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Wednesday / March 29. 2023

Willowood group currently operates offices in India, USA, Hong Kong, China and Kenya.

Willowood India launched its Brazilian subsidiary at Goose Island Brewhouse, located in São Paulo, Brazil. The corporation’s Brazilian and international management represented by Executives Marcos Gaio (Country Manager – Brazil), Vijay Mundhra (Global CEO), Parikshit Mundhra (MD) and Jitendra Mohan (COO) brought together special guests from Brazilian agribusiness for an afternoon of information and socialising.

The event also featured a lecture by João Pontin with news from the Registration & Regulatory area & a presentation by Marcos Gaio which dealt with Willowood’s business vision for Brazil. The lecture ‘Macroeconomic Vision of Brazil and the Brazilian Agro Industry for 2023’, with Jankiel Santos, Senior Economist at Banco Santander.

Willowood Chemicals is an affiliate of Willowood Group, a leading global producer and distributor of crop protection chemicals. The group currently operates offices in India, USA, Hong Kong, China and Kenya. Products include insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, biopesticides and plant growth regulators. Willowood places a strategic emphasis on innovation-driven solutions, using in-house R&D capabilities and a committed team of agronomists to fuel a continuous pipeline of new products.

Willowood group currently operates offices in India,

Bionema’s expanded portfolio enhances the company’s offering to the BioAg sector, and complements its ongoing research, training and continuing development of novel biological solutions.

Bionema Ltd reports the expansion of its portfolio’s quantity and scope, as the company launches a number of new environmentally-friendly biological products to support biological agriculture (BioAg), horticulture, forestry, and turf & amenities.

With growing public awareness and concerns about the effects of chemical pesticides on human health, biodiversity and the environment, there is greater demand for alternative solutions to control insect pests and enhance crop yields. Addressing these challenges, Bionema Ltd, a world- leading developer of biocontrol sustainable solutions, is introducing its range of more than 70 biological products for use in agriculture, horticulture, forestry, turf &amp: amenities, and public health.

The BioAg market, which includes biopesticides, biostimulants and biofertilisers, has been estimated to be valued at USD 12.6 billion in 2022. It is projected to reach USD 24.6 billion by 2027, according to market analysts MarketsandMarkets, reflecting a CAGR of 13.6 per cent. This rapid rate of growth reflects widespread and increasing demand for biological solutions as the world embraces more environmentally friendly innovations.

Bionema’s new product catalogue lists more than 70 biopesticides, biostimulants, biofertilisers, molluscides, biocides, efficacy boosters, insect monitoring tools and nutrient management products. The portfolio expansion reflects Bionema’s evolution in focus and strategy, announced last year following the company’s deal with Syngenta that secured Bionema’s position as a world- leading biocontrol technology company.

Bionema’s management team set a new course to focus on company growth, which is has been implementing for the past 15 months and has resulted in an expanded product portfolio of products offering biological solutions for agriculture, horticulture, turf & amenities, forestry, and public health.

“Our vision to be a leading BioAg technology developer, reducing the need for chemical pesticides, has led us to where we are today,” said Dr Minshad Ansari, Founder and CEO of Bionema. “The world is changing and there is increased consumer, societal, regulatory and government demands for reduced chemical use – for example, consider the EU’s plan to remove 505 pesticides by 2030 and increase organic farming from 8 to 25%. Targets like this just won’t be feasible without sustainable alternatives, such as the ones we are launching now.”

Bionema’s expanded portfolio enhances the company’s offering to the BioAg sector, and complements its ongoing research, training and other services in the continuing development of novel biological solutions. Bionema has collected a library of more than a thousand commercially viable microorganisms for pipeline candidates, and the company’s innovative formulation and delivery technologies can lead to products that deliver higher virulence, greater stability, better spore yields, and wider host ranges.

Bionema’s expanded portfolio enhances the company’s offering

It will also ensure the continued investment and development of research and technical innovation that has pioneered many of the advanced Integrated Turf Management techniques.

