ZiMMan: The Cucumber Champion

Hazera’s Long Cucumber breeding program, initiated around ten years ago, is still relatively new. This makes it even more impressive that at such an early stage of the program, our team was able to breed ZiMMan, a variety that responds exceptionally well to new environmental stress factors like climate change, water salinization, and new plant viruses.

In the ever-evolving field of agriculture, with increased environmental challenges, Hazera needs to produce versatile varieties. ZiMMan is the first variety developed with this in mind. It is a notable addition to the Hazera cucumber portfolio, designed to tackle these challenges, with a main focus on fighting against the new plant viruses, especially CGMMV.


ZiMMan was launched in Spain, a key market for Long Cucumbers. But its adaptability to thrive under hot conditions, high yield, and comprehensive set of resistances (CYSDV, CVYV, CGMMV, Px) make ZiMMan a resilient and reliable choice for growers worldwide.

“The team started to develop ZiMMan around four years ago and within its first commercial year, ZiMMan achieved a 10% market share of the Spanish market in seed quantity. I’m impressed and proud of the team that they were able to achieve this level of success in such a short time with our cucumber breeding.” – Federico Puyo, Product Manager for Long Cucumber.

Moreover, ZiMMan showcases Hazera’s commitment to innovation and excellence, offering several key characteristics that ensure its adaptability to diverse growing conditions and environmental stresses:
Strong Root System: Ensures the plant’s resilience and ability to withstand stress.
Dark Fruit Colour: Indicates a healthy and visually appealing crop.
Plant Structure: Promotes optimal growth and productivity.

With investing the expertise of its team, Hazera is on a journey towards cultivating stronger and more resilient cucumber varieties.

Would you like to learn more about ZiMMan or our cucumber breeding program? Feel free to contact us.

Kupus: Trend rasta hrane

Od obloga do kimčija

Kiseli kupus je možda u padu, ali njegova potrošnja je godinama stabilna.

Menja se način na koji jedemo kiseli kupus: od čorbe do jela u rerni, kao prilog ili u salati. „Nova, mlada ciljna grupa otkrila je zdravstvene prednosti fermentisanih proizvoda. To daje kupusu podsticaj.

Veliki deo kupusa za industriju

Najveći deo crvenog kupusa ide u prerađivačku industriju. Na kraju se iseku u pakete povrća ili prethodno kuvaju u teglama. Oko 70% belog kupusa ide u prerađivačka fabrike i druge prerađivače. Ovo se poželjno radi što je pre moguće nakon berbe, kaže Maarten Danenberg, menadžer proizvoda kompanije Hazera. Preostalih 30% belog kupusa u Holandiji završava na polici u celini. Taj udeo je veći kod šiljastog kupusa, kaže Danenberg: „Šiljasti kupus je lakše seći u  kuhinji. I vidimo sve više recepata sa polovinom ili četvrtinom šiljastog kupusa, prženog u tiganju ili na roštilju.”

Hazerin šiljasti kupus Regenci & Dutchman

Šiljasti kupus je jedan od glavičastih kupusa koji očigledno raste u obimu, Danenberg primećuje: „Nije spektakularno; nekoliko procenata godišnje. Ali to povećanje traje već dvadesetak godina.” Razvoj dolazi iz Ujedinjenog Kraljevstva, posebno u Holandiju i Nemačku. Popularni hibridi u Hazeri su Regenci i Dutchman (za letnju proizvodnju) i Marshal (skladištenje). Takođe vidimo rast naših pljosnatih hibrida kupusa kao što su Callavai & Catelia za Centralnu Evropu, Balkan i Tursku.

Selekcija kupusnjača je deo Hazerinog nasleđa

Nastao je razvojem hibrida za zapadnu Evropu, ali danas smo globalni igrač sa širokim asortimanom hibrida za specifične namene. Naši timovi za istraživanje i oplemenjivanje su blisko povezani sa našom globalnom mrežom podružnica i distributera, preko kojih smo u kontaktu sa najnovijim trendovima u industriji i željenim zahtevima u okviru različitih useva kupusnjača.

Cabbages: Growing food trend

From wraps to kimchi
Sauerkraut may be on the decline, but its consumption has been stable for years.

