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Syngenta’s tropical sugar beet receives World Business and Development Award


Basel, Switzerland, Syngenta announced that yesterday it received the 2008 World Business and Development Award (WBDA) for the development and successful introduction of a new sugar beet that can be grown under tropical climate conditions and brings significant advantages to farmers, the environment, the sugar and ethanol industries and the economy.

The WBDA, presented by the United Nations Development Program, the International Chamber of Commerce and the International Business Leaders Forum, acknowledge the contribution of the private sector to help achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals. The award recognized Syngenta’s tropical sugar beet as “an example of technological innovation that helps increase sustainable agricultural productivity to meet the world’s growing demand for food, feed and fuel”.

“We are very proud of this achievement. It is a reminder of the importance of the work we do in addressing the challenges of feeding a growing population and finding alternative energy sources,” said Martin Taylor, Chairman of Syngenta. “Tropical sugar beet is also a good example of sustainable agriculture, since it improves land use and helps water management. It also illustrates how Syngenta works in partnership with agriculture in developing countries around the world.”

About tropical sugar beet

Tropical sugar beet can be grown in relatively dry areas as it requires substantially less water than sugar cane. The beets are also faster growing, allowing farmers to grow a second crop on their land in the same period as sugarcane crops take to mature. This increases farmers’ productivity and income, bringing significant benefits also to the agricultural sector of developing markets. Tropical sugar beet delivers similar output yields to sugar cane and can be used both for processing sugar for food and conversion to bio-ethanol. An alternative to cane, it supports biodiversity when used in areas with extensive sugar cane monocultures.

It took Syngenta 11 years to develop tropicalized sugar beet. In 2007, the beet was successfully introduced in India. In the State of Maharashtra, for example, Syngenta helped a cooperation of more than 12,000 smallhold farmers to build and operate a bio-ethanol production plant that runs on Syngenta tropical beet. In Colombia, the building has started of two beet-to-ethanol plants, which are expected to start processing tropical sugar beet in 2009.

Syngenta is currently conducting adaptation trials in many other tropical countries such as China, Australia, Thailand, Vietnam, Kenya, South Africa, Ethiopia, Brazil, Peru, Mexico and in the USA.

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About Syngenta

Syngenta is a world-leading agribusiness committed to sustainable agriculture through innovative research and technology. The company is a leader in crop protection, and ranks third in the high-value commercial seeds market. Sales in 2007 were approximately $9.2 billion. Syngenta employs over 21,000 people in more than 90 countries. Syngenta is listed on the Swiss stock exchange (SYNN) and in New York (SYT). Further information is available at

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