Syngenta and ICL have signed a new agreement to continue and enhance the strong relationship that has brought great innovation, investment and service to the turf industry. The agreement includes the launch of new products, along with digital technologies and technical communication strategies.

The move reinforces the close working relationship of ICL’s unparalleled nutrition expertise, industry support and technical field force to deliver Syngenta’s world leading technical R&D products and services over the past 15 years.

It will also ensure the continued investment and development of research and technical innovation that has pioneered many of the advanced Integrated Turf Management techniques now successfully implemented by turf managers.

The extended agreement comes at an exciting time for both companies introducing ground-breaking technological advances. That includes the launch of ICL’s eqo.s® controlled release fertiliser technology and Syngenta’s new fungicide, herbicide and biocontrol products, along with Acelepryn and NemaTrident integrated solutions for turf soil pest control in 2023.

Announcing the new agreement, Syngenta Commercial Head, Daniel Lightfoot said: “The combined strength of ICL and Syngenta has, over the past 15 years, pioneered the products and the techniques to deliver huge advances in the management of high-quality turf and amenity landscapes.

“We are delighted to forge stronger links between the two companies that together can better help our customers to meet the current challenges, as well as develop further in the future. Stephen Squires, ICL Regional Business Lead, added: “We have built an incredibly strong strategic alliance with Syngenta, this agreement underlines the strength of the relationship.

“Together we will continue to deliver and build on the full value of our world leading product portfolios, our technical innovation and our industry knowledge and technical advice to our customers.”

It will also ensure the continued investment

 It aims to establish of a network of institutions and actors to advance seed and varietal development, adaptation, and accelerate the deployment of product concepts.

 The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Bayer agreed to support and co-invest in a four-year project “Scale Direct” that aims to accelerate the global efforts of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) on direct seeded rice (DSR) research and development for smallholder farmers in Asia and Africa. The Project got launched through a ceremonial event hosted at IRRI South Asia Regional Centre, Varanasi on 09 March 2023.

Underpinned by IRRI’s DSR research flagship, the project titled “Improving the quality of life of smallholder rice farmers in Asia and Africa through introduction, on-farm testing and scaling of improved germplasm and climate smart agronomy” and also named as “ScaleDirect” is a comprehensive integration of breeding specific varieties for DSR establishment methods, on-farm validations, DSR specific agronomic practices, and seed systems and enterprise development activities.

The global initiative’s core objectives include the 1) establishment of a network of institutions and actors to advance seed and varietal development, adaptation, and accelerate the deployment of product concepts, product varieties or hybrids, and required DSR market-suited traits, 2) introduction, validation, and scaling of climate-smart agronomic practices and technologies, 3) strengthening formal and informal seed production, delivery, and entrepreneurship for equitable, gender-inclusive access to climate-resilient products, and 4) an evidenced-based learning, feedback, and recommendation mechanism for experts and policymakers.

“Smallholder farmers are an integral part of the agriculture system and advancements in farming are key to their growth. We are elated to partner with USAID and IRRI to bring the latest innovation and Agri-focused technology to smallholders across the globe, building a better agriculture system and staying true to Bayer’s vision of ‘Science for better’ in agriculture,” said Simon-Thorsten Wiebusch, Country Divisional Head – Crop Science Division of Bayer for India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

USAID General Development Officer, Dr. Jim Gaffney lauds the project for its alignment with the US government’s Feed the Future Initiative to end hunger. He also expressed his optimism for the returns this investment will bring given its strong backing from multiple national agriculture research systems (NARS) partners, among other collaborating sectors.

“There is massive opportunity and learning in public, private, and community extension network collaborations. The diverse participation by various stakeholders in this launch is a clear manifestation of true public-private partnership. This collaboration rests upon a shared vision of making our farming systems more responsive to climate change impacts,” said IRRI Rice Breeding Innovations Platform leader, Dr. Hans Bhardwaj.

