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Nยบ 17 May 2018

BACTERIA now have nowhere to hide New Semillas Fitรณ pathology laboratory


Fitó News 17

EDITORIAL According to Wikipedia, metamorphosis is the biological process experienced by the young of certain animals before reaching adulthood. In other words, it’s change in order to grow. Semillas Fitó is growing and needs to adapt to new circumstances. Our customers are no longer just around the corner. Every passing day they are further away physically and culturally. They are also changing and we must follow them wherever they go and regardless of how they get there. Being able to continue providing solutions that will benefit them is our driving force and we cannot lag behind. If they ask for organic products (eco or bio) we should be able to deliver organic seeds. If they want specialties that differentiate them from their competitors, we should be able to offer them unique varieties. If they need the seed in advance and in a particular place, we must find a way to do it.

But growth also affects us who work in this company. Know-how and knowledge cannot be linked only to people. They must be the company’s equity. So all processes—seed supply, administrative, sales and even research—must be translated into protocols. This effort will mark the coming months for Semillas Fitó. Defining protocols should not conflict with our aim of creating a good working environment where freedom and respect remain our strength. From these lines, the company wishes to convey our motivating excitement to face this metamorphosis with the deep conviction that the new company will be even stronger and closer to being—through seed—an engine of change in our industry.

EDUARD FITÓ Corporate Affairs and Business Development Director

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CORPORATE Second edition of “The seed process” In the wake of the success among employees of the October internal “The seed process” tour, a second edition was held. This training tour is organised by and for employees for them to better understand the company and share knowledge between departments. The 24-person group was able to explore on-site the seed creation process in all its stages: research, production and marketing. They visited Fitó centres in Barcelona, Cabrera and Llavaneres, where they were able to further explore activity by the R&D, Quality Control, Production, Processing, Packaging and Logistics departments. Further, our colleagues at the Llavaneres Production Centre prepared a practical activity so participants could experience first-hand how seeds are extracted and cleaned.

The event was completed with a visit to Mercabarna guided by Francesc Llonch from Gavà Group (domestic distributor for our Monterosa tomato) and another visit to Planters Casas, a planter with over 140 years’ experience and a long relationship with our company. The planter tour was led by Felip Casas Jr., who gave an excellent talk about types of seeds, industry competition, and the germination and grafting process. Soon a third edition of this in-house tour will be organised for employees who could not attend previous editions. Be on the lookout!


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We collaborate with SEUR Foundation for Children’s Health Since November, Semillas Fitó collaborates on the project TAPONES PARA UNA NUEVA VIDA launched by the SEUR Foundation. The initiative involves the delivery of plastic caps to a recycling plant to help with serious health conditions. Several containers have already been set up at the Semillas Fitó head office in Barcelona, where workers can deposit their plastic caps. The initiative has been well received, as the containers can already be seen filling up and soon the first bags will be available for collection. Starting in January more containers will be distributed to other Semillas Fitó centres in Spain. Profits from recycling these caps will go to help sick children selected by the SEUR Foundation who need to receive special treatments. Currently, profits from the caps collected in Barcelona will go to help Izan, a little champion who was born with a rare genetic disease (only 35 diagnosed cases worldwide). More than 13 million people who collaborate with SEUR have made it possible for over 130 boys and girls to receive €950,000, thanks to 4,000 tons of plastic caps. They have also prevented the emission of 6,000 tons of CO2—the main gas causing climate change. In total more than a billion caps have been recycled, enough to fill 12 Olympic swimming pools!

Talking about corn seed treatment in Vienna Our colleague at Seed Technology, Virginia Estévez, was selected to deliver a lecture on her doctoral project at the International Congress MICROBE-ASSISTED CROP PRODUCTION-OPPORTUNITIES-CALLENGES AND NEEDS held in Vienna from 4 to 7 December. Our colleague’s lecture, titled “Life and storage of Trichoderma asperelleum applied as a seed treatment in experimental corn seed” was delivered on the last day of the Congress—geared toward the professional sector, especially in terms of seed treatments with microorganisms. The application of beneficial microorganisms to seeds is an efficient method to allow them to colonise roots and protect them from adverse conditions (harmful environmental conditions, pathogens, pests, etc.) once they have germinated. However, before these microorganisms can be used thus, a number of basic points should be addressed. One is to keep the microbe alive and at a good concentration on the seed surface. Moreover, this should be possible without the treatment compromising either germination or the vigour thereof. To this end, Virginia’s doctoral work consisted in designing a seed treatment protocol with natural fungus Trichoderma asperelleum and assess its viability over 12 months since its initial application with different corn experimental varieties and in different storage and dosage conditions. We want to congratulate Virginia for the great work and the opportunity to participate in the congress!

