KUALA LUMPUR: Genting Plantations Bhd (GENP) has invested in a joint control stake in research & development firm Green World Genetics Sdn Bhd (GWG) that specialises in high quality non-genetically modified organisms tropical hybrid seeds breeding.
The investment underpins a joint collaboration between GENP and GWG to establish Malaysia as an important regional seed hub and beyond that, to address the issue of national food security through the development of new crop varieties.
GENP’s association with life sciences dates back to 2006 when it drove its maiden foray into the fields of biotechnology and genomics to improve the yields and returns from oil palm. GENP was the first in the world to sequence the oil palm, Jatropha and Ganoderma genomes, coupled with the development of high yielding and Ganoderma resistant palms.
Over the years, the initiative has expanded into other food as well as non-food crops and evolved to take advantage of new technologies such as big data, Internet of Things and artificial intelligence. This integrated agriculture technology approach has holistically enhanced its agricultural research and development to a new level.
Meanwhile, GWG engages in multi-disciplinary crop research programmes. Since its incorporation in 2007, GWG has expanded its diversified operations across the Asia Pacific region and engages with breeders from the US, China, Thailand and Mexico in seed research and development. The company currently operates a total of 14 research centres and stations engaging in activities such as breeding, hybrid production, evaluation and stock seed multiplication for a wide range of commercial crops.
“Our investment in GWG brings together GENP’s deep genomic knowledge and GWG’s extensive germplasm collection for the development and commercialisation of optimised food crop varieties that are suitable for cultivation in tropical regions. The initiative is expected to accelerate both companies’ efforts in multi-disciplinary crop improvement research programmes using biotechnological tools such as molecular marker-assisted selection,” said GENP chief executive Tan Kong Han in a statement today.
GWG CEO Dr Chua Kim Aik said its business focus is to develop high quality hybrid seeds though innovative technologies to enhance the genetic profile of crops to reduce biotic constraints such as diseases and pests, increase yield, and improve crop nutritional value and eating quality.
“GWG is embarking on our next phase of growth by leveraging on GENP’s genomics expertise to fast track our efforts on crop improvement and seed development.”