Resulting from co-conceptualization meetings between IRRI, Bayer, and USAID that began in 2022, the project is touted to help improve the environmental and socio-economic sustainability of rice production and lead to widespread adoption of DSR practices among smallholder farmers in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique.

IRRI Director General, Jean Balié stressed the importance of this synergy as well as the crucial role of the NARES partners in the timely and appropriate scaling of these interventions. “We cannot emphasize enough that we are committed to bringing new innovations to the forefront of rice systems. Furthermore, we are highly committed to ensuring that these technologies provide sustainable economic outcomes for our stakeholders. The shared goal is always to improve the lives of farmers.”

 It aims to establish of a network

Committee to monitor the stock of Tur held by entities such as importers, millers, stockists, traders

The Department of Consumer Affairs has constituted a Committee under the chairmanship of Nidhi Khare Additional Secretary, to monitor the stock of Tur held by entities such as importers, millers, stockists, traders etc. in close coordination with the state governments. The decision has come against the backdrop of reports of market players not releasing stocks despite the regular arrival of imports in good quantities.

The latest announcement of a Committee to monitor stock disclosure indicates the government’s intention to deal with hoarders and unscrupulous speculators in the market. It also indicates the government’s determination to keep prices of Tur under control in months ahead. The government is also closely watching the stock position of other pulses in the domestic market to take necessary preemptive measures in the event of an unwarranted price rise in the coming months. It may be recalled that the government had issued an advisory to the States and UTs on 12th August 2022, to enforce stock disclosure in respect of Tur under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955. Further, in order to facilitate smooth and seamless import, the government has removed the 10 per cent duty applicable for Tur imports from non-LDC countries as the duty creates procedural hurdles even for zero-duty imports from the LDCs.

Committee to monitor the stock of Tur

The Department of Sericulture, Rajouri, Mulberry Circle Lamberi organised Kissan Scientific interaction under ATMA programme.

The Jammu and Kashmir government is focusing towards the revival and holistic development of the Sericulture sector.

Cocoon growers are being facilitated with requisite skill development training, the latest technological interventions and related infrastructural support for transforming the sericulture industry in J&K. 

The J&K government was working on area expansion under mulberry plantations to increase leaf availability for rearers and enrich green wealth.

The Forest and Sericulture Departments are jointly working towards achieving J&K’s Green Mission besides creating and ensuring marketing support to the cocoon growers in selling their produce in their vicinity.

The futuristic roadmap for holistic growth of agriculture and the allied sector will safeguard the age-old skills being transferred from generation to generation. The effort is aimed to help preserve and promote of unique and indigenous craft legacy of J&K across the globe.

The government is giving importance to the adoption of the latest technological advancements in the silk industry to reduce dependence on imported silk. One of the three important centres in the country for Research and Development, Training, Transfer of Technology and IT Intervention has been set up at Kashmir’s Pampore.

Recently, the Department of Sericulture, Rajouri, Mulberry Circle Lamberi organised Kissan Scientific interaction under ATMA programme. The main objective of the programme was to educate silkworm rearers about the latest technology and practice for silkworm rearing. 

The farmers were briefed about various projects being implemented under Holistic Agriculture Development Programme. 

The Central Silk Board is promoting a bivoltine production program extending technical support through 6 clusters besides extending the state of the art of soil testing facilities. Due to the continuous efforts of the Institute and technological interventions, the average yield of bivoltine cocoons has been enhanced significantly.

Notably, the Silk Samagra Yojana launched in 2017-18 under the guidance of PM has proved to be a game changer in making sericulture sustainable by supporting J&K’s silk industry in an integrated manner. 

Under Silk Samagra Phase-I, about 900 silkworm rearers have benefited directly beside the establishment of about 618 rearing houses. Besides, the Central Silk Board has allocated Rs 35 crore for J&K under Silk Samagra Phase-II benefitting around 27,000 families involved in Sericulture in the state.

