Incotec Plans to Expand Seed-Coating Business in Africa

Incotec Group BV, a Dutch seed-technology company, will use a facility it opened in South Africa last month as a base from which to expand its business on the continent, Sales Director Derek Jones said.

“We are signing agreements with Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi, Kenya and Tanzania for seed-coating services,” he said by phone yesterday. The 13 million-rand ($1 million) plant is in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal.

Coating seeds with insecticides and fungicides is a way of protecting seeds to improve crop yields. Kenya is the world’s largest exporter of black tea and supplies a third of the cut flowers sold in Europe. South Africa is the continent’s biggest grower of corn. Nations from Nigeria to Ethiopia are investing to expand sugar output, while Malawi and Zambia are increasing corn production.

Incotec is also starting analytical services for growers across Africa, Asia and the U.S., said Tertia Erasmus, the general manager of the company’s African unit.

“There are only three sites in the world that are able to offer DNA testing services,” she said in a telephone interview yesterday. “Our African facility will offer genetic testing for breeding, genetic markers, and genetically modified organization’s certification for ornamental, vegetable and crop seeds.”