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East-West Seed strengthens position in Central America

With the introduction of several promising new varieties, East-West Seed is building up its position in Central and Latin America. The independent breeder has high expectations of its first commercial determinate tomato variety for the Mexican market, but also their papaya program is bearing fruit. 

Herke van der Woude, Business Development Manager Latin-America at East-West Seed and based in Guatemala, explains that there is a lot in the pipeline in Latin America. "With the acquisition of Semillas Tropicales in 2014 we obtained an interesting breeding program that has resulted in promising varieties."

East-West's Latin American breeding activities take place in Guatemala, where a lot of emphasis is placed on development of varieties tailored to the local market and conditions. "We have positioned ourselves well in Guatemala with varieties like P-52 F1 and Tyral F1, but our activities also entail other markets in Central and South America. The trial and breeding stations are located in three regions and at different altitudes, each one of them simulating various Latin American climates.  This enables us to breed varieties for multiple markets and regions such as Mexico and Honduras. "

A grower of EWS' Bianco tomatoes in Chiapas, Mexico.

Van der Woude refers to the recent introduction of Bianco F1, a determinate tomato for the Central American and Southern Mexican fresh tomato markets. This variety is very suitable for cultivation in this region. It has a good yield, firm fruits of 150 to 180 grams and is resistant to the white fly-transmitted geminivirus. 

Grower and distributor Estuardo Guerra in Tres Ceibas, Jutiapa, Guatemala, with tomato Guerrero F1.

"Aside from the fresh determinate tomato industry, we are also positioning ourselves within the papaya sector. With more than 14,000 hectares of papaya in Mexico alone, it is a huge market in which not many other breeders have strong varieties available."

East-West Seed's Maradona F1 papaya hybrid has become a widely demanded hybrid in this market. "Thanks to its resistance against anthracnose and its high production and quality, several papaya growers located in Tamaulipas, Yuacatan, Veracruz, San Luis Potosi and Colima are demanding this variety."

Herke vand der Woude with David Ulises, a papaya grower in Yuacatan, Mexico. David grows 24 ha of Maradona and is waiting for new seeds to arrive.

The Maradona papaya is a good example of how East-West Seed benefits from its heritage in local markets. With its extensive breeding programs in South East Asia, the company is able to translate the success of local varieties to other places in the world. 

East-West Seed  has also opened up other niche markets in Latin America; the company is an important supplier of seeds for Asian vegetables. "We started with this 10 years ago in Mexico, where a lot of Asian vegetables are grown for export to the U.S. and Canada, where large groups of Asian minorities are living. This is a niche market in which we have a leading position. "

Other interesting developments are within the short-day onion space. "We are very excited to have several  innovations in the pipeline", said van der Woude. He added that the company has recently hired a new representative in Mexico to strengthen its position by building sustainable relationships with leading seed distributors. 

Papaya grower David Ulises in his Maradona field,together with Enrique Vasquez, a  papaya expert and EWS employee in Mexico.

For more information on their varieties, please download East-West Seed 'Mundo EWS' app in the Appstore or Google Play, or visit

Publication date: 6/21/2017
Author: Boy de Nijs



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