“The area around Almería is one of the most important locations for vegetable breeding and cultivation in the world. Building a breeding station at this site is an important step in settingthe course for developing our breeding and research programmes and so further expanding KWS' vegetable business”, says Wybe Van der Schaar, Head of Breeding Spain.
The plot is located in the middle of the cultivation area in El Ejido, Almería. The site is being built up from scratch and the first preparatory activities for the construction measures are tostart soon. “We are very much looking forward to get started here and to develop high quality varieties for our customers that have a high tolerance to abiotic stress and minimize the use of resources in growing them”, Van der Schaar adds.
Already in 2020, KWS has started its first breeding and commercial activities in Spain and has been continuing building up an experienced team for the market there.
Background: New business unit for vegetable seeds
KWS is one of the world’s leading plant breeding companies. With a history of 165 years in the seed industry, the company focuses on plant breeding, and the production and sale of seeds for corn, sugarbeet, cereals, rapeseed and sunflowers. In 2019, the company announced its entry into the long-term growth market for vegetable seeds, based on a greenfield approach which entails organic growth, supplemented by suitable acquisitions and the sales of licensed-in varieties.
This included the acquisition of the Dutch vegetable breeding company Pop Vriend Seeds, a very important player in spinach and beans breeding. In addition, KWS acquired the Italian vegetable seed company Geneplanta S.r.l. (now: KWS Vegetables Italia), a specialist in breeding, production and sales of tomato varieties, in March last year. In parallel, KWS has been concentrating on staffing the new business division as well as on launching its own breeding activities in Brazil, Mexico, and Turkey. The focus is on spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, melons, watermelons, beans, red beet and Swiss chard.