Axia Seeds breeds tomato varieties for Chinese greenhouse industry
Axia Seeds not only works at the development of new tomato varieties in Naaldwijk, but also in China. “In the region in which we’re operational, there are about 30,000 hectares of tomato,” says CEO Sandor van Vliet. “If we can annex but a small percentage of that, you have an interesting market.”
Axia Seeds has been breeding tomato varieties for the Chinese market for three years now. To achieve this, Axia set up a joint venture with the Shouguang Vegetable Group. The companies have known each other for years and work closely together.
Why in China? “For several reasons,” says Van Vliet. “Short lines and contact with the chain are important to the company and that is difficult when you’re 7,500 kilometres away. And the climatic conditions in the Netherlands barely allow you to breed for the Spanish market, let alone the Chinese.”
There is still much to be done. Many growers work with fixed seed varieties and use seeds of their own. This does not advance quality and disease resistance. Axia wants Chinese growers to switch to hybrids. “There is great need for resistant varieties. With our breeding program we are responding to the need to develop these healthy specimens. But we’re talking baby steps.”
Publication date: 11/25/2013