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Editors’ Picks: Monsanto, Dole team on veg breeding

Broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce and spinach breeding will soon include a new player as U.S. seed and ag chem firm Monsanto hooks up with Dole Fresh Vegetables for a five-year collaboration deal.

Plant breeding will be used to improve the “nutrition, flavour, colour, texture, taste and aroma of these vegetables,” the two companies said in a joint release Tuesday.

The program will focus on those four specific vegetables, the companies said, and “any new products realized from this collaboration could be commercialized by Dole in North America.”

“The consumer wins because Dole’s market knowledge combined with our research and development capabilities will help bring new healthy and flavourful products to consumers,” said David Stark, vice-president of consumer traits at St. Louis-based Monsanto, in the release.

Monsanto said its “agricultural expertise that improves the speed and accuracy of new and beneficial characteristics” will be guided in this arrangement by Dole’s” knowledge of consumer needs and marketing.”

Dole, founded in Hawaii in 1851 and now headquartered near Los Angeles, posted 2008 net revenues of US$7.6 billion and bills itself as the world’s biggest grower and marketer of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Dole’s fresh vegetable production is generally done under “joint growing arrangements” with producers in California, Arizona and northern and central Mexico.

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