The Department of Sericulture, Rajouri, Mulberry Circle

The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) approved the environmental permit for the project

Tagros has announced plans to expand its production capacity of pesticide technicals and pesticide intermediates at the Panchayankuppam SIPCOT Industrial Park in Cuddalore district, Tamil Nadu. The project will cover an additional 5.50 acres.

The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) approved the environmental permit for the project, which is expected to commence in the first quarter of FY24, with completion scheduled for December 2024.

Tagros is one of the leading manufacturers and exporters of agrochemicals and intermediates. The company mainly synthesises Pyrethroids insecticides and Triazole fungicides, in addition to all kinds of herbicides, pesticide intermediates and other special products.

The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate

NativeSeed Group is a provider of native seeds and erosion control products used in land reclamation and conservation

Heartwood Partners LLC announced the acquisition of NativeSeed Group from Victor Schaff, a pioneer of the native seed industry.

Headquartered in Carpinteria, CA, NativeSeed Group is a provider of native seeds and erosion control products used in land reclamation and conservation, as well as various construction, commercial, and consumer applications. The Company goes to market under various brands, including Granite Seed, S&S Seeds and Pacific Coast Seed, among others, each of which provides native seeds to a diverse group of landowners, energy companies, state & federal agencies, environmental engineers, and contractors, with a particularly strong presence throughout the Western U.S. Additional brands such as Kamprath Seed and Bruce Seed serve the agriculture market with cover crop seed blends to assist in pollination and soil health. The Company’s Nature’s Seed brand sells flower, turf, hunting, and grazing seed blends to homeowners, hobby farmers, and smaller rural landowners throughout the United States. Please visit the NativeSeed Group website for more information on the Company’s brands and their solutions.

NativeSeed Group utilises a vertically integrated sourcing and production platform comprised of farming, wildland collection, and procurement of native grass, wildflower, and shrub seeds. Farming of seed occurs on four strategically located farms across the Western U.S., including the Bruce Seed Farm in Montana, L&H Seed Farm in Washington, Hedgerow Farms in northern California, and S&S Seed Farm in southern California.

Rob Wendell, NativeSeed Group’s Chief Executive Officer, stated, “We are extremely excited to partner with the Heartwood team given their experience investing in agriculture-related businesses and strong track record in growing niche businesses. We believe that Heartwood’s operational expertise and industry experience will be key in refining and executing our strategic growth plan.” “We are excited to partner with NativeSeed Group and its management team. The Company has developed a highly differentiated, vertically integrated platform to provide solutions for its customers to help establish native plant communities that are appropriate for their local geographies and climates. Native plant communities are hearty, more drought tolerant, promote diverse habitats, and help restore lands damaged by development or natural disasters,” said James Sidwa, Partner at Heartwood Partners.

NativeSeed Group is a provider of native

Grgich Hills Estate, a Napa Valley leader in Regenerative Organic Agriculture, achieves this prestigious certification marking a significant milestone in its commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship

Grgich Hills Estate has received Regenerative Organic Certification (ROC) from the Regenerative Organic Alliance (ROA), a non-profit organisation that was formed in 2017 to promote the principles and practices of regenerative organic agriculture.

Under the leadership of Ivo Jeramaz, Winemaker and Vice President of Vineyards and Production, Grgich Hills Estate has been farming organically since 2000, becoming Certified Organic in 2006 and has been practising regenerative farming since 2019.  The winery has taken another step in its ongoing progress as one of the few wineries in the world to receive Regenerative Organic Certification.

The ROC certification program is designed to be a comprehensive and holistic approach to farming that goes beyond the principles of organic farming to focus on building healthy soil, promoting biodiversity, and supporting animal welfare and social fairness.  Regenerative farming practices support green and climate initiatives by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, promoting biodiversity conservation, conserving water, and supporting local food systems. “Our farming practices go beyond just improving soil health. By capturing carbon dioxide through our methods, we’re helping to combat the negative effects of global warming. Unlike traditional farming that relies heavily on fertilizers and machinery that release more CO2, our approach, known as the ‘carbon drawdown solution,’ is making a significant impact. It’s a win-win situation for us, as we can improve our soil and contribute to a healthier planet simultaneously.” Ivo said.