The way we eat sauerkraut is changing: from stew to an oven dish, as a side dish, or in a salad. “A new, young target group has discovered the health benefits of fermented products. That gives cabbage a boost.

Large part of cabbage for industry

The majority of red cabbage goes to the processing industry. They end up cut into vegetable packets or pre-cooked in jars. About 70% of white cabbage goes to processing plants and other processors. This is preferably done as soon as possible after harvest, according to Maarten Danenberg, product manager of Hazera. The remaining 30% of the white cabbage in the Netherlands ends up on the shelf in its entirety. That proportion is higher with pointed cabbage, says Danenberg: “Pointed cabbage is easier to cut in your own kitchen. And we’re seeing more and more recipes with half or a quarter of pointed cabbage, pan-fried or grilled on the barbecue.”

Hazera’s pointed cabbages Regency & Dutchman

Pointed cabbage is one of the head cabbages that is clearly growing in volume, Danenberg observes: “Not spectacular; a few percent per year. But that increase has been going on for about twenty years.” The development is coming from the United Kingdom, especially to the Netherlands and Germany.” Popular varieties at Hazera are Regency and Dutchman (for summer cultivation) and Marshal (storage). We also see growth in our flat cabbage varieties like Callaway & Catelya for Central Europe, the Balkans and Turkey.

Brassica breeding is part of Hazera’s heritage

It originated with development of varieties for Western Europe, but today we are a global player with a wide assortment of purpose specific varieties. Our Research and Breeding teams are closely connected to our global network of subsidiaries and distributors, through whom we are in touch with the latest industry trends and preferred requirements within the various Brassica crops.

Fruit Logistica Innovation Award 2024

Staay Food Group and Hazera Seeds present new watermelon

Exceed mini watermelon nominated for Fruit Logistica Innovation Award 2024

The Exceed mini watermelon has been nominated for the 2024 Fruit Logistica Innovation Award, marking a proud moment in the long-standing partnership between Staay Food Group and Hazera. The winner will be announced at Fruit Logistica in Berlin (7-9 February), where Staay will be present to premier the Exceed watermelon.

Mark Loojenga, Marketing Manager at Staay Food Group, and Michal Taraska, Global Value Chain Lead at Hazera, discuss the product, the partnership and what to expect at the Food Logistica.

EXCEED mini watermelon nominated for Fruit Logistica Innovation Award 2024
Exceeding expectations

According to Mark and Michal, the Exceed watermelon has earned its nomination through a unique combination of qualities that benefits growers, retailers and consumers. “The Exceed watermelon is a durable and eco-friendly variety, with strong resistance to diseases like powdery mildew and has plants that provide multiple harvests. Not only does this make life easier for the grower, but it also requires less fungicides and significantly less water than the production of traditional watermelons”, Mark says. Michal adds that this also helps reduce food waste: “Exceed makes it possible to reduce losses in production and during transport.”

“And due to the variety’s extended shelf-life of over 5-10 days longer than traditional watermelons, this variety displays a long-lasting freshness in both supermarkets and consumer’s homes”, he continues. With its compact, uniform size the Exceed watermelon answers a strongly growing call in the (Northern) European and American markets for smaller watermelons. “The size is suitable for ever smaller households and easy to keep in the fridge. And they’re seedless, which is both a major convenience for consumers and a waste-saver.” Mark adds. “But it’s the taste and color they come back for.” Michal: “The Exceed mini watermelon has a really sweet and crispy taste, as is shown by its above average Brix level.”

Team effort
The Exceed mini watermelon is the latest success in a long-standing collaboration between Staay Food Group and Hazera. “Staay is a strong and dynamic partner, which is key for successfully introducing a new product to the market”, Michal says. He underlines the importance of such a partnership for Hazera. “We can provide the best Formula One car, but we still need a top-class driver to win the race. In Staay Food Group, we’ve found that driver.”

An analogy Mark wholeheartedly agrees with. “Hazera provides top-quality seeds that are perfectly suited for our fields in Costa Rica. And with this newly developed variety, we perfectly reflect the demands of the market; we’re able to grow the right products. The Exceed mini watermelon is another step in our close and fruitful cooperation.”

