Seed World

S&W and AGT Create Joint Venture in South Africa for Sorghum and Sunflower

S&W Seed Company announced that it has created a joint venture with Canadian-based AGT Food and Ingredients (“AGT”) subsidiary, AGT Foods Africa (Pty) Ltd, to form a new company registered in South Africa to operate under the name of SeedVision SA (Pty.) Ltd. S&W provides expertise in agricultural breeding, production and processing for the alfalfa, sunflower, sorghum species, and stevia industries. AGT is one of the largest suppliers of value-added pulses, staple foods and food ingredients in the world.

SeedVision plans to leverage AGT Foods Africa’s production and processing facilities to produce S&W’s hybrid sunflower, grain sorghum and forage sorghum for sale by SeedVision in the African continent, Middle East countries and Europe. AGT Foods Africa has agreed to utilize its production resources in South Africa, Zambia and Tanzania, and its seed cleaning and warehousing facilities at Krugersdorp, South Africa.

S&W has created an elite portfolio of hybrid sorghum and hybrid sunflower germplasm that is ideally suited for the African market. S&W accessed elite grain sorghum germplasm from around the world to develop and bring to market varieties of superior field performance with key attributes such as high yield, tolerances to extreme weather conditions (such as drought), insect and disease resistance, grain quality and harvestability. As sorghum is grown in drier zones where corn cannot be grown, yield, drought tolerance, standability, and disease resistance are important attributes for sorghum growers. S&W’s Australian based sorghum breeding program provides excellent products for the African environments.

As forage sorghum is used mainly for cattle grazing, hay production and silage, S&W’s forage sorghum varieties feature superior stem quality, standability, high sugar levels, high dry matter production, and low prussic acid levels.

S&W develops elite disease resistance sunflower seed hybrids and partners with leading global companies to develop herbicide resistant characteristics, specific oil profiles — both oleic and linoleic —and maximize yield potential for different growing conditions around the world.

SeedVision will be appointing a Commercial Manager to commence sales and marketing activities. S&W and AGT Foods Africa have enjoyed a very long and successful relationship via companies acquired by S&W in recent years, including S&W’s Seed Genetics International and SV Genetics subsidiaries based in Australia.

Mark Wong, chairman and CEO of S&W, says, “We are pleased to partner with AGT to expand the availability of our sorghum and sunflower products into the African market. AGT is a large international provider of food ingredients throughout the world and the addition of sorghum and sunflower expands their already large menu of staple foods and food ingredients. Africa represents a large market and we look forward to a successful collaboration with AGT to develop this critically important market for these important products.”

“We have viewed Southern Africa as a key production origin for some time to meet global food production needs. Through our Africa platform, with AGT Foods Africa and our management team there, we have continued working to grow our geographic distribution and production platforms in the region. Seed availability of all crops is a critical component to growing production and is an area that AGT is focused on in the many agricultural production origins we operate in. Our newly announced partnership with S&W to form this new joint venture allows us to extend our key processing and distribution assets in Southern Africa to grow opportunities for more targeted agricultural production of these important crops in the region,” says Murad Al-Katib, President and CEO of AGT.

The initial ownership of SeedVision will be 50.1 percent by S&W and 49.9 percent by AGT Foods Africa.