The award was presented by His Excellency Paul Menkveld, Ambassador of the Netherlands to Thailand and was received on behalf of East-West Seed by Michel Devarreware, Vice President of the East-West Seed Group and Wichai Laocharoenpornkul, General Manager for Thailand.
East-West Seed is one of the 10 largest vegetable seed companies in the world. It initiated the use of Dutch knowledge and technology from the seed industry to contribute to increased income for smallholder farmers in tropical countries, better knowledge on vegetable farming and plant breeding, and an improved food situation.
Based in Thailand, it employs over 4,600 people and has 15 R&D establishments in 7 countries. The company exports to over 60 countries in tropical areas of the world and serves over 18 million farmers around the world.
East-West Seed scored high in the following 5 selection criteria by NTCC:
- Innovation - East-West Seed has demonstrated a strong focus on R&D and innovation. Over the last two years the company introduced a total of 53 new products. The company is active in plant breeding and research with 15 R&D establishments in 7 countries and 11-15% of company turnover invested into research. This makes EWS one of the largest private investors in agricultural biotech in Thailand.
- Sustainability (People, Profit, Planet) - Feeding the growing global population is one of the most pressing challenges of the 21st century. East-West Seed’s business promotes sustainability by empowering smallholder farmers in tropical regions and contributing to a better, healthier and wealthier society. Its work is centered on improving farmers’ income to facilitate livelihood improvement in rural areas and to overall availability of nutritious vegetables. In 2015, East-West Seed scored #1 in the Access to Seeds Index.
- Dedication to Training and HR Development - In 2013, East-West Seed launched within the organization the “East-West Seed Academy” to harness expert knowledge on Seedsmanship and provide an opportunity for talents to continue learning at work. It has training partnerships with Wageningen University and Breedwise BV-Netherlands, a professional training consultancy specialized on the seed sector. Early 2016, East-West Seed organized together with the University of California-Davis the first ever “Seed Business 101” course in Southeast Asia which gathered 24 international participants from the global seed industry.
- Promotion of Thai-Dutch relations - East-West Seed engages in research collaboration as an effective means to strengthen Netherlands-Thai relations. It has developed a plant breeding and seed technology training program with Wageningen University and Kasetsart University. Additionally, it donated THB 1 million for the new bioinformatics program at the Center for Agricultural Biotechnology (CAB) in Kasetsart University to stimulate Thai talent development in this novel field.
- Overall Business Achievement - Since 1982, the company has been developing vegetable varieties locally adapted to tropical conditions. Presently we have over 800 vegetable varieties in our portfolio, belonging to 37 crops. Vegetable production has multiplied in the countries where we are present, and we believe this inspires others to take a closer look at the economic relevance of vegetable farming in developing tropical countries.
Other jury members include:
- Ian Woo, Independent Consultant and Business Writer at The Nation
- Henk Kiks, B-Quik, and former award winner
- Attapol Lohkittivanich, Cryotech Asia, and former award winner
- Hans van den Born, Executive Director of the NTCC
- Bert Cesar, Board member and former Executive Director of the NTCC
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