Source: Illinois Crop Improvement Association press release

Two independent seed service providers have signed an agreement to create a new strategic alliance that will provide global business services to seed firms. This alliance will establish a unique shared services approach that will lead to improved efficiency in seed services.

Illinois Crop Improvement Association (ICIA) and ZEA Global Seeds signed an agreement on Oct. 10, 2007, establishing an alliance called "Global Seed Solutions" (GSS), operated by staff from both companies. This venture will offer seed companies the possibility to experience exponential flexibility using multiple locations in South and North America's temperate, tropical and subtropical winter locations, aimed to speed up time to market for corn, sorghum, soybean and sunflower seed.

ICIA owns facilities in Illinois and since 1986 has operated a winter farm in Puerto Rico. ZEA Global operates winter farms in Buenos Aires and Salta (Argentina). This presents a unique opportunity, which aims to give rapid and reliable seed technology services to provide northern and southern hemisphere solutions for developers/producers of corn, sorghum, soybeans and sunflower seed.

Marcelo Queijo, ZEA Global President and founder, said: "Teaming with ICIA in this venture, will enable us to deliver significantly improved services to both hemispheres over the next 10 years. GSS will combine the know-how of ZEA Global world-class seed transformation and managed service capabilities in the Southern Hemisphere with the depth of ICIA experience, reputation and staff skills in seed certification and development for the Northern Hemisphere. This in turn will enable the new team to create innovative service models which transforms the way seed development services are delivered to seed companies, as well as address some of the challenges associated with the new industry requirements."

The launch of GSS is also being heralded by both companies as a potential solution to the increasing pressures on seed companies to speed up the seed development process due to new traits launched every year to the market and the reduced seed product life-cycle.

"This timely alliance is absolutely essential to both organizations in our attempts to provide rapid and reliable seed technology solutions for continuous programs as well as short-term projects for developers and producers of corn, sorghum, soybean and sunflower seed," said Dennis Thompson, ICIA CEO. "Both organizations are in absolute agreement that the alliance represents excellent value for both companies, an increase in our pool of services, and most importantly will result in better outcomes for all the companies in the seed industry."

Pablo Heide, ZEA Global CEO said, "ZEA is delighted to be part of this undertaking. We are confident that GSS will enable us to not only deliver excellent value for seed companies in both hemispheres but will also support our broader ambitions that is to decrease the risks involved in the seed development process. We are constantly seeking to improve services and reduce costs to our clients, and we are confident that GSS will enable us to achieve this goal."

Both companies are confident that their strategic alliance will be welcomed by the industry and will help to boost business opportunities in an area where companies are increasingly outsourcing services. Both companies explained that they will officially launch GSS at the next ASTA meeting to be celebrated in Chicago on Dec. 5-7, 2007.