Page 1

Q2 2013

Sprouts A newsletter for employees of East-West Seed Group

Building on 30 Years of Trust in Thailand


Message from the BOM A Good Start! Our group sales for the first four months of the year are very good, with a 107% difference against budget and 117% difference compared to the same period last year. We are picking up speed again. We recently inaugurated a brand-new facility in Vietnam. Our staff moved in their brand new office, and the plant is being readied for processing and seed technology. Now it's time to build up our market share again and serve the farmers in Vietnam. Our team, led by Wiwat, is ready.

We are steadily gaining market leadership in Myanmar, our new Home Market. We are seeing plenty more opportunities, especially as our extension services lay the foundation for better adoption of hybrid seeds among Burmese farmers. We have received approval from the Dutch government for the "Seeds of Expertise for the Vegetable Industry of Africa" or SEVIA project, which will enable us to provide technology fine-tuned for farmers in Tanzania. It is a much needed platform to propel the vegetable sector in the East African region, beginning with Tanzania where East-West Seed has been active since 2008. Our very own Vice Chairman Ard Groot is the lead person for this project representing EWS. We welcome our new Research Operations Manager for China, Dr. Goanghyeon Youn, or Youn for short. He is based in our Nanning station in Guangxi Province, and is responsible for developing our research organization and for effectively implementing our local breeding programs in China. He has what it takes to lead our enthusiastic team of breeders.

s? h S r U o t y p W

Our CSI teams in the Philippines, Thailand and India launched the "Think Big, Act Bold" program last March. The program has generated many creative, encouraging ideas so far and we look forward to seeing the best ones in implementation during the next few months.

Joost Pekelharing President

Bert van der Feltz Senior Vice President

Simon Jan de Hoop Vice President for R&D

Finally, this year we are celebrating the 30th anniversary of EWS in Thailand on the theme "30 Years of Trust". The year will be packed with activities to mark three decades of successful business in Thailand. More importantly, we share the celebration with our most important stakeholders, the farmers.

Sprout(ing) - noun, the practice of soaking, draining, and then rinsing seeds at regular intervals until they germinate, or sprout. Much like seeds, we are growing, maturing, learning and enjoying the work we do. Something beautiful emerges from our daily efforts... and then it just SPROUTS!

What a year this will be!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Calling all writers! We welcome article contributions and photos from all EWS departments in all countries. Please email Sprouts Editor-in-Chief Francine Sayoc-Shiraishi at


EWS Academy wraps up roadshow, launches LMS by Mark Relova


he EWS Academy completed its road-show by holding successful launches in Thailand (Bang Bua Thong and HGR) and Philippines in March. Close to 500 employees received a first-hand experience of our Academy, including its programs, courses and activities.

The launch activities were held in the afternoon, after the Townhall presentation of our President, Mr. Joost Pekelharing. To facilitate better communication, the launches were done in dual language: English-Thai in Thailand, and English-Tagalog in the Philippines.

Through games, engaging activities and real examples, the employees were made to realize the importance of being curious and seeking knowledge, and the value of sharing know-how with others. As in the launch that happened in EWS India, the message remained the same: The success of the EWS Academy depends on our collective culture of curiosity, hunger for learning, and passion for teaching others.

As an immediate next step, the Academy Learning Management System (LMS) was made available to all employees in the first week of April. This interactive system is equipped with powerful features such as an online library of our e-learning courses, social media that is similar to Facebook, an AcademyTV that is similar to YouTube, an online news portal, and many others. The long wait is over! We are excited for all employees to use this system in their learning and development. To visit our Academy LMS, go to, and type your laptop / pc log-in details.


Town Hall Meetings held in India, Thailand and Philippines by Francine Sayoc


he second round of Town Hall meetings on the 6 Strategic Initiatives were held in the first

quarter of the year in multiple locations including Aurangabad main office (India), Bang Bua Thong head office and HGR-Chiang Mai (Thailand) and Bulacan main office (Philippines). The Town Hall meetings are held every year since the launch of the 6 Strategic Initiatives to give an opportunity for BOM to present the progress on the strategies, as well as update the company about its performance and prospects. In India, the Town Hall meeting on 28 February was attended by over 80 members of the staff across different functions. More than half of them were attending the meeting for the first time as new employees, indicating the fast growing organization in India. The crowd was very much involved and enthusiastic, raising good questions in the Q&A session. For many, it was their first time to have an audience with all three BOM members. It proved to be a highly motivating experience.