Social fairness is addressed in the ROC including fair labour practices, community engagement, and support for the economic and social well-being of farmers and workers. Ivo stated, “How we treat our labourers is a crucial aspect of our farming practices. Providing medical care and a living wage are just a few examples of how we prioritise the human aspect of our work. It’s a social responsibility that sets us apart from other certifying agencies that emphasise workers’ well-being differently, says Ivo.

Grgich Hills Estate, a Napa Valley leader in Regenerative

Seeds from the IAEA and FAO laboratories were sent to space on November 7, 2022

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) held an event in Vienna to mark the imminent return to Earth of seeds that were sent into space four months ago.

Seeds from the IAEA and FAO laboratories belonging to the Arabidopsis and Sorghum varieties travelled in an uncrewed cargo shuttle from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility to space on November 7, 2022. While in space, they were exposed to the prevailing conditions — a complex mixture of cosmic radiation, microgravity and extreme temperatures — inside and outside the International Space Station (ISS).

Upon their return, which is expected to happen in early April, scientists at the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture plan to grow the seeds and screen them for useful traits to better understand space-induced mutations and identify new varieties.

The ground-breaking experiment aims to develop new crops that can adapt to climate change and help boost global food security. With the world’s population estimated to reach almost 10 billion by 2050, there’s a clear need for innovative solutions through science and technology aimed at producing more food, as well as crops that are more resilient and farming methods that are more sustainable.

The meeting in Vienna, which was designed to inform students, partners and the public about space science and nuclear techniques in plant breeding, saw opening statements from QU Dongyu FAO Director-General and Rafael Mariano Grossi, IAEA Director-General as well as interventions from Kayla Barron, NASA Astronaut who discussed her experience working and carrying out experiments at the ISS.

“This is the science that could have a real impact on people’s lives in the not-too-distant future, by helping us grow stronger crops and feed more people,” the IAEA Director General said. “IAEA and FAO scientists may have already been mutating seeds for 60 years and creating thousands of stronger crops for the world to use, but this is the first time we have experimented with such an exciting field as astrobiology,” said Grossi.

Seeds from the IAEA and FAO laboratories

Sales of Crop Protection products increased by 21 per cent, 24 per cent at constant exchange rates and Seeds sales were 12 per cent higher than 2021, 16 per cent at constant exchange rates.

Syngenta AG ,subsidiary of Syngenta group has published its financial report for FY 2022.The company has reported that net income in 2022 attributable to Syngenta’s shareholder was $1,909 million, compared to $1,443 million in 2021.

Sales in 2022 were 19 percent higher than 2021, 22 percent higher at constant exchange rates, with a seven percent increase in sales volumes and a further 15 percent increase in local currency sales prices. Currency movements decreased reported sales by three per cent due to the weakness of many currencies against the US dollar, particularly in Europe, Africa and Middle East and Asia Pacific. Sales of Crop Protection products increased by 21 percent, 24 percent at constant exchange rates and Seeds sales were 12 percent higher than 2021, 16 per cent at constant exchange rates. The performance of both businesses benefitted from good farm economics, underpinned by generally strong crop prices, which both drove both growth in sales volumes and supported sales price increases to recover the impact of increased raw material and other costs.

The conflict between Russia and the Ukraine affected operations in both countries; in Russia operations continued subject to significant logistical and financial constraints, while in Ukraine operations were largely suspended for a period and later resumed when it was feasible and safe. During 2022 sales in Russia and Ukraine combined represented a mid-single digit percentage of Syngenta’s total sales.

Operating income as a percentage of sales was 14 per cent in 2022. Excluding restructuring costs, operating income as a percentage of sales increased by two percent in 2022 compared with 2021; sales price rises offset the impact of higher raw material and other production costs, though with some reduction in gross margin as a percentage of sales and increased operational leverage, higher capitalization of development costs and the impact of a litigation settlement in 2021 more than offset a higher charge for doubtful receivables and increased employee incentive costs. Including costs reported in cost of goods sold, restructuring and impairment charges were $249 million in 2022 before related taxation, compared to $240 million in 2021. Currency exchange rate impacts reduced operating income by approximately $54 million.

