Leading The Vegetable Seed Industry Through Innovation

The profitability of vegetable farming has seen a significant increase due to sustained investment in R&D and collaborative research projects. Along with it, there has been a positive shift in the vegetable seed market from a trading orientation to local variety development, where hybrids have become accepted by Thai farmers.

This is according to Wichai Laocharoenpornkul, General Manager of leading tropical vegetable seed company EWS East-West Seed Thailand. During his presentation at NAC2018 - the 14th Annual Conference of the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) - Laocharoenpornkul said EWS has had a strong focus on research since the company was founded in 1982. EWS has 14 R&D stations across six countries and invests 12 - 13 % of turnover into R&D annually.

“Seed value has increased more than 3x since year 2000, and along with that the income of farmers also increased. Farm-gate income is roughly about 15-20x the value of the seed market,” said Laocharoenpornkul.

To demonstrate the real-world effects of improved yields and quality of vegetables through R&D, Laocharoenpornkul presented the improved profitability of EWS varieties compared to traditional varieties. The highest difference among these is the EWS Permata tomatoes from Indonesia, which are 480% more profitable than the traditional varieties.

Innovation through collaboration:
“We are believers in the ‘cross pollination’ of talent and knowledge. The name of the company comes from bringing together the best knowledge and people from east and west to get the best results, and this still applies to our research partnerships today,” he said.

Laocharoenpornkul spoke about the results of collaborative research projects that were co-funded between EWS and Biotec, a member of the NSTDA. These include:
Globally, EWS is involved in 19 projects with public sector partners around the world at a total of USD 500 000, an average of USD 26 300 per project.

Most projects are with universities and public institutions in the Netherlands, USA, and Southeast Asia. Some projects are 1 on 1; others with multiple industry partners on a shared cost basis. Projects with academia in the Netherlands are often 50% subsidized with the rest of the cost shared by industry partners.

Source: http://in.eastwestseed.com/

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