Premier release at Fruit Logistica Berlin
The premier release of the Exceed mini watermelon for the European market will take place at Fruit Logistica, where Staay Food Group will be present at stand B45 in hall 3.2. “Here, we will also display a selection of other products we grow and offer ourselves,” Mark elaborates. “For the first time we can show our three club varieties of colored pears together: The Red Conference, Early Desire and Dazzling Gold are all exclusively available through Staay Food Group. Secondly, we show our hydroponic lettuces, and finally our wide range of available vine tomatoes. In addition, we will bring special attention to our branch in Venlo, which focusses on the food service industry. This location provides a quite unique service for the German market, where customers can buy products per box instead of per pallet and can combine different products on one pallet. This is ideal for restaurants, who usually don’t need entire pallets of one product.”

The prize-giving ceremony for the innovation award will take place on 9 February 2024, 2.30 p.m. at the FLIA Technology special exhibition area between Halls 1.1 and 2.1. Mark and Michal agree this nomination “shows we are on the right track in our team effort to successfully align the development, cultivation, sales and marketing of excellent and innovative products.”

Staay Food Group B.V.
Mark Loojenga
Marketing Manager
+31 6 13 80 89 81
Hazera Seeds B.V.
Rosaline Hazenbroek
Marcom Specialist
+31 6 28 09 60 68

Staay Food Group
is an international cultivation, sales and marketing organization in fresh fruit and vegetables with a global network; The World is our Garden. Staay Food Group is a family business, founded in 1946. It delivers tailor-made products to customers in retail, wholesale, foodservice and processing.

HAZERA: Growing Together
Hazera’s headquarters are situated in Israel and The Netherlands, with subsidiaries in twelve countries and an extensive distribution network providing services in over 100 additional markets. This worldwide presence enables us to be close to our customers.
Hazera is part of the Limagrain Group, an international agri-business based in France. Being a farmers’ cooperative, the Limagrain Group understands the needs of its customers and has grown to become the largest seed company in Europe, specialising in vegetables, field crops and cereal products. Limagrain’s vegetable seed division is the second largest company in the industry.

Introducing the new Global Value Fresh Chain Lead of Hazera: Michal Taraska

Growing up on his family farm in Poland, Michal Taraska developed two main interests: agriculture, coming from the family business, and the commercial aspect, stemming from his grandfather who owned the bank in their village. Now, he combines those two passions in his role as Global Fresh Chain Lead for Hazera. In this article, Michal introduces himself and shares his insights on the Global Tomato Congress (GTC) he recently attended in the Netherlands. 

“What I like about working in the seeds business is that you are involved right from the beginning of the process. These early stages are crucial for producing quality products,” Michal says. And when it comes to growing fresh produce, he knows what he is talking about. Having grown up surrounded by crops like onions, sugar beans, and wheat grown for seeds, Michal pursued an Agriculture Course at the University of Science and Technology in Bydgoszcz, followed by a series of jobs with leading seed production companies. For the past 8 years, Michal has been further developing his expertise with the Limagrain group, spending the first five years as the Sales and Development Manager in HM. Clause, and the past three years as a Project Manager responsible for partnerships with retailers.

From local to global impact

“One of our main projects there was to promote our Rosamunda Tomato variety in the fresh chain market,” Michal says. “It was a significant challenge since the Fresh Market was considered saturated and standardized. However, thanks to a strong team effort and a lot of hard work, we managed to introduce our innovative variety on the shelves of many major supermarkets and retailers. It’s an achievement that I’m very proud of.” His successful leadership role in this project led Michal to the conclusion: “If we can achieve this in Poland, can we also do it in other markets and on a global scale? It’s a great challenge with a lot of responsibility, but I’m ready to embrace it.”

Professional goals

As the Global Value Fresh Chain Lead of Hazera, Michal wants to continue getting Hazera’s products on the shelves of major retailers worldwide. “We have fantastic products and innovations that I want to introduce to the world. Another important goal of mine is to develop strong relationships with the people within our company and sister companies because achieving our goals will always be a team effort and lead to team victories. My new position combines the three things I love most about our field of work: the inspiring people, a healthy product that can have a positive impact on people’s lives, and the challenging projects we undertake.”

