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Two Thousand Vegetable Varieties Struck from Catalogs

(28 June - Cropchoice News) -- Seminis, the world's biggest vegetable seed maker, announced today that 2,000 varieties of vegetable seeds - 25% of its global product line - will be cut from company catalogs. The move, a result of consolidation in the seed industry, may substantially reduce farmer choice in many vegetable crops.

Semini's principal brands include Asgrow Vegetable Seeds, Royal Sluis, and Petoseed. According to the company, a subsidiary of Mexican conglomerate Savia, the move was required to reduce costs and rationalize corporate structure after a buying binge of smaller seed companies.

Reducing farmer choices and fewer plantings will save the cash-strapped company $35 million this year and concentrate sales on more profitable varieties. A heavy investor in biotechnology, Seminis recently announced new patents on seedless tomatoes and GMO lettuce, cabbage, and papayas.

Seed production facilities across the world will be reduced from 21 to 6, "with a corresponding reduction in headcount" of employees. According to Semini's President Alejandro Rodriguez-Graue, "These measures and their cost impact in the short term are critical to unlock the potential growth and profitability of Seminis in the medium and long term."

With the cuts, Semini's global commerical offerings - which cover 60 vegetable species - will be reduced to 6,000 products.

Since 1994, Seminis has absorbed numerous vegetable seed makers familiar to American and European farmers. In addition to Asgrow Vegetable Seeds, Royal Sluis, and Petoseed, Seminis owns companies like Bruinsma and DiVine Ripe, as well as Asian seedmakers Choong Ang and Hungnong.

SOURCE: Seminis