EWPH TOWNHALL MEETING AND EWSA LAUNCH By Eric Adrian J. Panting and Marvin L. Mercado


wo big events were held last March 7 in the new office building





Employees from different divisions and sites of EWPH gathered in the head office to take part in the day's activities. In the morning, two big bosses Joost Pekelharing, EWS President and Bert Van der Feltz, SVP for Marketing - addressed the employees for the Townhall Meeting. The Vice Chairman, Ard Groot also graced the event. The Town Hall is a venue for the BOM to present the company situation, achievements, and strategies. Alongside with discussions about bananas and being BOLD (not bald), the two emphasized the importance of the Six Strategic Initiatives. (continued)


In Thailand, the Town Hall meeting was held on 4 March together with the launch of EWS Academy. It had the biggest audience out of all locations, with members of the EWTH, EWIT and ROH teams together under one roof. The Town Hall was made more significant as Sawitr Sangchan, General Manager of EWTH, announced the celebration of the 30th anniversary of EWS in Thailand. He also shared the involvement of EWTH in the Quality Seed Sharing Foundation, whose aim is to provide seeds to farming communities affected by natural disasters.

(continued) After the presentations, the employees were given the chance to ask questions and/or clarify company issues. Prizes were also handed out to the audience. In the afternoon, EWS Academy Manager Mark Relova facilitated a game to commence the EWSA Launch. Each employee was given half of a shape Another highlight of the event was the recognition program held for

with equations and numbers written on it, and the

participants to CSI-Thailand's Quality Leadership Project Contest. They were

objective was to find the other half. The lucky ones

handed a certificate onstage by no less than Company President Mr. Joost

who found their partners quickly were given prizes.

Pekelharing. The






presentations about the Academy - what it is about and what it is for, and how we can contribute to its success. He also showed a glimpse of the Learning Management System (LMS) which is a good, innovative and collaborative approach of learning, taking advantage of the modern technology. He also encouraged everyone to take part on contributing learning modules in which the best ones will be recognized and rewarded. Now EWPH has something to look forward to again - for we love challenges and proving our worth (as much as we love prizes!).


A meaningful Songkran celebration


ongkran is Thailand's most important festival, marking the

On 11 April, the EWIT and ROH teams visited a nearby center for the

beginning of the Thai New Year. The name Songkran comes

differently-abled, called the Ruamphanya Person Lame Association

from a Sanskrit word meaning 'passing' or 'approaching'.

in Sainoi. The team collected donations from the staff and were able to pool together 21,245 baht which was used to prepare lunch boxes and buy supplies like toiletries and medicines for the children. The team also made a generous cash donation to the Association.

EWTH upheld a long tradition of honoring elders by pouring water respectfully over their hands during their Songkran celebration last April. The team also offered alms to the monks, which was participated in by Company Vice Chairman Ard Groot. The day was also marked by fun games and contests.

EW China celebrates the New Year, recognizes high performers by Yang Qian and Wen Chao


he Chinese Traditional New Year

areas and were successful in their

(Spring Festival) comes at the

task. Each was awarded a certificate

beginning of February, and it presents

of merit and a simple token. Mr. Tang

a good opportunity for the long-

Yongqia, who helped his colleagues

observed Chinese custom of looking


back at the past year and recognizing

language experience, was recognized

good performance of employees. The

for his contribution.





Nanning station in China observed this tradition as they welcomed 2013.

Meanwhile the best workers were awarded to inspire and motivate

While the organization was still looking

others. Ms. Fang Lihu was recognized

for a professional financial assistant

for her record of attendance. Creativity

last year, Miss Hou took the initiative to

was also recognized and encouraged,

handle finance-related work. Both Ms.

as in the case of the hole-digging

Yang and Ms. Yin assisted recruiting

tool invented by Mr. Liang, which

the new breeding assistant, green

makes transplanting easier and more

house technician, and accountant.


