East West Seeds brings innovative technologies for producing vegetable seeds

East-West Seed group (EWS), a Dutch-owned tropical vegetable seed company, is expanding its business in the Indian market by introducing innovative technologies for high-yielding vegetable seed varieties and aims to become one of the top five vegetable seed companies by 2021.

The privately-owned company produces and markets a wide portfolio of hybrid and open-pollinated seeds and its primary business is centered on smallholding farmers who form a majority for producing vegetable seeds.

East-West Seed India is targeting new markets and new varieties. In 2020, it will be launching new varieties of tomato, okra and hot pepper and planning to introduce innovative technologies beyond disease resistant and high yielding vegetable varieties. The company is projecting 15% CAGR and aims to become one of the top five vegetable seed companies by 2021.

EWS is a global leader in the tropical vegetable seeds market with three-and-a-half decades of experience in breeding, producing and delivering high-quality vegetable seeds. Founded by Simon Groot, winner of the World Food Prize 2019, the company is ranked number one in the 2019 Global Access to Seed Index, which recognises the commitment and performance in providing the smallholder farmers access to quality seeds.

The Dutch company is working closely with the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR), Bangalore, Indian Institute of Vegetable Research in Varanasi and collaborating with Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Coimbatore and Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana besides Asian Vegetable Research and Development Centres (AVRDC), Taiwan.

Rating agency ICRA estimates that with the growth in volumes as well as value on the back of hybridisation, the size of the vegetable seeds industry would double from the current levels to around Rs 8,000 crore in the next five years, registering a CAGR of around 10%.

Beyond disease resistant and high yield varieties of vegetables, EWS hopes to improve smallholder farmer productivity by implementing unique and cost-effective innovations such as spun-bound approach, Protec etc. Farmers have been beset with sucking pest attacks such as aphids, whiteflies, thrips and viruses on crops resulting in big losses.

Shekhar Ghosh is a communications consultant and and former journalist, who has edited and written for publications such as like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today and Outlook.

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