Pannar Seed chalks up 50 years

2008-11-06 00:00

The largest seed company in Africa, Greytown-based Pannar Seed, is firmly on track with its expansion programmes, including the commissioning of additional storage capacity at all its plants.

This comes after seed-drying facilities and high-volume electronic sorting equipment were introduced at its plants.

The company, family-owned, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year with a history of consistent growth.

Pannar has a presence in eight African countries, Argentina and the United States. It employs more than 650 people in South Africa and about 150 elsewhere.

MD Deon van Rooyen said Pannar is also commissioning a new seed conditioning facility in Zambia.

“In the last five years, Pannar has extended its research and commercial seed operations into the U.S. and Argentina, and also licenses its maize and sunflower genetics to companies in Europe and further afield. Trial work is also being undertaken in emerging markets, including Brazil and Mexico.”

Van Rooyen said keeping abreast of technology “is a primary concern and occupies a lot of our time and investment funding”.

“The seed industry has become technologically driven. More attention is also being devoted to the demand for specific output traits. For example, we have introduced a high oleic acid hybrid to our sunflower package for the production of healthier oil,” he said.

The group’s product range covers dry beans, sorghum, maize, soybeans, sunflower and wheat.

Van Rooyen is keenly aware of the challenges associated with operating in developing countries, saying the company must take account of political risks as well as skills shortages.

kavith@witness.co.za

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