They worked together in unfamiliar


“Dias de Campo� held in Guatemala

Nirvana, a big hit among farmers in Honduras

by Herke van der Woude ast April 21 and 22, field days or dia


The field days were attended by 41

de campo were held in two locations


in Guatemala where our products were

Panama, Venezuela, Peru, Colombia,

showcased to customers from 11

Brazil, Dominican Republic, Panama,

countries in South America.

El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.




National participants included growers In Zacapa, our customers were able


to see our varieties of sweet corn,

melon companies. Their interest was

onion, hot pepper, cucumber, tomato

very encouraging. Participants were

and other Asian vegetables, as well as


rootstock for melon and watermelon.

greenhouse varieties.

In Antigua, we showcased open field

In Antigua, the team organized a

varieties like determinate tomato, sweet

seminar with lectures on the success



of hybrid tomato Nirvana in Honduras,

cucumber, French beans, and snow

the development of Asian vegetables

peas. Greenhouse varieties were also

in Honduras and tomato breeding.

on display, including indeterminate

Everybody went home impressed and

tomato and rootstock.












by Herke van der Woude


n March, the EWS team in Latin America visited eight farmers' fields in Honduras, each one about

2-4 hectares in size. We learned that the farmers are extremely happy with Nirvana, a vigorous and highyielding tomato hybrid. They are impressed with Nirvana for many reasons. It has the best resistance to tomato yellow leaf curl virus and bacterial wilt, compared to the competitors' varieties. Fruit quality is excellent, having up to seven days longer shelf life than others. It can also be left on the plant longer without over-ripening. This characteristic enables farmers and traders to postpone their sales when prices are low. Nirvana was not an instant success and had to overcome initial challenges. Juan Ramon Funez, our distributor in Honduras, recognized that the fertilizer programs for the existing varieties were not suitable for Nirvana and proceeded to develop an alternative program for the variety. This integrative approach, where the distributor goes beyond the role of a salesman and becomes a growing advisor too, shows the value of knowledge in a product's success. Nirvana is grown in Honduras, but mainly exported to El Salvador. Recently, more and more fruits are sold in Honduras as well.


EWS Hai Mui Ten Do office and plant inaugurated


by Wiwat Phupaibul

ast-West Seed Hai Mui Ten Do (HMTD) held the grand opening

EWS HMTD was re-introduced to Vietnam on May 2012. After a

of its head office and seed processing and technology center in

year of operation, the company now has 60 employees in Sales &

Vietnam last May 07, 2013.

Marketing, Production, Processing, PDS, QA, HR and Finance. The opening of the processing plant boosts the company's drive to

The facility is located on a 2.7-hectare land in the Vietnam-Singapore

localize products through local seed processing, coating and auto

Industrial Park (VSIP) in Tan UyĂŞn district, Binh Duong province. It

packing, together with Quality Assurance and ABS system to ensure

includes a two-storey office building, 2,000 sq-meter modern seed

the best quality products for the Vietnamese market.

processing factory using modern European seed technology, 750 sq-meter conditioned storage warehouse, and quality assurance

EWS HMTD will continue to develop the Vietnam market in the

laboratory, with total investment of 100 billion Vietnamese dong

coming years, enabling more new products to be launched and grow

(USD 5 million).

in market share. The company is optimistic that it will become the market leader in Vietnam within the next 3 years.

Consul General of the Netherlands Mr. Simon van der Burg, officers from the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development, Board of Management of VSIP, over 65 customers from all regions of Vietnam, and EWS Club 88 members participated in the event. HMTD showcased its high-tech facilities such as conditioned (temperature and humidity) seed racking system storage, seed dryer, coating machine, auto packing machine, and QA germination testing. In the mean time, Sales & Marketing has initiatively launched Valued Pack Project to customers. Consul General van der Burg, EWS President Joost Pekelharing, Vice President for R&D Simon Jan De Hoop, Duty Director Crop Production Mr. Hoa, and HMTD General Director Wiwat Phupaibul planted palm trees for good luck and success.