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Revamped website Semillas Fitó has recently launched its new website, www.semillasfitó.com, which features new visual appearance, functionality and content. The page boasts a new, cleaner and more modern image that invites browsing and facilitates the search for content on all devices—computers, tablets and mobile phones. A new internal architecture has been created designed for offering a large reservoir of information to be accessed very intuitively and easily. The website is focused on agriculture professionals who can easily find the type of crop and products that most interest them. All Fitó commercial varieties now have more extensive and updated content, including product sheets, videos and key information on products, retailers and consumers. The website is also a bidirectional tool through which customers and professionals who are interested in doing so may contact the company, ask for information, discuss topics of interest through social media, apply for jobs, etc. In short, the new website,, offers a current, professional and top-quality image of Fitó with which to successfully meet the challenge of the digital age.

Annual Review 2017 One of our goals this year is to strengthen our corporate culture. As our mission accurately reflects, we are committed to our employees and created a climate of freedom, respect and teamwork to promote both professional and personal development. The Annual Review document has been created with this in mind. It details the key actions carried out during 2017, aligning them with our vision, mission and values. The aim of this action was to make our raison d’etre more tangible to all our employees. The document was distributed at all Fitó locations and subsidiaries during the first quarter of 2018. In the context of a working breakfast, the document was explained and handed out to all our employees.


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R&D Convention 2018

In March we held our annual R&D convention. This time we changed location from Barcelona to Lleida. The new location allowed participants the Fitó field crops facility in Les Cases de Barbens, where we explained how the manufacturing and logistics departments worked. The convention was attended by internal and external speakers. We had the pleasure of receiving Pere Arús, a specialist in molecular markers and other genomic and plant breeding tools. He is currently the deputy director of IRTA and promoter of the creation of CRAG (Centre for Research in Agricultural Genomics). Pere told us about the use of genomic tools in breeding. We also enjoyed the participation of Rob Dirks, a prominent scientist and plant breeder with extensive experience in the company Rijk Zwaan. He is currently focused on the industry by offering consulting and education for a new generation of breeders. Rob made us reflect on the concept and practice of innovation and shared with us the new methodology of chromosome-based breeding. The convention also offered case studies on using backcross breeding and the characters influenced by the environment. Our systems partners also posed an interesting debate for launching improvements in the software used by R&D. Finally, there was also time to explain the strategies of divisions and activities in other departments, in order to have a more global vision of the company.

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Introducing our new R&D facilities in Almería The R&D facilities in varietal improvement in El Ejido (Almería) have gone from 3 hectares in 1990 to 12 hectares in 2017. Last year we built our last enlargement, occupying one hectare of land and representing an investment of 1.5 million euros. The 10,000 m2 of new facility is occupied by a cutting-edge greenhouse, completely managed by computer and with the most advanced climate and fertilizer irrigation systems to serve different work areas. On April 5 we presented our new facilities to major media outlets in Almería and Portugal. They have been designed to extend three key points in variety breeding. We have, on the one hand, gained 2,000 m2 in seedbeds to develop the best conditions for plants with interesting features in the breeding process. We have also added another 2,000 m2 to a completely isolated space for studying plant resistance to the major pathologies in the region. Lastly, the 5,000 m2 greenhouse will allow us to continue developing plants that have shown to be resistant to various pathologies and which can contribute special or different characteristics for the new varieties to be released in the future. José Manuel Salguero, Deputy Director of R&D and head of the breeding centre in El Ejido, notes that “these new facilities, which feature cutting-edge technology, will further professionalise the breeding process for new varieties, shortening the time required to obtain new, more resistant commercial varieties with the characteristics required by farmers in terms of taste, colour, size and yield”. With this action we are positioned in the key sector media outlets as a company committed to innovation. We obtained over 15 headlines in major publications in the area of Almería and Portugal.

