An exclusive interview with Butwa Godluck, sales and marketing manager of East West Seed, exhibitors at Agritech Expo Tanzania in Arusha
Let’s start with some background on your organisation and the work that you do, particularly in the agri sector?
East West began in 1982 with the goal of blending European style seedsmanship with Asian tropical vegetables. We were convinced that by introducing intensi
ve breeding programs to developing vegetable seed markets we could improve the lives of farmers while building a successful business. Our first commercial success, a hybrid bitter gourd, came after several years of research investment. But our hard work has paid off by significantly raising industry standards for all vegetable seeds.
After introducing the first hybrid vegetable seeds, we have become a market leader by selling premium quality hybrid and open pollinated seeds for all major tropical vegetable crops. Farmers who use our seeds understand the compelling fact that our premium seeds will earn them premium prices for their improved crops.
Our strategy is based on breeding appropriate varieties by living and working in the markets we serve. We have more than seven breeding station in different countries and continents covering tropical areas.
Our reputation as producers of excellent varieties reaches Asia, Europe, America and Africa where we provide seeds to vegetable producers demanding authentic and high quality vegetables.
Our success has come from a unique blend of strengths.
We have one of the best tropical Asian vegetable germplasm collections in the world, which helps our creative group of international breeders develop superior varieties. But we also have a unique approach to market development and assisting farmers.
Through our network of field representatives we understand first-hand the challenges farmers face, and promote innovative, problem-solving cultivation techniques. This hands-on exchange of knowledge promotes the success of both our farmer-customers and our business.
Which current projects are you particularly excited about at the moment?
We are happy to have a network of extension officers training farmers in rural areas, making sure the better seed for better yields is in action, with our partner SEVIA and Agakhan we provide agronomical support and training in more than 85% of Tanzania.
What in your view are the main challenges facing the agri sector in Tanzania and the region?
The main challenge in most African markets is lack of farming knowledge, access to agri-financing facility and skills that may enable farmers to reach their goals of profitable farming, another issue that pose challenge is availability of fake inputs and draught which have been increasing each year.
Any success stories/case studies that you can share?
Being the market leader in open field varieties and number one in global index for vegetable seed for vegetable seed companies for regional index in Eastern Africa.
What is your vision for the industry?
Our mission is to provide innovative products and services that will increase the income of vegetable farmers, and promote the growth and quality of the tropical vegetable industry.
What surprises you about this sector?
The opportunities available in most African markets and the willingness of farmers to learn and adopt new vegetable farming technology.
Anything you would like to add?
At East-West Seed, we cultivate ideas and harvest innovation. Research excites us. We explore new approaches and build an environment for creativity - whether in the laboratory, in the fields or in the offices. We learn and apply new technology, generating novel, innovative and relevant solutions. We welcome visitors to visit our booth and explore the wide knowledge and experience we have in vegetable industry.