PHOTO FEATURE Our ever-growing world of vegetables. EWIT organized a well-attended International Field Day in Chiang Mai last February 4, attended by over 80 dealers and farmers from 25 countries in Africa, Middle East, Latin America, South Asia and Southeast Asia. On display were over 200 improved varieties and seed technology including priming and pelleting, coated seeds and production technology such as grafting.

East-West Seed successfully organized the 44th Tomato Breeders' Round Table Meeting on 6-8 February 2013 in Chiang Mai, attended by 90 world-recognized tomato breeders and plant scientists from Europe, America and Asia. This was the first time the forum was held in Asia. The meeting was formally opened by Thailand's Minister of Science and Technology, Mr. Woravat Auapinyakul. The organizing committee was led by EWS Group Biotechnology Manager, Dr. Darush Struss.


EWPH Sales & Marketing Team Kicks Off 2013

by Leslie L. De Leon & Jayson Villegas

WPH Sales & Marketing group (S&M) held its Kick Off Conference


Crop Buster Awards for each Crop were given to Richard Bieles

in Baguio City on February 26 to March 1, 2013 with this year's

for Tomato, Gerry Vinculado for Sweet Pepper, Jayson Villegas for

battle cry - "FULL SPEED in 2013". This conference is a yearly event

Eggplant & Bitter gourd, and Diony Urriza for Yard Long Bean. Days

where the S&M team and managers from other departments discuss

Sales Outstanding (DSO) Buster was awarded to Diony Urriza for

the previous year's sales activities & performance, general strategies,

having on time collections. OP Buster Award was given to Johnson

and directions of the company for the year. This conference is also a

Miguel. Hybrid Buster Award was given to Gerry Vinculado and the

way to acknowledge the good performance of the S&M team, which

most prestigious of them all, the Marketing Supervisor of the Year

hit a bullish 115% of its sales target in 2012.

award was won by Johnson Miguel of Baguio / Ilocos Territory.

The conference began with an inspirational message from EWPH General Manager, Mary Ann P. Sayoc and Sales & Marketing Manager, Gerry P. Domingo. He said, "We were able to hit our target successfully not solely due to the excellent performance our S&M people have shown but also from the different departments which supported us tremendously from start to finish, and we thank them." The annual Awards Night or "Gabi ng Parangal" was held right after the conference. The best of the best performers were recognized and given plaques. The S&M 2012 awardees are Ferdinand Sanidad for Best Field Marketing Representative (FMR) of the year for Luzon, Nerias Acodili for Visayas, Ronald Adorable for Mindanao, Ervin Cabalbag for Farm Ready, and Alexander Benavidez for Allium.

Pinakbet: the ultimate Filipino vegetable dish

fermented shrimp paste. These ingredients are easy to find and

by Francine Sayoc with Mike de la Paz and Cris Pile

cup of rice.


vegetables are sauteed with onions, garlic, ginger and bagoong, or make a nutritious and tasty dish that goes perfectly with a steamy

f there was a dish that can be called the national vegetable dish

This year, as part of its campaign to promote higher vegetable

of the Philippines, pinakbet would be it. Almost every part of the

consumption among Filipinos, EWPH has initiated a program

archipelago has a twist to the traditionally Ilocano recipe. The basic

called "Pinakbet Festival" which centers on this well-loved dish.

ingredients are: ampalaya (bitter gourd), talong (eggplant), okra, kamatis (tomato), sitaw (string beans) and proteins like pork or

The main element of the campaign is the search for the best

shrimps. The Tagalog version includes kalabasa (pumpkin). These

pinakbet recipe in the Philippines by holding festivals and cooking contests in the provincial level, then narrowed down to the regional level and, finally, the national level - until one recipe is chosen as the quintessential pinakbet recipe. The recipes will be judged based on their taste, originality, and presentation. Judges include representatives of the food industry, the local government/community, a local celebrity or media personality, and members of the EWPH management team. Attractive cash prizes await winners in all contest levels. The "Pinakbet Festival" is only one step to elevating this nutritious and wholesome dish as a true Filipino treasure.


EWINDO Holds Tuk Tuk Planting Competition

SOM Meeting 2013 held in Indonesia

by Retha Amanda D


WINDO, in collaboration with Indonesia Berkebun community, held a "Tuk Tuk Planting Competition"

last 24 March.

