East-West Seed tops global seed index

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – East-West Seed ranked first in a global survey that measures and compares the performance of leading seed companies in serving smallholder farmers.

The report said East-West Seed’s commitment to small holderfarmers is evident in all aspects of its business, including packaging, distribution, customer service, research and development, knowledge transfer and innovation.

According to the report, East-West Seed prioritizes the needs of smallholder farmers in the development of both local and global crops.

The index was published by the Access to Seeds Index Foundation, an independent organization funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Dutch government.

It aims to improve farmers’ access to a wider array of modern, more productive seed varieties by bridging the gap between seed companies and the smallholder farmer.

Bill Gates, speaking at a recent forum on innovation, emphasized the importance of agriculture in achieving global prosperity: “Over 70 percent of the poor people in the world are farmers. They have small plots of land, very little information, seeds that are very old, not much credit, and they’re just getting by. The changes in the weather in the future will make things even tougher for them. Every country that has gone to prosperity has raised their agricultural productivity pretty dramatically.”

It is estimated that by 2050 the world needs 70 percent more food to feed a population of nine billion, in an environment where less water and land is available.

The only way to achieve this is by increasing farm productivity, more yield from less land and resources, and a more environmentally sustainable way of producing food.

East-West Seed CEO Bert van der Feltz said: “We are grateful to the Access to Seeds Foundation for putting smallholder farmers in the center. The index is an important barometer of the seed industry’s impact on smallholder farmers.

They have been the driver of our business since East-West Seed was founded in 1982.

It is important to assist them because they are the key to improving worldwide access to nutritious food, and they contribute to economic growth.

When we do this, we achieve several goals at the same time: the farmer’s income increases, consumers have access to high quality vegetables, and we build an attractive and profitable seed business.”

The company’s goal is to improve the income and livelihoods of smallholder farmers by making available small seed packages (about $1 per pouch).

 East­West Seed is currently the leader for tropical vegetable seeds in Asia, with leading  market positions in Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. It has also expanded its business activities in India, Vietnam, China, Latin America, and Africa.

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