We are looking for new talent! In April our Human Resources team attended two job fairs held at universities. These events are a good opportunity to come into contact with young talent and advertise the opportunities we offer new graduates. Specifically we were present at the Fòrum de Bioenginy at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (Barcelona) and the Fira del Treball at the University of Lleida (Lleida). We met many Agricultural Engineering and Biological Systems students who were restless to step into the workforce and expressed interest in the Fitó project.


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NEW PATHOLOGY LABORATORY Currently pathogen transmission by seed is one of the most influential mechanisms in the perpetuation of bacteria and disease spreading. In addition, in recent years the volume of seed exchange has increased as a result of globalisation and trade liberalisation globally, as well as the growing population and increasing demand for food production. The global exchange of seeds involves the transfer of pathogens between continents and the introduction of diseases into new areas. It remains a problem with worldwide financial repercussions. Given this context, quarantine and control measures are necessary to prevent the growth of pathogens that affect the use and marketing of seeds.

At Semillas Fitรณ we carry out a very thorough quality control process to ensure the highest quality of our seeds by analysing germination and vigour, disease control and genetic analysis. SBD (Seed Borne Diseases) control involves the detection of transmittable pathogens (viruses, bacteria, etc.) via seeds that affect subsequent plant development. Since 1991, Semillas Fitรณ detects in-house viruses in the seven major species with which we work: Cucurbits (melon, cucumber, squash and watermelon) and solanaceae (pepper, tomato and eggplant) plus lettuce, beans, peas and broad beans. In contrast, bacteria and fungi control is carried out externally.

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The ELISA (immunosorbent trial with conjugated enzymes) is based on direct or indirect detection of an antigen on a solid phase, via proteins known as antibodies, which in the presence of certain substrate can produce a colour reaction which can be measured with a spectrophotometer.

However, on 8 January 2018, the new pathology laboratory was opened, which allows us to analyse the presence of transmissible bacteria in seed also in-house. These bacteria pose a high risk because they devastate crops or very significantly decrease production. The new Fitó laboratory is ready to work with indirect methods, mainly the Elisa test and molecular techniques such as Real Time PCR. These methods are very sensitive and can detect the presence of pathogens in seed even in low concentrations, which is why they are such useful techniques for pre-screening negative batches. These techniques are reliable and fast for detecting bacteria due to their high sensitivity. Yet, a positive result by indirect methods does not translate into a contained risk. It only indicates the possible presence of bacteria in the seed. To determine that the seed is indeed infected, one must prove that the bacteria is not only present but also alive and infectious. Batches which through indirect technique test positive will be handled as suspect batches and must be analysed via a direct technique that will confirm, as already mentioned, that the pathogen is alive and is infectious. These are sent to an third-party world-class laboratory for confirmation, prior to deciding whether the batch is released for sale or not. One of the main advantages is that our commitment to detecting bacteria internally will allow us to save costs and organise ourselves more strategically. The outsourcing process we have followed so far involved very slow and long process time. We spent over a month on average since we sent the sample until we received the results, whereas now we can analyse the sample and get results in just 24 hours.

Currently the laboratory is in the startup process. It has started analysing for Acidovorax, a bacteria affecting melon, watermelon and zucchini. During this initial period the laboratory’s capacity will be measured and it will progressively start analysing new pathogens such as Pseudomonas, Xanthomonas and Didymella.


PCR (polymerase chain reaction) is one of the most common techniques used currently, basing analysis on a DNA sample containing the sequence to be amplified. The amount of DNA required for amplification is very small, hence its main advantage.

However, working with quarantine bacteria is a responsibility and requires very strict control. The new lab is therefore a confined facility that meets specified sealing conditions and implements a protocol that determines the material and personnel that can enter and leave the laboratory. It is important to maintain physical barriers to prevent pathogens from being released to the exterior. For example, all material must be sterilized before throwing it away and technicians must wear a robe and scrubs before entering the lab. The new Fitó laboratory is one of the most rigorous in terms of safety and confinement of plant health in Spain. It has been built with a level 3 security since, otherwise, we could jeopardize our product by having the laboratory and warehouse in the same building.


