NDUSTRY NEWS ASIAN SEED − 7 New Khon Kaen R&D Station a Boon HM.CLAUSE – A LIMAGROUP Company – recently inaugurated its new tropical vegetable seed Research & Development Station at Nong Rua district, in the northeast- ern Thai province of Khon Kaen. The inaugural ceremony, which took place on 9 January, 2018, was attended by some 100 guests – including representatives from the local community and schools; members of the press; local and provincial government officials; local and international employees of HM.Clause, as well as execu- tives from several other leading seed companies. The event was presided over by Khon Kaen Governor, Dr. Somsak Jungtrakul, who joined several members of the French-American seed firm's executive board to give remarks and conduct the rib- bon-cutting ceremony. In his congratulatory remarks, Dr. Somsak said that the new R&D facility strengthens Khon Kaen’s prospects as a strategic regional hub, not only for development and production of key agricultural com- modities, but for complementary and dependent logistical services. “We are honored to have a global leading firm like HM.Clause invest in Khon Kaen, which the Thai govern- ment is positioning as an agricul- ture and transport logistics hub of ASEAN, which will complement economic growth fueled by [Chi- na’s] One Belt, One Road Initiative,” Dr. Somsak said. Keynote speeches were also given by Mr. Berger, Mr. Bastien, Dr. Gay, and Mr. Gleeson, who underlined their firm's background, strengths and strategies. In his speech, HM.Clause VP Asia, Daniel Gleeson, also echoed the regional hub theme: “Just as key investments enabled the Silicon Valley in California, US to become a hub for IT and innova- tion, we too envision Khon Kaen with the same potential to be- come a hub in vegetable breeding innovation,” he said. The morning concluded with a rib- bon cutting rite, followed by a field tour for media and seed executives. Located about 50km to the west of Khon Kaen city center, the new R&D Station spans 15 hectares of sandy, slightly-acidic soil. Of this area, nine ha are designated as open fields for breeding lines and adaptation trials, while five hect- ares will be utilized for breeding and cross pollination activities. Moreover, the station has three hectares designated for isolated (netted) plots that will be used primarily for disease screening, while naturally ventilated poly houses covering 2,000m2 will be utilized as nurseries. The site, which will employ about 65 local employees initially, has irrigation and wastewater ponds, patholo- gy, seed processing and storage units and an office. The station will be used mainly to support CUTTING EDGE: The opening rites for the new station. From Left: Mr. Andre Cariou (Deputy CEO, HM.Clause); Mr. Rémi Bastien (CEO, HM.Clause); Dr. Somsak Jungtrakul (Khon Kaen Governor); Mr. Franck Berger (CEO Limagrain Vegetable Seeds); and Gilles Gay (VP Global Research and Development HM.Clause). East-West Seed has appointed Mr Ard Groot as its new Chairman of the Supervisory Board (SB), effec- tive since 1 January 2018. Ard succeeds his father and company founder, Mr Simon Groot, who will continue to serve the Board as Honorary Chairman and Founder. Prior to this, Ard served the leading vegetable seed company as Vice Chairman of the Board since 2012. Filling in this role now is long-time seed industry professional Douwe Zijp. In his role Ard will continue to closely collaborate with the Board of Management, consisting of CEO Bert van der Feltz, Vice President Simon Jan de Hoop, and Vice Pres- ident Michel Devarrewaere, who are charged with executive management of the company. East-West Seed Appoints New Chairman Ard succeeds his father, Simon. breeding for hot and humid crop markets across the world – especially in South and South- east Asia. Strategic crops to be focused on include tomato, hot pepper, cucumber, watermelon, melon and tropical sweet corn. The development is one of a num- ber of noteworthy ventures seen as a boon for the local economy. One of Thailand’s most devel- oped and populous northeastern provinces, Khon Kaen is being po- sitioned by the Thai government as a strategic center in the ASEAN region for MICE, agriculture, logis- tics and transport. The city of Khon Kaen is about an-hour-long flight away from Bangkok; by train, it takes six hours to reach from the Thai capital and one hour from the Lao capital, Vientiane. Upon completion by 2020-2022 of a China-backed high-speed rail project, the rail commute from Bangkok is expected to be re- duced to half the time.