Hazera sows its seed with two cutting edge R&D investments

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Hazera sows its seed with two cutting edge R&D investments

Global seed company Hazera has made two large investments to bolster its research and development in a bid to accelerate the breeding of high-performance varieties. Marketing and communications manager Lando van Doorn tells www.freshfruitportal.com about the new cutting edge facilities in Israel and the Netherlands.

"The laboratories, breeding greenhouses and offices have been regrouped into a state-of-the-art Research and Development Center in Berurim in Israel where there is huge amounts of scientific research going on," he says. Hazera RD Berurim Air picture - edit

"In R&D we are scientifically examining the basic traits of a variety of crops to make the right crossings and combinations in order to create new varieties with all the desired characteristics.

"The drive behind is was that we had to renew our station and we wanted something that is really state-of-the-art. This is why we now have a completely new modern facility with top-notch technology."

The Berurim site was a four-year investment project worth NIS 80 million (US$20.7 million) and unite’s the company’s headquarters and laboratories in Israel.

The main R&D work here centers on crops like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and watermelon, where Hazera has a long-established breeding history and strong positions in the market.

"These are important crops for us to work on because they are the crops where we have particularly good positions and we are among the leaders on the international seed scene.

"The new facility in Israel strengthens our position and will accelerate the breeding of new high performance varieties because that is what it’s all about."

Hazera’s R&D work also has to match to the particular industry within the supply chain and create varieties that have the best characteristics for the users across a spectrum of sectors.

"Of course we look at the growers and this means looking at high yielding crops that are disease resistant and have uniformity.

"If you go further down the chain, there are some other types of requirements that have to be taken into account when you create new varieties. For example, the cutting industry wants vegetables that can be efficiently cut for packaging for the freshly prepared salads that you see in the supermarkets.

"While the deep freeze industry wants varieties that have a good resistance to processing so that they are quite solid and can also be cut efficiently. We try to put these types of characteristics into the varieties."

Shelf-life is a vital aspect for crops like tomatoes so R&D focuses on increasing longevity to meet the supermarkets requirements. Meanwhile, in the watermelon category, emphasis is on the firmness of the flesh inside the fruit.

"We are taking into consideration these types of requirements from the whole fresh produce supply chain more and more and are partnering up with people to work very closely on getting these types of characteristics into new varieties.

"If you want to make all of this possible you need to have cutting edge research facilities to improve the varieties in crops."

Investment in the Netherlands 

In parallel, Hazera is also investing more than €8 million (US$9 million) in a new R&D Center for breeding crucifer crops, brassicas and radish, in another site in the north of the Netherlands.

The project is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2017.

"The Netherlands is known as the cradle for the the brassica crops such as any type of cabbage like Savoy, Pointed, Red and White as well as Brussels sprouts and we have a strong position in these crops.

"Our former breeding center in the north of Holland was getting too old, we needed to find a new location and following negotiations with local authorities, we finally came to an agreement.

"The new site will also be completely state-of-the-art and further strengthened Hazera’s position. We are speaking here about long-term vision and investment."


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