According to Henry Smienk, marketing director of Ramiro Arnedo, two types of firms can be found in the seeds sector: on the one hand, firms that only buy and sell seeds, and on the other, those developing and selling their own seeds, which devote 25% of their annual budget to research and development.
Ramiro Arnedo S.A. was founded over 50 years ago by the current president of the company, Ramiro Arnedo Eguizábal, with the goal of providing growers from the Ebro valley with quality seeds. "It is one of the few family businesses left, as the great majority now are multinationals," says Henry. "We hope to continue maintaining these values."
According to Henry, this is one of the sectors where stronger investments are made in research and development. "Nobody can imagine the amount of money seed firms invest. Large computer corporations invest less than 10% of their budget in research and development, just like the automotive sector. Therefore, when talking about research and development, one should instantly mention seed firms."
"Nowadays there is a higher rate of innovation, and you are forced to keep up with it," says Henry.
On 12 and 13 December, the firm will organise open days for its facilities in Almeria to share and display its activities and its new pepper and aubergine varieties.
Among its new products we find peppers of the Red California type, such as the Mencia variety. "It grows on a vigorous plant producing fruits of a large size, 9-10 cm long and 8-9 cm wide, with 3-4 segments, of an intense red colour, reaching 250 to 330 grams with thick and firm walls. It is consistent in the maturing process and ideal for both the fresh and the industrial market," explains Henry. "Our hopes are truly set on this variety."
"We have also developed a yellow California pepper which will be introduced next year, although for now we continue with the Airen F1."
Important and innovative is the new Italian pepper variety for frying, Brindisi F1 and Vinci F1; a sweet variety with thin and slightly rough walls, with an average green colour. "Italian peppers are our specialty; we have invested a lot in them."
"We have great quality peppers enabling us to meet demand in all seasons, from the Vegas variety, which is our flagship, to the late Coliseo," affirms Henry.
Left: the VALROYO specialty. Right: Italian-type pepper
We asked Henry about seed varieties, such as Syngenta's new variety, Angelo, and he explained that it is a "very protected variety and for smaller markets, with very high prices because it is sold as a specialty. We need to see how the market reacts; if demand increases and we find clients able to make a profit out of such an expensive seed."
As a different kind of product, Ramiro Arnedo has the Valroyo variety; an ideal pepper for roasting. It is a red pepper, cone-shaped and with thick walls, which can be eaten both fresh and roasted. "It is hard to enter the market with a different kind of product, but we have already started to sell noteworthy amounts, because it offers value added. I have not tasted a pepper for roasting like this one," concludes Henry.