Switzerland-based Syngenta announced plans to buy MRI Seed Zambia Ltd. and MRI Agro Ltd., a leading developer, producer and distributor of white corn seed in Zambia.
The white corn market has high growth potential and the crop is critical to Africa’s future food security, Syngenta said in a press release published in the Wall Street Journal.
Syngenta deals in herbicides, insecticides and fungicides; vegetables and flower seeds; seed care products; turf, garden, home care and public health products, according to its website.
The company employs more than 27,000 people in 90 countries with production sites in Texas, Nebraska, Louisiana, Switzerland, U.K., France, China, India and Brazil.
Syngenta has research sites in North Carolina, Switzerland, U.K., and India.
“Smallholders and larger farmers in Zambia will quickly benefit from the combined innovation of MRI and Syngenta in seeds, seed care and crop protection,” Syngenta COO John Atkin said. “This acquisition reflects our commitment to sustainable development in Africa, which is clearly emerging as the continent with the greatest growth potential. This will also provide the foundation for integrated crop solutions responding to the needs of African farmers.”
MRI Managing Director, Vladimir Ristanovic, said, “MRI’s success is directly linked to Zambia’s stable socio-political environment which has supported the development of one of the most vibrant seed industries in Africa. MRI is excited about the opportunity to further improve the availability of advanced technologies for corn growers in Zambia.”
MRI’s corn germplasm is among Africa’s most comprehensive and diverse, Syngenta said. It incorporates temperate, tropical and sub-tropical material. This portfolio will be developed to support expansion in high-growth East African markets and may be leveraged globally through Syngenta’s elite breeding programs.
In 2012, Syngenta committed to creating a $1 billion business in Africa by 2022 including the recruitment and training of more than 700 new employees.