Lichtenstein in Sydney for the launch, Rural Business took the opportunity to interview Chen on the future of Adama and what it means for Australian resellers.

Please tell us a bit about yourself

I am married with 2 sons, 3 if you include our Labrador! I grew up in an agricultural kibbutz in Israel working in a team that grew cotton. Farming has been important to me ever since and it's why I am excited about what we have to offer the farming community at Adama.

What were you doing prior to taking the position as President & CEO of Adama?

I joined in 2006 and most recently served as the Deputy CEO in charge of China Integration, as well as President and CEO of ChemChina's strategic business division - China National Agrochemical Corporation (CNAC), Adama's parent company. Prior to that I held various roles within Adama including heading the groups operations and leading its corporate development and capital markets activities. Before joining Adama, I served as Executive Director of Investment Banking at Goldman Sachs in New York and London.

The integration with ChemChina is obviously a significant step in the evolution of Adama. How did you find your experience in China and what is your view on the future of Agriculture in China?

What has taken place in China in the past few decades has raised significantly the standard of living for hundreds of millions of people in a very short time, utilizing internal resources and in an orderly manner, and it is probably one of the greatest achievements of humankind.

I found the experience in China profound. A key lesson I learned whilst spending time in Beijing was listen more, speak less. There are deep ways of thinking and management that we can learn from the Chinese people that are fundamental to business today.

As for the future of Agriculture in China, there is a huge potential. China represents a highly fragmented market in agribusiness - crop protection, seeds etc. There exists a great opportunity to bridge between Chinese and global production and development capabilities. A balance of governmental and non-governmental partnerships will be the key in solving major issues such as sustainable food supply and specifically accessing the domestic agriculture market in China. 

There is a significant commitment of our shareholders to support our business and its China and global growth going forward.

As the Adama brand launches around the globe what do you want Adama to be known for and how does that impact your customers here in Australia?

Adama reflects a global company in close touch with our customers and respect for our historic beginning. The name Adama is Hebrew for "earth", the essential element of farming. Our strong connection to the land represents our commitment to agriculture as well as our down to earth, practical approach and culture.

Australia is an important country for our future growth in the APAC region and the leadership position that we build in China will have great benefits for our partners in Australia and Australian farming. It will allow us to bring global solutions coupled with local R&D to provide simple, tailor made solutions to Australian farmers. We have an exciting platform for growth that will be built on innovative and distinctive products and services, combined with a digital approach that will connect the farming community to each other and our products.

chen headshot