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VEGETABLES Fruit Attraction Fair

Last October we were present at Fruit Attraction in Madrid, the international fruit and vegetable trade fair organised by IFEMA and FEPEX (Spanish Federation of Producers and Exporters of Fruits, Vegetables, Flowers and Live Plants). This fair is growing more every year, which allows us to reach more and more companies, both nationally and internationally. This year, Semillas Fitรณ opted for a different type of booth. We built a replica of a large fresh produce market, where our Monterosa, Essentia and Waikiki brands were the stars. This new design allowed us to stand out in proximity and originality. The outcome of the fair was very positive due to the large influx of clients and acquaintances who visited our booth and the meetings we were able to carry out, resulting in better sales of our varieties.

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Annual Vegetables convention The Vegetables sales team in the Iberia and Almería regions met for 4 days in late November in Girona to take stock of 2017. The first day of the convention kicked off with the presentation of the annual sales analysis and results by the Head of the division in Europe, Israel Roca, and Area Managers Fco. Javier Rodríguez and Vasco Jorge Vital. Eduard Fitó, director of Semillas Fitó, also stressed the important role of human capital in the company. He allowed the newest team members to introduce themselves and share their expectations. Oriol Francàs launched the second day of the event. Oriol, the external communication consultant, presented the new marketing strategy featuring the new website as central axis. This year the decision was made to promote group coexistence during the convention. Participatory activities were prepared, such as a role play, to highlight the challenges in the sales process. Group presentations were also organised to pool ideas on issues such as future consumer trends and characteristics of a successful farmer and more fun activities such a go-kart race and free-falling in a wind tunnel. A visit to the Mas Bes farm in Vilobí d’Onyar was also organized. Mas Bes is one of our customers, and visitors learned about its growth over the years as explained by its director, Aleix Vinyolas. The farm currently has 500 cows, 180 hectares for forage crops and a renewable energy biogas plant.

Essentia and Waikiki Unveiling The Fruit Attraction fair also served as the setting for the official presentation of Essentia, a heart-shaped and slightly ribbed cherry pear tomato, presented together with Cooperativa La Palma before more than 50 clients and journalists. The second day of the fair, together with the cooperative, we were able to explain the details of the project and how Essentia fits into the new line of concepts created by Semillas Fitó: Foodture. During the fair we were able to present the product with bulk samples packed in the Semillas Fitó and Cooperativa La Palma booths, and we were able to witness people’s great interest in the brand. It is worth noting that the success of this project is based not only on the edge provided by variety (taste and shape), but also in the stylish image created for the brand and its packaging, and the high quality requirements which must be met by each fruit sold as Essentia. This has been possible thanks to the collaboration with our partner Cooperativa Granada - La Palma, with whom we have been working on the project for a whole year. Meanwhile, after having showcased it during the melon days in Murcia (Fitó Melon Week) and in La Mancha, in the framework of the Fruit Attraction fair we also launched the new Waikiki melon, a white, salmon-fleshed and delicious variety. Prior to the fair we had already reached an agreement with a leading Portuguese producer, Hortomelao, for the exclusive marketing of Waikiki in Portugal. Fruit Attraction has allowed us to launch negotiations with another partner in Murcia: Jimbofresh International. After a few months, we have reached an agreement to sell Waikiki in much of Europe during the 12 months of the year.


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SmartQ launched


In December we met more than 250 cucumber technicians and growers in Roquetas de Mar (Almería) to show them SmartQ—a new, improved Dutch cucumber line that delivers fruit quality in a more resistant plant, offering farmers a real edge. Thus, SmartQ Dutch cucumber varieties have a high tolerance to diseases, very good plant health, excellent fruit quality and high yield. Our Senior Cucumber Breeder, Santiago García, explained the complex breeding process involved in obtaining SmartQ varieties, resulting in the traditional quality of Fitó fruit with a healthier and hardier plant. SmartQ varieties have developed a polygenic plant resistance against the Cucurbit Yellow Stunting Disorder Virus, which means that the plant has a higher natural resistance in the field. Thus, SmartQ lines develop plants with short internodes; smaller side shoots and darker, smaller leaves; more horizontal leaf orientation; smaller flowers and more flowers per internode; and shorter fruits. The goal of Dutch cucumber breeding is to cross the new SmartQ lines with traditional lines such as those used in Estrada, which already result in very high fruit quality. We would thus obtain new varieties that maintain this quality but improve plant health, virus resistance and yield.

