Buenos Aires, March 8th. Yesterday, Thursday 7th, a field day was run in Delmas, South Africa, to show local farmers the state-of-the-art in the soybean farming. One of the companies present there was the Argentine soybean breeder Santa Rosa Semillas. They had some plots with their cultivars and a stand to explain farmers the benefits of their genetic.

“We had a productive dialogue with local farmers. They saw how our varieties have been adapted to the South African agro-ecological conditions. We come here to bring farmers our best genetic and to help them to improve their yields”, the chairman of Santa Rosa Semillas, Felipe Berruhet told to www.eFarmNewsAr.com.

“In comparison with Argentina, we observe that South African farmers would be able to reach a higher soybean output. Currently, they are planting rows 73 cm between each other, when they can reduce this distance to 52 cm or even less. We believe that there is a huge potential to boost the soybean production here”, the general manager, Rinaldo Gosparini, added.

The soybean production in SA is growing and it is expected that in the short term farmers plant one million hectares. Santa Rosa has a 130 hectares experimental farm in Delmas to conduct the adaptation of its own cultivars to the SA conditions but yesterday the launched its SA subsidiary Santa Rosa Seed Africa PTY, in association with Agri Seed and Technology, led by breeder Derick van Staden. “Farmers welcomed our intention to run a breeding program in their country. A royalty (levies) payment system has been implemented by South African Cultivar and Technology Agency, to improve the productivity of some crops like wheat, rapeseed or soybean, and they really appreciate that the levies paid by them be re-invested here and return as better cultivars”, Gosparini explains to www.eFarmNewsAr.com.

Mr. Berruhet added that they closed agreements with new licensees of their genetic. “The commercial channel of soybean seed is quite different to the Argentine one. For example, they sell 25 kilograms bags instead of 45 kg and here doesn’t exist the exchange seed for grain at the harvest, or the financing the seed purchase until the harvest. Here, the seed commercialization is via middleman and in cash”, the businessman said.

The chairman of Santa Rosa also sees an advantage of its company in the SA seed market. “Most of the breeding companies in South Africa are focused in hybrids, like corn, but not in self-pollinated crops like the soybean”, he remarked. Berruhet said that they are in continuous talking with counterparts in South Africa, looking for alliance and fruitful cooperation frameworks with local companies and players. “It’s a matter of time and building confidence”, he remarked.

We ask if they consider that SA is the entrance door to the Subsaharanian African seed market. “We see a huge agricultural potential in South Africa and in the neighbor countries. We have no doubt that Africa will be a great food producer in the next 20 or 25 years, and we want to be here”, Berruhet concluded.

Photo: Derick van Staden (center) is the local partner of the JV Santa Rosa Seeds Africa PTY. Mr. Rinaldo Gosparini on the righ.

Photo. A picture of the soybean demostration plots in the Delmas field day.