KWS Opens Cutting-Edge R&D Facility in Navolato, Mexico

KWS Unveils New R&D Hub in Sinaloa, Mexico

On Wednesday, March 13th, seed innovator KWS marked a significant milestone with the official inauguration of its state-of-the-art breeding station in Sinaloa, Mexico. This facility will spearhead breeding initiatives for tomatoes and peppers, along with conducting screening operations for cucumbers, melons, and watermelons. Since venturing into the long-term growth market for vegetable seeds in 2019, KWS has been strategically expanding its global footprint, establishing a network of sites to bolster its breeding and sales endeavors in new territories.

Alberto Gonzalez Acuña, the National Sales Manager of KWS Vegetables Mexico, expressed the company’s commitment, stating, “At KWS Vegetables Mexico, our objective is to deliver premium-quality vegetable seeds tailored for the Mexican market.” He emphasized that the new breeding station in Navolato empowers them to cultivate competitive varieties addressing the key challenges encountered by local farmers, thus fortifying their presence in the market.

The inauguration ceremony drew approximately 70 attendees, featuring presentations by key figures including Alberto Gonzalez Acuña, Peter Hofmann (Executive Board Member), Simon Walter (Business Unit Head Vegetables), and Coert Engels (Global Head of Breeding Vegetables). Francisco Perez Lopez and Aurelio Bautista, the Tomato and Pepper Breeders respectively, provided insights into their breeding programs, while Victor Zefra, the Farm Manager, offered a virtual tour of the cutting-edge facility.

Operating out of Culiacán since 2020, KWS has already established a commercial portfolio for tomato seeds in Mexico. Sinaloa, situated along the west coast, stands out as a pivotal region for vegetable cultivation. Spanning across 10.3 hectares in the municipality of Navolato, the new facility boasts warehouses, offices, extensive open field production areas, and greenhouses covering 4,500 m², with plans for expansion to 5,000 m² in the near future. Concurrent with construction, KWS has assembled a team of approximately 45 professionals, comprising seasoned breeders, agricultural experts, and seasonal workers.

Ailton Ribeiro, Head of Breeding Latin America at KWS Vegetables, elucidated, “The new station will serve as the nucleus of our breeding initiatives for the Mexican vegetable market, with a primary focus on developing innovative tomato and pepper varieties, pivotal crops for both Mexican agriculture and our company.”

Background: Forging Ahead in Vegetable Seeds

With over 165 years of expertise in plant breeding, KWS has evolved into a global leader in the field. In 2019, the company ventured into the burgeoning market for vegetable seeds, leveraging a greenfield strategy supplemented by strategic acquisitions and licensing agreements. This included the acquisition of prominent Dutch vegetable breeding firm, Pop Vriend Seeds, renowned for its expertise in spinach and beans breeding. Additionally, KWS acquired Italian vegetable seed company Geneplanta S.r.l. (now KWS Vegetables Italia) in March 2021, bolstering its capabilities in tomato breeding. Concurrently, KWS has been actively expanding its business division, launching breeding operations in Brazil, Spain, Turkey, Italy, the Netherlands, and now, Mexico.

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