TEJO AND MITRE, THE FIRST SMARTQ VARIETIES We already have two varieties of Dutch cucumber under the SmartQ brand—Tejo and Mitre. Tejo is aimed at sowings from August until 10 September and for spring crops from 15 January. Mitre is designed for sowings from 15 or 20 February. In the greenhouse, Germán Victoria, our Cucumber Crop Advisor, explained the clear differences between traditional varieties and the new Tejo and Mitre varieties.At first glance, we could clearly see that the SmartQ varieties offer better plant aeration, allowing a clearer interior, more fruit brightness, lower occurrence of diseases and viruses, higher fruit quality, greater treatment effectiveness (better distribution of plant protection products) and a clear increase in production. Finally, Germán Victoria explained the meaning of the “SmartQ” logo, which blends a picture of the cucumber DNA chain—representing Semillas Fitó commitment to research—with the word “Smart” which conveys elegance, strength and greatness, sealed by the “Q” for quality. In short, SmartQ provides quality fruit in a stronger plant.

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New Foodture concept launched at Fruit Logistica

In February we participated in a new edition of Fruit Logistica in Berlin, one of the largest fairs in the international horticultural sector, attracting more than 70,000 attendees. The meeting, focused on presenting the news in the fruit and vegetable sector, was the perfect opportunity to take a step forward and launch Foodture with a futuristic and ground-breaking booth that amazed everyone. Fitรณ Foodture is an innovative concept aimed at meeting new consumer needs, addressing their demands for quality, health, new tastes and formats. In this line we have already developed very innovative proposals such as Monterosa, Essentia and Waikiki.

To continue innovating and creating new concepts, we have put together a cross-cutting team that brings together specialists in different areas of the company to promote the development and launch to market of new vegetable products for future consumers. Our booth surprised many attendees at the show and aroused curiosity among specialists and professionals who came to discover Foodture. These were very dynamic and intense days that allowed us to show the potential of the Fitรณ Vegetable Seeds division and our constant effort to transform the industry and bring fresh and enriching ideas and solutions.


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RIO GRANDE Rio Grande ensures a large and consistent lamuyo.

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FIELD CROPS Field Crops annual convention

On 28 and 29 November the Field Crops convention took place in Barcelona. The aim of this event was to bring together the entire team to analyse the previous year and present the new innovations for next year. The first day was devoted to training for the sales team only. The day began with a talk to learn more about the services offered by the Agroptima application, offered by Carles Clusella (Agroptima Agronomist). Then our colleague Anna Maria Viles (Director of Quality Control) explained about the TVF test and molecular markers. Finally, Juan Jesús Narváez (Seed Technologist) delved into technology treatments applied to the seed and tested the audience with a final quiz.

The following day was also attended by the departments contributing to Field Crops activities, such as Customer Service, Operations, R&D and Marketing. The session began with a department-specific analysis of the review of the year. Then each department presented the key projects for the following year and new corn, sunflower and forage varieties were presented. There was also a chance to celebrate four companions who are retiring after a long and successful career with the company: David Filgueiras, Juan Manuel Huici, Emilio Mora and Flavio Guala. The day ended with a fun group activity and a delicious dinner.


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Agroexpo Fair For yet another year, Semillas Fitó faced farmers to share our news and enjoy time together at the XXX edition of Agroexpo, the international agricultural fair in Badajoz held in FEVAL (Don Benito) from 24 to 27 January 2018. According to the organization’s data, the fair welcomed 70,000 visitors and 300 exhibitors showcasing 600 company brands. On the opening day we welcomed the Minister of Agriculture of the Junta de Extremadura, Begoña García, to our booth. She was pleased to greet us and obtain information about the Semillas Fitó facility in Don Benito. Very close to FEVAL, just a 12-minute drive away, is our R&D facility for the production and research of long-cycle corn varieties and sunflower, as well as the propagation of other products in the Field Crops range (sorghum, cereals, forage, etc.). Overall we had a number of farmers interested in our products throughout the fair. We also received visits from our distributors María Guillén Agro, Toledo Comercial Agraria Calera, Raimundo Cabello and Joaquín Herror, and our promoter for the Aquagri FAS. Semillas Fitó also participated in the VI Agroexpo Business Innovation Contest, where we present the Fitó-Shield range.

