25 Jun 2018

Focus on growth at Rijk Zwaan Australia

A solid background in plant breeding and a special interest in technology will hold Tim March in good stead as he steps into the role of Business Manager Oceania for Rijk Zwaan Australia.

With a special focus on Research and Development (R&D) operations, Tim officially takes over the role from Arie Baelde in July. Arie laid the foundations for the company and the 80-strong team that exists today. 

The Australian subsidiary has established itself as an integral part of Dutch-based global company, Rijk Zwaan – one of the top five vegetable breeding companies in the world. Rijk Zwaan Australia carries out seed production and breeding activities at its base in Daylesford, north-west of Melbourne, and at other sites in Victoria and Queensland

An opportunity for new markets has spurred Arie to focus on the development of Rijk Zwaan in to South Asia. 

“I can see enormous opportunities for introducing new production technologies and improved varieties to meet the needs of these important and diverse markets,” Arie said.

As the Business Manager for South Asia, Arie will be responsible for building new teams across South Asia to service this market and create opportunities for Rijk Zwaan varieties. 

“I am looking forward to new challenges and Tim is the right person to drive innovation at Rijk Zwaan Australia, and take the company into the next exciting phase of plant breeding,” Arie said. 

Tim hails from the agricultural community of Coonalpyn, 160km southeast of Adelaide. Growing up in a family who owned a farm supply business, Tim is no stranger to the industry. He has worked in Germany, collaborating with international teams investigating barley breeding, and most recently worked as a Manager of Molecular Breeding in barley at The University of Adelaide. Tim holds a PhD in Plant Sciences. 

“The rules of plant breeding are transferrable across different crops but what changes are the industry needs and what you’re selecting for,” Tim explained. 

“I love working in plant breeding because we are at the start of the food supply chain where we have the opportunity to partner with all chain members, from growers to food processors and ultimately consumers, to add value to the entire industry through our innovative seeds,

“Seeing these partnerships develop and grow is something I am passionate about,” he said. 

Tim will be involved in managing breeding trial stations within Australia and in coordination with breeding departments elsewhere in the world. He will interact closely with the commercial and product development teams in Australia to ensure R&D activities are aligned to, and support, the company’s commercial needs. 

“Agriculture is going through a technological transformation,” Tim said. 

“There’s so much new technology available, not just in plant breeding, but through to what growers can do in agronomy and technology on their farms, 

“It’s an exciting time and the digitisation of agriculture is only just beginning.”

Tim will join Steven Roberts as the new leadership team of Rijk Zwaan Australia. Steven is the Business Manager Oceania, responsible for sales.

Photo caption: Steven Roberts, Arie Baelde and Tim March

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