KWS inaugurates new R&D facility in Uberlândia, Brazil

19 June 2024 | Int. Greenhouse Guide |


As part of its international growth strategy, seed specialist KWS opened its new research and breeding station for vegetables in Uberlândia, located in the western part of the Minas Gerais state in Brazil. The team will focus on breeding for tomato, melon and watermelon. The location has been inaugurated with an official ceremony. 

The approximately 100 visitors were welcomed by Ailton Ribeiro, Head of Breeding Latin America at KWS Vegetables, who officially opened the inauguration with a presentation, toast and cutting of the ribbon. Afterwards, everyone was able to get an overview of the new breeding station and several varieties in the field on a tour. 

The 13-hectare sized location includes warehouses, offices, 3,800 square meters of greenhouses and 7 hectare of open field area. The team of around 60 people consists of research experts, breeders and a farm team. For the next couple of years, it is planned to add some greenhouse area for phytopathology activities as well. 

“This station will be the main hub for our activities for the Brazilian and South American vegetables market where we expect to develop new varieties and hybrids that are well adapted to tropical and subtropical conditions, attending an increasing demand for vegetables with better quality, higher yielding and resistance to the main pests and diseases”, says Ailton Ribeiro, Head of Breeding Latin America at KWS Vegetables. 

“This new investment from KWS in Uberlândia combines experience and innovation with a long-term goal for delivering added value with our varieties to this tropical and subtropical country with its challenging conditions”, adds Eduardo Albonico, National Sales Manager Brazil for KWS Vegetables. 

In Brazil, in addition to the site in Uberlândia, KWS Vegetables has an office building in Campinas and breeding activities in Petrolina. Petrolina is located in the northeastern region of Brazil. This is an important area for melon, serving the domestic and export markets in the US and Europe. Climate and soil conditions allow melon growing year-round at this location. The office in Campinas mainly manages Finance, Sales and Development, and also supports the Research Station in Uberlândia. 

Background: New business unit for vegetable seeds
KWS is one of the world’s leading plant breeding companies. With a history of more than 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 sunflower. 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 focusing on the needs of the value chain. 

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 2021. – 2 – 

In parallel, KWS has been concentrating on staffing the new business division as well as on launching its own breeding activities in Brazil, Spain, Turkey, Italy, The Netherlands and Mexico. To that end, the seed specialist is continuously expanding its network of breeding stations. The aim of KWS is to develop a strategically significant position in the vegetable seed market by focusing on breeding for the needs of the value chain and keeping the end-customer at the forefront of its strategy. 

About KWS
KWS is one of the world’s leading plant breeding companies. More than 5,000 employees* in over 70 countries generated net sales of around €1.8 billion in fiscal 2022/2023. A company with a tradition of family ownership, KWS has operated independently for over 165 years. It focuses on plant breeding and the production and sale of seed for corn, sugarbeet, cereals, vegetables, oilseed rape and sunflowers. KWS uses leading-edge plant breeding methods to continuously improve yield for farmers and plants’ resistance to diseases, pests and abiotic stress. To that end, the company invested more than €300 million last fiscal year in research and development. 

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