New year, new varieties The Field Crops division faces 2018 with several new corn and sunflower varieties. In sunflower, Italica also stands out in this campaign, as in the previous one, as one of the best varieties, as evidenced by official tests in Castilla La Mancha and in high-impact areas of Andalusia such as Jerez. However, the sunflower novelty this year is Numantia, a somewhat shorter-cycle variety than Italica and with even greater production potential and adaptability to growing conditions. For corn, we rely on the productive potential of Portbou and highlight is need for less water (two irrigations less than Carella). Ubeda also has lower irrigation needs, offers great yield and stands out for its tolerance to Cephalosporium and its grain quality. For more traditional corn areas we have launched the Altamira variety, a cycle 700 with high production potential. Finally, Abanto is ideal for late plantings and second harvests. It’s a new yield-champion 500, surpassing even the old Atlas range.

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We attended the 40th edition of FIMA

In late February, 20 to 24, the 40th edition of FIMA (International Fair of Agricultural Machiner) was held in Zaragoza. Semillas Fitó attended as exhibitors, as we have been doing for several years. This time our booth focused on the presentation of the new image of the Field Crops division, based on the Experts in your field concept. We also carried out a contest in our booth that was well received. It involved answering a quiz about Fitó to enter the drawing for various prizes.

From start to finish, our booth attracted a large influx of both regular customers and new farmers interested in our varieties. We also received visits from numerous international distributors interested in working with us. As for new products, the main focus was on the new corn varieties—Portbou, Altamira, Berdun YG, Ubeda and Abanto—and the new sunflower Hispalis boasting high oil content.


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TURF GRASSES Annual convention in Bergamo In December the annual Turf Grasses convention was held in Bergamo, Italy. Both the division’s commercial division and the Customer Service team were present. These days were perfect for taking stock of the excellent results obtained and what was certainly the best year for the division so far.

Annual AEG conference and trade hall As every year, Semillas Fitó attended the annual conference and trade hall of the AEG, the Spanish Association of Greenkeepers, held in Cordoba on November 14, 15 and 16. We took the opportunity to present the 2018 Turf Grasses catalogue. Parallel to the event, Semillas Fitó organized a dinner attended by 50 clients including distributors, greenkeepers and groundsmen.

Strengthening our European presence Semillas Fitó attended the meeting of European Tepe producers in the Netherlands, where we had the opportunity to handle inquiries from 300 European farmers and witness the success of our varieties.

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All-terrain varieties THE ZURICH VARIETY TOUCHES DOWN IN THE FRENCH CAPITAL The Zurich perennial ryegrass variety will be used in the National Golf course in Paris, site of the next Ryder Cup, as the leading variety.

EXCELLENT RIVIERA RESULTS IN GOLF COURSES Semillas Fitó supplied Riviera variety bermuda seed for planting at the 18-hole Doña Lucía Golf (Estepona), Fairplay Gold (Benalup-Casas Viejas, Cadiz) and Quinta da Ombría (Algarviana Loulé, Portugal) golf courses. The latter was designed by renowned Portuguese architect Jorge Santana da Silva.

NEW STOLONIFEROUS AGROSTIS: LUMINARY This spring Semillas Fitó has introduced a new variety of stoloniferous Agrostis with exceptional results in multiple environments and extraordinarily NTEP-classified. Luminary stands out for its minimal needs in fungicides thanks to its high resistance to Dollar spot and Fusarium. It is noted for its fine leaves, medium green colour and optimal density, giving it a resilience and tolerance to trampling—promoting recovery for avoiding divots and the puffy look of other varieties. Quite effective against Poa annua, without winter patching and quick spring growing. Thanks to its characteristics, Luminary is recommended for replanting over other established bentgrass varieties favouring lower maintenance costs.