Inspiration all around

To find solutions for the challenges that come his way, Michal draws inspiration from two main sources; other people and the world at large. “I believe that listening to others, especially those with different perspectives, is an essential resource for generating new ideas on how we approach our business. But inspiration also comes from the world around you. I draw a lot from my hobby, kitesurfing. The interaction with wind and water allows me to recharge my batteries and enter a creative state of mind where my best ideas emerge.”

Global Tomato Conference 

“My first attendance at the GTC left a strong impression on me,” Michal says. “It was inspiring to meet numerous experts from the seed industry and affiliated businesses all in one place. However, I was somewhat surprised by the relatively low number of growers and retailers in attendance. I believe events like this play a crucial role in knowledge sharing and collaboration, ultimately contributing to our collective goal of helping growers address the challenges they face. But I see opportunities to enhance the value of a conference like this by expanding its scope and involving more retailers and growers.”

“I was impressed by the consistent quality of Hazera’s products on display and the positive reception they received,” Michal continues. “The combination of firmness, extended shelf life, visually appealing characteristics, and delightful taste make Hazera’s tomato varieties a compelling choice for both retailers and consumers.” Michal concludes with a final lesson learned from the GTC and advice for growers: “Striking a right balance between providing resistance to viruses and maintaining delicious taste  will enhance the overall desirability and marketability of the tomatoes produced, benefiting both producers and consumers.”

Do you want to stay connected with our Hazera people?

Follow us our social media channels to stay connected with our Hazera people! If you have any questions left, don’t hesitate to ask them via our contact page!

Meet the people behind the crops: Netta Doitch

In Hazera, we tend to put the spotlight on our successful products, yet their success starts with the People of Hazera: the truly committed and passionate experts who make it all happen on a daily basis. Meet Netta Doitch (43), our Global Lead Tomato Breeding from Mefalsim, a small Kibbutz in the southern part of Israel. It seems as though it was meant to be- the daughter of a flower and strawberry farmer, Netta (meaning “a young plant” in Hebrew), was destined for a life in agriculture.

Netta in person

Figure 1- Netta Doitch, Global Lead Tomato Breeding Hazera

When she was young, she gladly helped her dad around the farm and without knowing it performed “cuttings” from a very young age, removing a small part of the plant’s stem, and replanting it together with a “rooting hormone”, to receive a genetically identical plant. “I always enjoyed agronomy and loved visiting agricultural events. When I was in high school, I recall reading in the newspaper about a successful “breeding” of red and blue bananas and decided, even though I did not know what “breeding” was, that this is what I wanted to do for a living. Netta went on to get her Bachelor of Science in Agriculture with specialization in Genetic Breeding and Biotechnology and later fulfilled her dream to become a breeder, doing so with a true feeling of love and chosen destiny.

Netta has been with Hazera since 2009, when she started out as Tomato Breeder Assistant. Two years later she became an Associate breeder and led the determinate heat set tomatoes and indeterminate round open field tomato projects. Approximately 12 years later, she is now, the Global Lead Tomato Breeding; and amongst her many projects she also leads the breeding projects of the Indeterminate Round Open Field (IROF) tomatoes.

“What is a common myth or preconception about your job or field of expertise?”

“It seems as though everybody believes that breeding ruins the taste in vegetables”. Nowadays she just explains to whoever asks that she works in Tomato Genetics without transgenic interference.

simply working in tomato genetics

Figure 2- Simply working in “Tomato Genetics”

“In your opinion, what is the most important personality trait/strength someone would need to work in your industry/be successful in your job?”

According to Netta, being a good breeder requires super focus on the goal, you have to ‘breathe’ breeding every day, the plant dictates your work and not vice versa. Netta also highlights the constant change of environments in a breeder’s life: “You can say that I wear two hats: “In winter, you can find me all neat and dressed up in office clothing, whereas in summer you could hardly recognize me, as I’m all covered in plant parts, soil, and remains of tomatoes.” In other words, you have to be highly adaptable and “passionate” about your field of work.

a day in the life of a breeder

Figure 3- A day in the life of a breeder

“Tell us about a project you’re really proud of and why”

“I’m really proud of our Giga tomato, part of the IROF project in Brazil. When examining where we started and where we are at today, it is truly amazing!”. In the beginning of the project, we started out with zero resistance but very strong and vegetative plant genetics. The genetic change and adding the required disease we achieved was truly significant. The variety Giga in Brazil has excellent firmness, size, and unique array of resistances.

