Raising the Bar on Seed Treatment Quality in Brazil

- Jose Veiga

At Syngenta, we’ve been participating in the industrial seed treatment market in Brazil for about 10 years. We see a need for the technology, and there’s a great deal of opportunity to make a difference for farmers. However, in our conversations with growers, we were hearing concern about not only seed quality but also the quality of seed treatment application. These farmers weren’t sure if they were getting the best quality product and if their dollars were being used in the best way possible.

We identified this need as a blockage and decided to attack it. Brazil’s farmers and plantation owners deserve access to the best products the market can supply. So we began to ask the questions: How do we increase the quality standards among seed companies selling our products? How do we help make sure farmers have access to the best quality products?

As a result, about three years ago, we initiated a seed treatment certificate program. It’s a voluntary program for companies that sell Syngenta products. Certificates are awarded annually to companies who meet standards in the areas of seed quality, seed treatment quality, worker safety and environmental/legal operation. No other company is doing anything like this in Brazil.

We run a seed loading test based on samples submitted by the company and provide a report showing the seed treatment rates on the seed. Additionally, all seed must meet the minimum germination rate and vigor standards set out by Brazil’s law. Certified companies must have the proper worker safety and environmental permits and follow Syngenta’s guidelines.

As soybean is the biggest crop in Brazil, that’s the area of focus for the certificate program. We’ve got about 70 companies selling our product, and we hope the certification will reach about 30 percent of the market in the coming years.

While it’s still a young program, I believe there are a number of opportunities emerging from the program. We are helping ensure that farmers have access to high quality seed and seed with a quality seed treatment application. Plus, participating companies are witnessing increased sales of treated seed, even in a challenging market. The seed treatment certificate program benefits all parties involved.