Tuk Tuk is EWINDO's high-yielding

shallot variety. Indonesia Berkebun is a Twitter-based social media community whose aim is to build awareness on urban farming. They gather people to grow vegetables in unutilized land in the cities, turning them into productive space for urban dwellers. The contest's goal is to promote urban farming as well as food self-sufficiency at home. More than 2,000 Indonesia Berkebun followers in 24 cities in the country joined the competition. EWINDO's marketing team in


he Seed Operations Management team held its 2013 SOM Conference in Yogyakarta, Indonesia last 18-22 February. There were more than 40

24 cities were involved to train the participants on how

participants coming from EWTH, EWIT, EWIN, EWINDO, EWPH, EWHMTD,

to plant Tuk Tuk. The launch was covered by leading

as well as group functional managers.

national televisions, and both local and national media. The main objective of this yearly conference is to bring together the people in seed operations from the different companies of the group, to create bonds, friendship and to make sure that no matter how far from each other the teams can work together seamlessly and efficiently. "People who know each other well work together well," according to the team. The second objective of this conference is to bring challenges to the fore -- whether technical, business and financial - that affect their work and therefore need to be addressed. The conference provided a forum to update each country's activities and projects during the past year, as well as future plans. The meetings were followed by a teambuilding activity organized by EWINDO HR Manager Fransiska F.A. Sinaga, followed by a tour to Borobudur temple in Magelang, Central Java. The last day of the trip was spent visiting the tomato indoor production in Lembang and Purwakarta in West Java. With info and photo from Ubonwan Tanyalux

PHOTO FEATURE Dutch diplomats visit EWINDO. On 28 March 2013 EWINDO had the honor to receive the Dutch Ambassador to Indonesia, HE Tjeerd de Zwaan and the Director General for International Cooperation, The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, HE Rob Swartbol. The guests were warmly welcomed by EWINDO's Managing Director, Glenn Pardede and team. The guests were impressed by the huge impact of the company in improving farmers' lives in Indonesia.


Taking root in Myanmar

by Stuart Morris


yanmar is one of the largest and one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia. Of its estimated 60 million population, 70% rely on agriculture for their livelihood. Myanmar remains largely an agrarian country. With recent political and economic reforms signaling positive changes to the business environment, Myanmar is being seen as a major new area of growth for East-West Seed. Vegetables are widely produced throughout the year in both lowland and mountainous areas. Over the last 10 years there has been a significant increase in the cultivated area, which is currently estimated at 400,000 hectares. However, with the greater part of production under traditional practices and the widespread use of farmer saved seed, vegetable quality in the market remains poor. Nevertheless, with the importance of vegetables in Myanmar's diet as well as a rapidly developing economy, a significant shift towards higher quality vegetables is expected to take place. There are excellent opportunities to introduce improved varieties, which stand to equally benefit farmers and consumers as well as the business expansion of EWS in Myanmar. It has long been proven that increased sales are directly affected by the capacity of the farming communities and the efficiency of the value chain in which they operate. In Myanmar, high rate of rural poverty, a lack of knowledge on the benefits of using improved varieties, poor cultivation techniques and weak functioning of the value chain remain major barriers to the adoption of high quality seed. In this challenging environment, where the majority of potential clients have little or no access to production or marketing information, agricultural extension is a precondition for opening new markets. Accordingly, EWS has incorporated extension activities as an integral part of its long-term business strategy in Myanmar. Through upgrading on-farm practices, farmers will be able get the full benefits of using EWS varieties. In the long -term it is expected that extension will lay down the foundation needed for innovative marketing strategies to become more effective. The target group of extension is primarily poor small-scale farmers, who are the main suppliers of vegetables to markets in Myanmar. In addition to small-scale commercial farmers, most other farming households also produce vegetables for home consumption and sell small quantities to supplement their income. With over 6 million farming households in Myanmar, "backyard" farmers are also being considered as a potential secondary target group. On the basis that trusting relationships enable farmers to absorb increased levels of knowledge, EWS in Myanmar promotes a peer learning approach. Key farmers are being supported to showcase profitable and sustainable cultivation techniques to neighboring farmers through demonstration farms. Technologies promoted on demonstrations are simple and accessible in order to enable easy replication. Extension staff advise farmers on all aspects of crop production from land preparation to harvest. Field days will be organized to disseminate technical, financial and marketing information, as well as promote market linkages between value chain actors. Once techniques are recognized as more profitable, key farmers are expected to become valuable sources of advice and inspiration to