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HOBBY Iberflora In early October Semillas Fitó participated in the Iberflora fair in Valencia. This is a national fair very focused on Gardening, Landscaping, Nursery Gardening and the Hobby industry. The fair is very popular with both distributors and end customers (gardens, nurseries, etc.). It was the perfect place to introduce our eight new Superbol SKUs and the new FAST lawn mix.

Santa Susana Fair On November 7 also we also participate in the Santa Susanna fair in Barcelona. It is a local fair—probably the largest fair in Barcelona—focused on home gardens and seedbeds. It was a good opportunity to meet with key customers in the area and launch our new products, both in the Professional and Amateur ranges.

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Joaquín Herrero We speak to Joachim and César Herrero, managers of Joaquín Herrero S.L., an agricultural retail company founded over 30 years ago in the region of Cáceres (Spain). The store’s extensive experience in the sector is characterized by selling a wide variety of products: agrochemicals, professional and amateur seeds, agricultural machinery and fertilizers. When did your relationship with Semillas Fitó begin? Thirty years ago, when the Joaquín Herrero, S.L. company began, Semillas Fitó is one of the companies we worked with from day one. Of all companies we started working with, Fitó is the only one that maintains its company name today. Other companies have disappeared, have been absorbed, merged, etc. In your inception, what drove you to trust Fitó and test their products? I knew Fitó product before I started selling them in the area. I’ve always upheld a maxim for my company: to convince a customer to use a product, I must first convince myself. In addition, much of the corn seeds offered by Fitó are bred in Extremadura, specifically in the Don Benito (Badajoz) breeding facility. For this reason, among others, the Semillas Fitó brand inspired me a lot of confidence when I decided to work with them. As a company, the Fitó hallmarks have always been quality, service and support. Do you think these are the most cherished values in the industry today? For a distributor, yes. Support and service are the most important values. In contrast, the most important value for farmers is a commitment to innovation and seed development providing greater yield and greater profitability. Semillas Fitó stands out both in terms of quality, service and customer support and in its commitment to R&D and the continuous pursuit of top profits for farmers and the utmost confidence for distributors. What Fitó varieties to you regard more positively compared to the competition? Bolea, Poboa corn for grain and Oropesa silage corn. We also have high expectations for the Portbou novelty, because it delivers what we believe is important and decisive for the farmer when choosing a seed: fast drying, grain quality and plant health.

Would you like to test new products that appear on the market? Yes. Joaquín Herrero, S.L. has always focused on innovation for two reasons. Innovation means that our customer gains increasingly greater benefits from their farms and also, like any company, implementing new products allows us to differentiate ourselves from the competition. What is the biggest challenge posed by corn planting and how does Fitó help you? The biggest challenge is to continue growing and, of course, Semillas Fitó is a leader in research and the introduction of new varieties into the market. Semillas Fitó helps me by giving me the right products, unbeatable training and superb after-sales service that helps us keep track of all our products in nearby test fields. What is your view of the market and what do you think are the future trends for the industry? New generations are more educated and informed, and they are eager to learn and innovate. Technology is increasingly more present in agriculture. In the future, along with a number one seed, we will also need to provide crop traceability through the deployment of new technologies that facilitate work for the farmer and make it more efficient. Do you think Fitó’s focus on agricultural consulting and its FAS programme is on target? Indeed. Making this tool available to farmers is a very wise decision, as it helps increase profitability by optimizing irrigation and fertilization, coupled with a personalized and supportive advice.


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Development & Sales representative of Field Crops in Navarra, País Vasco, La Rioja and Cantabria

Operations Director

Development & Sales representative of Field Crops in Zaragoza and Teruel

Center: Spain. Hobbies: Sports and hunting.

NOYAN ARA Logistics Technician Center: Antalya, Turkey. Hobbies: learning Spanish, singing in a karaoke, doing analysis of the Premier League and dogs training.

JANA CELA UDANDO Pathologist in Quality Control Department Center: Barcelona, Spain. Hobbies: Spending time with my family, going to antique markets and to the mountain.

JAVIER JOSU Logistics responsible Center: Antalya, Turkey. Hobbies: Muay Thay, cycling and trekking.