Sales of Crop Protection products increased by

FGNI to organise 4 seminars this year to suggest measures for the betterment of small and marginal farmers

In the next 25 years, by the time India’s Amritkal is complete, India will write a better and more spectacular story wherein the agriculture sector will play an important role, said Dr Himanshu Pathak, Director General, Indian Council of Agriculture Research & Secretary, Department of Agriculture Research and Education (DARE). He describes the coming together of centres, states, industry and Civil Society organisations in the welfare of the agriculture sector as a healthy thing, under the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India.

He was speaking at a seminar in New Delhi on ‘Unlocking the Potential of India’s Agriculture: Key to Unleash A Thriving Economy’ organised by the Foundation for the Growth of New India (FGNI).

Dr Pathak who himself was a farmer in his early growing-up years said that he feels the pain of India’s farmers, particularly the small and marginal farmers.

Citing the recent applauds India has received from Bill Gates and various countries, he said, “We have come a long way from begging bowl in hands to self-sufficiency and second largest producer of food grains, however, if India is to be developed nation, most probably by 2047, it cannot happen without agriculture and contribution of small and marginal farmers.”

Dr Pathak was joined by Dr R. B. Singh, Chancellor of Central Agricultural University, Imphal and President & Founding Member of FGNI and Shri R. G. Agarwal, Advisor, FGNI.

Dr R. B. Singh strongly pitched for making growth inclusive, sustainable, symmetric, high-performing and in line with the SDG goals of India.

R. G. Agarwal candidly spoke at length on a number of issues faced by Indian farmers, including the use of injurious pesticides imported from China which is damaging the soil and crops, lack of technology in hands of farmers, different treatment to fertiliser and pesticides by the government etc. and demanded free & competitive markets to maximise farmers’ income, time-bound approval for researched based products used in agriculture, enabling policy initiatives & incentives for precision farming and advance IT tools for agriculture.

“India has a great potential to increase both production and export of food grains and crop chemicals. If we have a more enabling environment and policy support, India can easily be the leader in this space. Moreover, if we can do away with waste of food grains which is roughly 30 per cent, which is possible through technology, we will be prepared to meet our requirements in 2050 too, “said Agarwal.

Binod Anand, who spoke on the plight of small and marginal farmers, proposed to organise four deliberations on the issues faced by farmers. The same was agreed upon by all scientists and eminent personalities. DG ICAR Dr Himanshu Pathak also accepted to be a patron of the foundation.

FGNI to organise 4 seminars this year

Company wants to be a dependable partner for leek growers and offer a broad and innovative portfolio in order to support their future growth.

Since last year, leek growers have had more varieties to choose from. Rijk Zwaan is aiming to play a serious role in this important crop, following an intensive period of development work. It has initially launched four strong new varieties that pave the way for a complete portfolio of hybrid leek varieties, that helps leek growers to address today’s challenges. Here, three key Rijk Zwaan employees discuss the importance of collaboration, their drive to support customers’ future growth, and the company’s ambitions.

Dependable partner for leek growers

Bert Crins (Breeder), Filip Hermans (Crop Coordinator) and Rik Van Laere (Crop Manager) all played a key role in the launch of the new leek varieties. They are keen to emphasise the importance of teamwork, since they worked together not only with numerous other colleagues, but also with various growers from seven European countries.

Van Laere explains why Rijk Zwaan’s decision to invest in the development of leek varieties was a logical one: “As one of the world’s leading vegetable breeding companies, we believe that such an important European crop belongs in our range. We want to be a dependable partner for leek growers and offer a broad and innovative portfolio in order to support their future growth.”

