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Asia & Pacific Seed Association and World Vegetable Center sign consortium agreement

Marco Wopereis: “We are proud to partner with APSA, the largest regional seed association in the world”

BANGKOK — 7 December 2016 — The Asia and Pacific Seed Association (APSA) and the World Vegetable Center (WorldVeg) have created a partnership for the development and testing of new climate-versatile tomatoes, peppers and cucurbits.

The “APSA and World Vegetable Center Consortium” agreement was signed on 7 December 2016 in Bangkok by APSA Executive Director Heidi Gallant and WorldVeg Director General Marco Wopereis. Representatives of leading seed and plant breeding enterprises, including Chia Tai, Lion Seeds, Dynamic Seeds, EastWest Seed and Kasetsart University attended the signing.

“The signing of this consortium represents not only a significant opportunity for participating members, who will gain access to cutting-edge breeding resources developed by WorldVeg, but stands to serve as a pro-active and effective response to regional and global food security challenges,” said Ms. Gallant.

“Every country in the world has been, and will continue to be impacted by climate change, while the demand for new, quality and versatile vegetable varieties continues to grow. With its global network of research centers and breeding scientists, WorldVeg’s objectives and vision are very much in line with our own, and together we can make a lasting impact moving forward,” she added.

The consortium’s program, which will only be offered to APSA members, enables participating breeders and seed producers to obtain newly developed breeding lines from WorldVeg for the purpose of field trials.

Breeders will in turn participate in feedback surveys and meetings throughout and at the end of their trials, so everyone can share, review and analyze results. WorldVeg will then log and track the data to apply towards further research and development.

Commenting on what he termed the “impact pathway” of the consortium, Mr. Wopereis said “We are often asked what our research is doing for the farmers…the seed companies are closest to the farmers, so they know what is needed in the field. Their insights will help us establish our breeding priorities, so it’s a win-win and with such a program. There is reciprocal information flow: We provide information to the seed companies and farmers, and they provide feedback to us.”

Wopereis noted that for 2017, WorldVeg will provide new breeding lines specifically for tomato, sweet pepper, chili pepper and cucurbits (gourds, squash, pumpkins and cucumbers) through its headquarters in Taiwan, as well as its research stations in Thailand. These lines are being developed specifically for multiple-disease resistance, especially to viruses and fungi.

“Important traits in the pipeline for future lines include multiple disease resistance, improved heat tolerance, and insect resistance – traits important to address the problems brought on by climate change,” he said. “We are proud to partner with APSA, the largest regional seed association in the world, essentially linking us with a range of seed companies across the region. I’d like to thank Ms. Gallant for ensuring this agreement could happen, and I look forward to great progress.”

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WorldVeg Director General Marco Wopereis and APSA Executive Director Heidi Gallant signed an agreement to guide future collaboration.