MARC UFANO Horticultural crop technician Maresme Center: Premià de Mar, Spain. Hobbies: Reading, outdoor activities, agriculture and spending time with my friends.

MARIUS EFTENE - LAURENTIU Development & Sales representative of Field Crops in Romania Center: Romania. Hobbies: I like mountainside excursion with my family and reading fantasy literature.

Center: India. Hobbies: Reading and playing cricket.

IJLAL BENSLIMANE Research assistant Center: Barbens, Spain. Hobbies: Travelling, the nature, reading and writing.

Center: Spain. Hobbies: Sports, playing the guitar and trekking.

RAQUEL GÓMEZ Development & Sales representative of Vegetables in Murcia Center: Spain. Hobbies: Reading, listening to music, cinema and outdoor sports, trekking, skiing, and everything related to the sea during summer. And, of course, enjoying my family.



Development & Sales representative of Field Crops in Castilla-La Mancha and Madrid

Development & Sales representative of Field Crops in Northern area

Center: Spain. Hobbies: Playing the trumpet, swimming, running and other sports.

MARINA MIR DE QUADRAS Communication technician & Trade Marketing of Vegetables Center: Barcelona, Spain. Hobbies: Travelling, mountain routes, outdoor sports such as kayaking or skiing, and jazz, rock or singer-songwriters live concerts.

ALEJANDRO SÁNCHEZ Development & Sales representative of Vegetables in Almeria Center: Almería, Spain. Hobbies: Outdoor sports (surfing, mountain, kitesurfing), gastronomy, reading and travelling.

THIBAUT MARONIEZ Técnico Comercial de Áreas Verdes en Francia y Maghreb Center: Francia. Hobbies: Tocar la guitarra, jardinería, navegar, jugar al rugby, jugar con mis hijos, viajar….

Center: Spain. Hobbies: Cinema, reading, videogames and adventure sports.

JESÚS ARTURO RAMOS SOTO Development & Sales representative in Bajío – Centro sur area Center: Mexico. Hobbies: Sports (baseball and football), music and hiking.

ALFREDO MESA Development & Sales representative Export Manager Center: Barcelona, Spain. Hobbies: Travelling by motorbike.

MARÍA ELENA GARCÍA LDH’s management Center: Llavaneres, Spain. Hobbies: Reading, scrapping and pilates.

Recipe of the month

Cod with chickpeas INGREDIENTS • 1 kg of desalted cod • 1 Delfos onion • 1 Byelsa tomato • 1 red Lamuyo Alcudia pepper • 1 Italian Almanzor green pepper • 1 can of cooked chickpeas • 1 small glass of white wine • For the topping: 1 slice of dry bread, almonds, hazelnuts, garlic • Oil

Our colleague Francisco Sanlorenzo, head for Sealed Packaging in Barcelona, shares with us this traditional family recipe for cod with chickpeas. Brown 3 or 4 garlic cloves and a slice of dry yesterday’s bread in oil on a clay pot (or other type if not available). Put aside and then flour and fry (not much) the desalted cod in the same oil. Put aside. Remove from the pot almost all the oil used to fry the cod and make a sauce with Delfos onion, Byelsa tomato, red Lamuyo Alcudia pepper and green Italian Almanzor peppers.

Pour half a glass of white wine and, when well poached, add the chickpeas with their broth (if we have little, add some fish broth or even water). Simmer for 15 minutes. Then place the fried cod over the chickpeas and add topping with the slice of fried bread, garlic, parsley, almonds and hazelnuts. Simmer two minutes and serve.

Bon Appetite!




On December 9th the daughter of Ahmed Benchekh, agricultural labourer at the Cabrera facility, was born.


The son of Alicia Pajares, Field Crops Customer Service, was born on December 3rd and weighed 2.86 kg.


Fitó News 17


Mohamed El Bakkali, agricultural labourer at the Cabrera facility, had his second child on November 9th.


Haroon was born on Oct. 10th, third son of Mohsin Kasmi, agricultural labourer at Cabrera.

The daughter of Vicente López was born on September 27th. Vicente, who is works in Shipping at Barbens, already had Marc in 2015.


On December 15th Dinislam was born, second son of Aziz Makhkamov, commercial technician of Vegetables in Central Asia.