Sustainable agriculture company Monsanto on Friday opened its R15-million renovated breeding centre, in Petit, near Benoni.
The breeding centre is located on a 300 ha maize farm and hosts new offices, which are more than double the size of the original office, and an audiovisual boardroom that allows local employees to communicate with their international counterparts.
The breeding centre employs around 25 people.
Speaking to Engineering News Online at the launch, Monsanto South Africa and Water Efficient Maize for Africa (Wema) breeding lead Kiru Pillay said the breeding centre was built to better satisfy farmers’ needs.
“We import germplasms from around the world and use this to set up new starts and make new breeding crosses. We then develop those products to meet the local requirements,” he added.
Pillay further noted that the work done at the breeding centre currently would not be the same as the work that will be carried out next year, as the breeding team continually evaluates how the germplasms can be improved to be more effective.
Through its Wema programme, Monsanto also provides maize germplasms to small-scale farmers that have less than 3 ha of land. The project is operational in South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda.
Through the seeds, food security is enhanced as maize is enabled to grow during times of drought. The project is now in its eighth year.