Burned field of tomatoes

Figure 4- Project start: totally burned plants in Brazil

We went from totally “burned” plants, changed the selection method and started doing selections in the region, which was a major change in the way we work.

green field

Figure 5- One of many hybrid evaluation field trials. Brazil 2012

For more than ten years, together with Arno Van Staden, Tomato Regional Product manager in Marketing, we studied the Brazilian market and trends ,we built a breeding platform in Brazil from scratch which gave us the boost for high level of Xct-resistant plant without compromising all other quality traits.


Figure 6- Climbing each and every obstacle together. With Arno Van Staden

This success story of Giga is a remarkable example of great cooperation between R&D and Marketing”, Netta goes on to say: “We walked it hand in hand, with top synchronization that greatly contributed to the success of the project”. On top of everything, we have succeeded in creating excellent genetic material for other markets as well.


Figure 7- GIGA variety “Has Quality” launch 2022

“Tell us something about you that most people don’t know”

I like to cook but I don’t like fresh tomatoes- I prefer cucumbers. Also, I recently got my kibbutz’s “annual entrepreneur for the community” award for the farm work I do at my home village/

netta with the kids

Figure 8- Volunteer work farming for her community with the next generation

This short glimpse into Netta’s life and daily work truly showcase that breeding does run in one’s DNA.

Want to know more about our people?

Follow us on our social media channels to stay connected with our Hazera people! If you have any questions left, don’t hesitate to ask them via our contact page!

Hazera center-stage at MOP Arava Israel 2023 annual expo

Want to be the first to see the next generation of the Israeli tomato and be impressed by the new variety portfolio of Hazera? Join us for a unique opportunity and meet our team for a deeper understanding of the quality, performance and potential of Hazera’s new varieties.

The exhibition in the Arava is the perfect opportunity to get a glimpse of the future of the Israeli tomato with “Rubicon”/ “Doria” – a new Saladette tomato variety that is suitable for picking in a cluster. The tomato is delicious, firm, has a long shelf life and excellent preservation on the plant, as well as a bright red and attractive fruit.

Rubicon (“Doria”): from the grower to our plate. Photograph: Ofer Hajub

In addition to “Rubicon”, Hazera- a world pioneer in the seed industry, will launch the “Yellow Whitney” – the heart tomato that made Israelis fall in love and is now available in red and yellow. The Yellow Whitney is the first yellow Midi Plum tomato of its kind – it is extremely tasty, has impressive yellow fruit, is very firm and crunchy and has a strong plant and a high yield.





Yellow Whitney. Photograph: Ofer Hajub

Come see and taste! Still young at heart, the queen of flavor, The “Maggie” tomato, is ringing in its first decade with a party! Maggie is known as a high-quality Israeli tomato, with a juicy green gel, which gives it a fine taste and rich aroma. Maggie is grown throughout the year nationwide in Israel among selected farmers only and packaged in a closed and marked package – and now with a new branding in honor of its 10-year celebration.





Maggie “the Taste” Tomato. Photograph: Ofer Hajub

At the exhibition, Hazera will launch new varieties of radishes: “Whitella” in white and “Purpella” in purple: round radishes for growing in open and closed areas, with impressive and strong colors, suitable for growing all year round with a high yield and excellent internal quality.





New radish varieties. Photograph: Hazera

Come and get an impression of a red, curly romaine lettuce: “Purple Heart“. Beyond the nutritional benefits of romaine lettuce, which is 5 times richer in vitamins than other types of lettuce, the variety “Purple Heart” is characterized as crunchy and extremely tasty and has a bright red color that penetrates deep into the leaf.




“Purple Heart”. Photograph: Hazera

Come and meet the team of Hazera at the Araba expo taking place on February 15 and 16 in Ein Hatzeva, Israel and join “Rubicon” /”Doria” on her fresh produce journey from the field, to the retailers, and straight to her kitchen!