Collaboration equals speed

According to Crins, the success of this project is thanks to the effective collaboration between the Rijk Zwaan team and the growers: “We breathed new life into our leek breeding programme ten years ago. We started by identifying the market needs; that gave us a clear goal to aim for. We then gradually improved our genetics and worked towards that goal. Over the past five years, we’ve made strong progress thanks to the short lines of communication and a continuous feedback loop between Breeding, Product Development and the market. Growers in all important European leek markets ran trials with high-potential varieties and shared their findings with us. That enabled us to make any necessary changes quickly.”

Hermans adds: “We should be proud of that speed because it’s pretty unique. It meant that we could introduce the first four varieties in our range simultaneously. They differ in terms of earliness and shaft length, but they are all aligned with the market needs.”

Challenges for leek growers

Hermans is happy to explain more about those needs. “Leek growers are looking for labour-friendly varieties, not only because labour accounts for a big share of their costs, but also because employees are in increasingly short supply. Therefore, a leek variety must be easy to clean,” he says. “Harvest reliability is another requirement. Due to ever-tighter restrictions on the use of crop protection agents, resistances are becoming more important in the battle against pests and diseases. Needless to say, we’re focusing heavily on developing varieties with resistances against problems such as thrips and leek rust. The third challenge is climate change. Heat and drought can have a big impact on leek crops due to the long season, which is why we strive to develop robust varieties. Besides that, a leek variety must have good agronomical traits and produce a high yield.”

The best four leek varieties

The four new varieties meet all of those needs. They clearly emerged from the long selection process as the high-potential varieties, Crins explains: “Floccus RZ, Nebulus RZ, Volutus RZ and Radiatus RZ were selected as the best, including based on growers’ trials.”

Hermans sums up the key characteristics: “Floccus is for the earliest cycles. It’s fast and has high tolerance to bolting and thrips. Nebulus follows on from that. It’s a uniform, labour-friendly and versatile variety. Volutus is for the late-autumn/early-winter segment. It remains short, uniform and nicely upright with a blue leaf colour. Last but not least, Radiatus is a prepack type which like Volutus is upright with blue leaves, plus it is strong against thrips.”

Paving the way for a complete portfolio

There are more new leek varieties in the pipeline. Rijk Zwaan is continuing to expand its portfolio. Hermans: “In the autumn of 2022 we selected several new varieties to complete our portfolio in the other segments. As soon as these varieties become commercial, they will be listed on the websites for the specific production regions. We will continue to work closely with the growers to fine-tune how to optimise cultivating our varieties in practice. Of course, our next generation of varieties will also be focused on even more harvest reliability, labour efficiency and resistances. That’s how we stay relevant in every market segment.”

Company wants to be a dependable partner

CRISP informs growers about rubber cultivation and provides solutions online

Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII) and the Digital University of Kerala has been developed CRISP (Comprehensive Rubber Information System Platform). The app was launched by Z.P. Patel, Vice Chancellor, of Navsari Agricultural University, Gujarat.

With the help of CRISP, the farmers will now be able to receive recommendations from RRII on production and productivity enhancement, reduction of cultivation cost, maintenance of soil fertility, disease control measures, etc. Currently, these facilities are reaching the farmers through traditional extension methods. Many of these recommendations are location specific and can be linked to geo-information systems and delivered directly to the farmers.

KN Raghavan, Executive Director, Rubber Board, launched the e-library of RRII. Saji Gopinath, Vice-Chancellor of the Digital University of Kerala released the book ‘Status report- Molecular and physiological markers for genetic improvement of natural rubber’.

Dr Z. P. Patel planted the first plant of rubber in Gujarat in July 2022 in the presence of Dr K. N. Raghvan and other dignitaries of NAU, Navsari and RRII, Kottayam at Agricultural Experimentation Station (AES), Paria of the NAU. Under this project total of 1200 saplings of rubber were planted, of which 600 saplings were planted at AES, Paria research station and other 600 saplings were planted at various other stations as a location trial in South Gujarat.

CRISP informs growers about rubber cultivation and