Times are changing, and people have become more health-conscious post the Covid pandemic thump. They are becoming serious about adding good quality vegetables to their cart. Today, every business supporting the farmers; be it seed providers, agrochemical suppliers, etc. they need to rethink their processes and techniques to meet the demands of healthy, sustainable, and quality food. Bejo is one such company that is committed to this goal. Ramanath Mangapuram, Managing Director Bejo Seeds India highlights, “India is undergoing a rapid agricultural transition initiated by the national government with the primary goal of upgrading the quantity and quality of production. Along with training farmers in new growing techniques and investing in new technology, the introduction of improved genetics is a vital element in the chain.”
With 31 subsidiaries, nine breeding stations, seed-production locations in 19 countries, and 2,200 employees worldwide, Bejo is a global leader in the breeding, production, and sales of open field vegetable seeds like carrots, onions, cabbages, and beet root. Having more than 100 years of experience in breeding and seed-production, the company has evolved into a leading provider of high-quality vegetable seeds. Over the past years, Bejo has experienced rapid growth, with sales increasing by over 21 per cent per year.
With the headquarters in the Netherlands, Bejo was founded in 1978 through a merger between two family seed companies, Beemsterboer and Jong, which themselves both founded around the beginning of 20th century. Motivated by a drive to innovate and the firm belief that we’re stronger together, Bejo has flourished ever since.
The Initial Footsteps
In November 2018, Bejo officially opened the 100% owned subsidiary company Bejo Seeds India Pvt in Bangalore, India. Now, the Bejo brand has been a byword in India for high-quality vegetable seeds for professional farmers. Bejo’s Indian operation alone spans South, Central, North, West, and East regions of India.
Bejo is looking for new ways to improve its products for the Indian market, and it has recently established a research and development department in Pune and Bangalore to carry out this mission. The company’s efforts have resulted already in the development of new hybrid seeds, including cauliflowers for the rainy and summer months, cabbages for home consumption, and hybrid red onions for the rainy season. “Our assortment in India will focus on various carrot types like Kuroda and Nantes but also Red desi types, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, hybrid onion, beetroot, gherkins, coloured capsicum, polyhouse cucumber and a wide range of exotic British vegetables,” Ramanath remarks.
The Silver Lining
Bejo is always exploring new, more efficient ways in breeding high quality vegetable varieties and while they do this, protecting the environment and preserving natural resources is going hand in hand. They believe that their efforts today will lead to a bountiful harvest not just now but in the next 50 years.
The company’s focus is on building long-term relationships with customers like growers, seed dealers and other chain partners. Quality is at the heart of everything Bejo does. They take pride in producing the best seeds and creating the best varieties of healthy, tasty and sustainably produced vegetables. One of Bejo key areas of expertise is in the development of hybrid varieties for the Indian market. Making varieties with more benefits for farmers and consumers like higher yields, more uniformity, higher resilience to harmful pest and diseases etc. Bejo was one of the first to introduce hybrid onions in India, which has helped to overcome the issue of low-quality onions and price variations in the non-hybrid market. The company has also been successful in expanding its market share in the orange carrot market, with over 40% market share in the Ooty carrot market in just four years.
“Our local Indian R&D department was established in 2022, and we are constantly researching new ways to improve our offerings. In India, cauliflowers are consumed year-round, but can only be grown in colder months. Our breeders aim to develop varieties for rainy and summer months, and we plan to introduce this new product in the Indian market soon. For cabbages, we are focusing on developing a 1 kg size for home consumption and have introduced the first experimental hybrids in 2022. We also have a high demand for our red cabbages in many parts of India. Our broccoli variety, named "Lucky," is highly popular, as it can be grown in mild and more severe weather conditions all year round, making it a healthy and sought-after vegetable. In onions, as mentioned before, we are leading the charge in introducing hybrid varieties in India, which will provide farmers with high-quality onions with a great shelf life and storability. Our orange carrots have seen multi-fold growth in recent years, and we are now starting up a popular red carrot hybrid breeding program which will further benefit farmers and consumers. We are also dominating the hybrid beet root market in India, with our new product, ‘BOHAN’, which has strong foliage and is perfect for summer months and low water consumption,” shares Ramanath.
Bejo is focused on ensuring that its seeds produce high-quality vegetables with the right shape, colour, natural storability, cold storage capacity, and long transportability. To achieve this, the company conducts breeding methods that explore nature without altering the ecology and environment. In addition to its core vegetable seed products, Bejo also offers a range of exotic vegetable seeds, including purple- and yellow carrots, lettuce, leek, green and purple broccoli, star cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, and more. The company is also a leader in the gherkin hybrid seeds market, providing pickling-quality seeds for the export market.
"Bejo is committed to being a quality-conscious company and continues to focus on providing its customers with the best possible products and services.