ToBRFV in Tomato Plants

by Dr. Yaniv Rotem – Solanaceae Pathologist, Hazera


General background

The Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus – ToBRFV – is a relatively new viral disease, first appearing in the Middle East in 2014. The disease has since spread rapidly to many other areas in the world, and currently constitutes a major global problem in tomato crop production worldwide.

In Israel, all tomato production areas have been severely affected by ToBRFV, and the effects of the disease are evident both in the tomato greenhouses and fields, and in the quality and appearance of the fruits which are sold.


Symptoms of the disease

As a rule, the symptoms of the disease are similar to the typical symptoms of ToMV, but the severity of the symptoms can differ from that known with ToMV:

  • In the leaves – a mosaic appears, which is particularly noticeable on young leaves and at the growth vertices. In some cases, there is narrowing of the leaflet blade, and in certain cases the leaves become entirely threadlike (“shoestrings”).
  • In the fruit – yellow spots develop which become necrotic at a later stage. In some cases, “chocolate spots” appear on the fruit. In cases of severe damage, the fruit becomes wrinkled and distorted. The virus name (“Brown Rugose Fruit”) was given due to the wrinkled appearance together with the brown spots.
  • Note that in contrast to the characteristic situation when affected by ToMV, in which symptoms generally appear in the fruit only in cases of particularly severe damage to the foliage, in the case of ToBRFV – there is no connection between the severity of damage to the fruit and severity of damage to the foliage: there are situations in which serious damage to the fruit is observed while no symptoms appear on the leaves, or vice versa – cases of severe symptoms in the foliage and lack of symptoms in the fruit.
  • In certain cases – necrosis develops of the calyx of the fruit, the fruit peduncle, and the central spine of the cluster of fruit.
  • When a susceptible variety is infected with ToBRFV, the main damage is a significant weakening of the plant and its capability to produce clusters of fruits over a long season.

In the wake of the viral infection, tomato cultivation in Israel has changed entirely: due to the weakening of the plants, growers currently have almost no possibility to grow tomatoes in a long central season of 9-10 months as was customary before the virus’s appearance; instead, shorter growing seasons of 4-5 months are now customary, intended for harvesting a few clusters only.


Symptoms on leaves – severe mosaic and narrowing of some of the leaf lobes, to the point of appearing “thready”


Severe symptoms in the fruits

Symptoms of necrosis in the calyx, fruit peduncle and the spine of the cluster

Weakening of the plant as a result of viral infection in a susceptible variety (on right) compared to a variety that is largely similar to it but is resistant to the virus (on left).


How is the disease transmitted?

  • ToBRFV is very easily transmitted mechanically – by human contact, by work tools, support wires, or any entity that comes in physical contact with an infected plant or soil that contains the virus and later comes in contact with healthy plants. It is important to remember that particles of this virus are particularly resistant to environmental conditions, and are capable of surviving for long periods in soil or on infected surfaces.
  • Since the virus is capable of surviving in soil for a long period – the virus is also transferred with infected soil that is moved from one place to another (by sticking to shoes, to work tools that are moved from one plot to another, etc.).
  • The virus is transmitted in seeds – a seed produced from an infected plant is likely to carry virus particles on its surface.
  • The virus can also be transmitted by bumble bees, which serve to pollinate during the cultivation process.


Prevention and treatment

  • Since the outbreak of the disease, Hazera together with Limagrain Group have been working on a comprehensive study of the issue, in which tomato varieties with intermediate levels of resistance to the virus were developed. The first patent in the world for resistance to ToBRFV was registered by Limagrain in 2017. Using these varieties provides an optimal solution for growing tomatoes in conditions of infections with ToBRFV, while maintaining the varieties performance.
  • Observing phytosanitary rules is key to preventing the disease:
    • Making sure to have clean clothes, jackets and gloves for those entering the greenhouses.
    • Making sure to sterilize all equipment used.
    • Sterilizing shoes in an immersion pit upon entrance to the greenhouse.
    • Being strict about the order in which buildings are entered – the workday begins with the buildings housing the young, healthy plants and continues to the buildings housing the more mature plants.
  • Plants in which infection is discovered should be immediately removed from the greenhouse, being careful to avoid contact with neighboring plants.
  • Using healthy seeds and seedlings is another key to preventing the disease. Hazera is strict about performing health tests in licensed laboratories, according to international standards and the Plant Protection Services. Checking that seeds are free of ToBRFV is done by the ISHI Protocol, which is the international protocol accepted throughout the world.
  • Being strict about good sanitization – sterilizing the soil or growth medium and the greenhouse space when cultivation is completed.