neighboring farmers. This will have a significant influence on variety selection process of their peers in the future. D e v e l o p m e n t projects with similar objectives to improve the profitability of vegetable production through a value chain approach are key partners in extension. Identifying NGO partners promoting rural development through market mechanisms, rather than those who foster approaches based on subsidies and "goodwill" is essential to assure a successful outcome. For Myanmar, EWS is expected to start its first public-private partnership with Swisscontact (The Swiss Foundation for Technical Cooperation) in Southern Shan and the Nay Pyi Taw area. Government departments also offer good potential for cooperation. Public extension services have been criticized worldwide for their ineffective supply-driven approach and lack of financial sustainability. Their effectiveness can be improved through supporting marketbased services such as those offered by EWS. In order to tap into their local knowledge, EWS will cooperate with the Department of Agriculture in Myanmar. Extension services are often assumed to be the responsibility of NGOs and the public sector, and they are rarely viewed as business opportunities. However, the income of both farmers and company are fundamentally linked and can only be effectively developed hand-inhand. With extension only just beginning to take root in Myanmar, it may be a while before the true benefits of such long-term approach to marketing is realized. However, taking action now creates the firm foundation needed for EWS business expansion in Myanmar.


Thailand announces 30th anniversary


his year, East-West Seed is celebrating its 30th anniversary in

The year will be packed with activities, including promotion of the

Thailand on the theme "30 Years of Trust". It announced this

Value Pack among dealers and subdealers. It is also making a

to the media last May 14 during a press briefing held at the Sofitel

donation to the Quality Seed Sharing Foundation of 9 baht for

in Bangkok. It also affirmed its support to the Thai government

every 30 pouches sold. At the farmers' level, it will give away gold

in making Thailand a major seed production hub for the region,

necklaces to lucky winners. Another highlight of the year would be

in light of the integration of Southeast Asian countries into an

paying tribute to farmers through the Sorn Daeng Heroes project,

ASEAN Economic Community. Further, the company renewed

which aims to share the success stories of vegetable farmers

its commitment to providing innovative products and services that

through publicity and media.

help farmers become more productive and promote growth in the vegetable industry.


by Lawrence S. Corpus and Eric Adrian J. Panting


o encourage proactive ideas that support

Prem Mehta, Conrad Balatero, Robert dela

the company's six strategic initiatives and

Pe単a, Prasert Kongkiatngam and Kritsada

renew people's enthusiasm, East-West Seed

Sirivarapat. Entries will be judged according

launched the "Think Big, Act Bold" recognition

to innovativeness, value to the company,

program in the Philippines, Thailand and India

feasibility and elaboration. Selected entries

to encourage employees not just to think out

will be implemented over the next couple of

of the box, but to think on a scale that is big

months. In November, while implementation

enough to make a real difference on the way

is ongoing, a report shall be submitted for

we do things. This activity is spearheaded by

another evaluation to the pre-screening

the Committee on Strategic Initiatives (CSI).

committee together with the CSI Chairmen's Council - to assess if the program has

The program enlisted employees to submit

generated actual verifiable results.

creative and innovative programs that would have a great impact on the company's

The best entries will be presented to the BOM



and the evaluation committee in March 2014.

activities. There is no limit on the scope of



The groups from different EW countries who

ideas, giving participants the freedom to be

would have their programs chosen will attend

as big and bold with their ideas as possible.

the "Think Big, Act Bold" Day in Thailand, where the BOM will award the Grand Prize

The proposals went through a pre-screening

winner with USD5,000. (If you have further

committee whose task is to decide which

clarifications regarding the contest, feel free

entries will push through for implementation.

to reach out to your local CSI team.)

The pre-screening committee is composed of

Sprouts (June 2013)  

The company newsletter of the East-West Seed Group, market leader for tropical vegetable seeds