Stevia First Corp., an early-stage agribusiness based in California's Central Valley growing region and focused on the industrial scale production of stevia, the all-natural zero-calorie sweetener that is rapidly transforming the food and beverage industry, wishes to advise of positive results obtained from its direct seeding collaboration with Seed Dynamics Inc., an innovative California-based seed preparation company.
Stevia First Corp. and Seed Dynamics, a leader in California agriculture, has pelletized stevia seeds enabling the seeds to be directly planted in order to establish large and uniform stevia fields. Stevia seeds, compared to most crop seeds, are small and lightweight, effectively eliminating direct seeding for most growers. The large majority of stevia plants are therefore grown in greenhouses then transplanted into the field. This process is costly and inhibits many farmers from adopting stevia cultivation. The successful relationship between Stevia First Corp. and Seed Dynamics demonstrates that direct seeding is feasible and may prove economically viable for California growers. Further validation of this work and field-scale implementation will be performed by Stevia First in direct collaboration with local conventional and organic growers.
Stevia First Corp. is currently using California grown stevia leaf for several R&D projects. The leaf is being used as feedstock for novel fermentation processes, in order to validate modern stevia extraction and purification methods, and to obtain new plant genomic information. Fermentation-based stevia production methods may bypass or greatly diminish the need for stevia leaf production, which by some estimates accounts for 70 percent or more of the total costs of traditional stevia extract production. Through deployment of the Company's fermentation and agricultural technologies, Stevia First Corp. aims to create a sustainable domestic supply of great-tasting stevia products that is not dependent on overseas stevia plantations.
"We're pleased to be working with Stevia First to help expand the stevia industry in California," said Curtis Vaughan, general manager of Seed Dynamics.
"This is exciting news for every grower in California who wants to be a part of the burgeoning stevia industry," said Robert Brooke, CEO of Stevia First. "Small groups of sophisticated growers, agronomists, and technologists are proving that they can rapidly adopt a new crop and optimize its economic potential for our region."