Multinational seeds and crop inputs company Syngenta will focus on corn crop in Vietnam in the backdrop of downward revision in US’ corn output, according to Andrew Guthrie, Regional Director, Syngenta Asia Pacific Pte Ltd.

Rice is the dominant crop in Vietnam, but the area under corn is expanding rapidly as it is a major animal feed crop.

With about 1.2 million hectares under corn cultivation and an average yield of about 4.3 million tonnes, Vietnam also imports over a million tonnes of corn annually. The Government is keen on expanding corn acreage and yield.

Guthrie was addressing a group of reporters from India and the Asia Pacific on a Syngenta-hosted tour to participate in a media workshop to familiarise the journalists on the company's programmes in the region and Vietnam, in particular. His remark comes in the backdrop of reports of a significant drop anticipated in US corn output.

The drop is attributed to droughts in the Mid West which will see a 12 per cent cut to about 330 million tonnes, say reports quoting USDA figures.

The region's gains in corn are an opportunity for Syngenta to expand its business.

The company is present along the entire chain of crops from seeds and seed care to crop protection inputs to enhance yields.

Farmers need inputs that increase productivity and profits.

The agriculture industry is set to grow from a $70 billion business to over $250 billion by 2025.

In tandem with this growth Syngenta’s sale is expected to grow to over $22 billion post-2015 from about $12 billion. Syngenta's share in the $19-billion market in the Asia Pacific is about 9 per cent and makes it a market leader in agriculture inputs, seeds and crop protection, Guthrie said.

challenges

But the growth will not be without its challenges. Apart from eight million large farmers with land holding more than 100 hectares each, the company has to reach out to over 450 million small farmers who farm on about a hectare each in the Asia Pacific who represent its major customer base.

The company will bring to bear its technological strength, including in biotechnology, global experience and expertise, he said.

Shane Emms, Commercial Unit Head, Syngenta-Vietnam, said economic growth is changing lifestyles in the region.

Demand for corn is being driven by increasing meat consumption. It is expected to increase to about 68 kg a year in 2020 from the present 45 kg.

The company reaches over 200,000 farmers every year to disseminate its technology in seed care and crop protection that have contributed to increasing corn yield to more than four tonnes a hectare from three tonnes earlier.

(This article was published on November 7, 2012)
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