At Seed Co, we are devoted to innovating and developing seeds that are healthy, of a premium quality and are high-yielding varieties for agricultural cultivation. It is our firm belief that Research and Development is the innovation engine of our organisation and a crucial driver of growth, not only for our business but also for our farmers. To this end we have continuously increased our investment in R&D year on year, with a 13% ($7.6m) budget increase in 2016 alone. Combining our R&D capabilities together with decades of experience and partnerships with the best growers in the industry, we offer products that are consistently superior to the competition.
In our early days we were dependent on government research for our new material, then in 1973, we acquired the Rattray Arnold Research Station, Zimbabwe, the first flagship of our 11 research stations that form the core of our intellectual property. Each of our research stations are located in ecological zones across the continent and boast world-class labs. In 2016, we took delivery of brand new equipment for the Rattray Arnold Research Station and we can proudly say that we have the only lab on the continent housing the latest technology at the moment.
As an organization, we constantly look to the future and are well placed to react quickly to current changes in the profile requirements for our seed. Our 11 research stations mean that we can consider regional characteristics such as climate or disease process and develop varieties that are ideally adapted to their respective growing regions.
We are very proud that qualified, experienced and well-trained scientists and managers of national and international repute, who are supported by several extremely capable trained technicians, man our Research & Development division. Our research team has one of the highest number of PHD's per capita than any other organization in this market. We count this team as one of our greatest assets and we are proud of their devotion to innovating and developing the most technologically advanced seeds to feed tomorrows agricultural needs.
Complementing our internal resources through partnerships is a key element in our R&D strategy. We strategically collaborate with individual growers, universities, institutes and companies at the forefront of technology development to solve agricultural challenges.
We also have a diverse and balanced portfolio of chemical, genetic and integrated solutions, which are constantly refreshed by innovation. Our goal is to always solve new problems and address old problems with new solutions that are more effective, safer or add more value. For every product that reaches the farmer’s field, thousands are tested and discarded because they don’t meet our efficacy or safety standards.