New Deputy CEO of Hazera: “It is like a Marathon run, and we want to finish first!”

Since May 19th   2022, Ofer Peleg is the new Deputy CEO of Hazera. He will lead sales, supply chain, production and IT. “We have great ‘DNA’ in Hazera, but also opportunities and potential to become a well-integrated company and realize solid and robust processes.”

Ofer, fifty years old, lives near Tel Aviv, together with his wife and three children, aged 21, 18 and 13. He is used to work for several leading  companies in multicultural and dynamic environments. “I started as an industrial engineer in the pharma industry, and stayed there for about twenty years. At Teva pharmaceuticals, the Israeli global generic leader, I served in various positions in both R&D and Operations, where my last role was to manage three large facilities in Europe, for that role I moved with my family to Amsterdam for two years. After that I became vice-president of the Global supply chain at Sun pharmaceuticals , a global Indian pharma company. In the last four years I was the vice-president of the Global supply chain at Netafim, a global leader in precision irrigation. “At Netafim I focused on the same customers and ambition as Hazera; helping farmers to get the best out of their crops for both quantity and quality.”

Go the extra mile
“I got a very warm welcome, both at Hazera and Limagrain, there is a strong sense of partnership. The people I have met enjoy their profession and are very enthusiastic, willing to go above and beyond  to serve our customers. They know that by doing so, they are making the world a better place. Shortly after I started at Hazera, I was lucky to meet many of my colleagues at the annual Limagrain conference in Prague.

Marathon run

“I just started my learning, there is a huge knowhow and great professionalism here” says Ofer. But our competitors are not waiting for us, and we have to be agile, flexible and focus on quality. We can’t stop, not even for a minute; we are running a marathon and we want to finish first. There is also an opportunity for becoming a well-integrated company and realizing solid and robust processes.”

Way of working
“We produce seeds all over the world; How can we do this as efficient as possible? What is our optimal footprint?, How to optimize our inventory?  How can we  leverage our capabilities?  In my former positions I have helped answering similar kinds of questions. I’m looking forward to share my experience and contribute to Hazera.”

High quality and high yield, the golden combination for Hazera onions

Hazera, part of Limagrain Group, is a specialist in the development, production and marketing of onion seed. The breeders have been working on strong varieties of excellent quality since the 1950s. The distribution of new, improved onion varieties is a slow process that can sometimes take more than 25 years. It is therefore important to have a good vision of what the market needs. What are the trends?


“For years the focus within the company has been on breeding and cultivation in the local markets, but since 2008, when Hazera was formed in its current form, there has been a complete global focus,” said Reinout de Heer, Global Product Manager Allium. “Onions are sensitive to day length. The length of the day determines the moment of bulb formation of the onion. Different varieties are therefore more or less suitable for cultivation per day length zone; from short day onions to extra long day onions. Due to the global focus, development programs and knowledge can be combined. This has given the worldwide cultivation, production and sale of high-quality onion seed a significant boost.”

More sales opportunities
Onions are a daily ingredient in the kitchen for many people worldwide. And although an onion is not sold at variety level in the supermarket. There you just buy a yellow, white, pink or red onion. The variety is important to the growers. Pablo Salgado, Onion Breeder: “They are focussing on disease resistance, skin quality, firmness and yield. Hazera is constantly working on innovations in this area in order to achieve the best onion with the highest yield for growers, processors and buyers. An example is the development of varieties that are suitable for multiple processing options, so that the grower has more possibilities in terms of sales opportunities.”

Semiagro, Peru: “The Peruvian onion market has grown thanks to the fantastic work of the collaboration between Semiagro and Hazera. With 17,500 hectares of planted cultivation area, the onion crop is positioned as the highest-producing vegetable in the Peruvian market.
The national consumption of pink onions represents 83% and 17% for the export market (mainly granex for the US). In addition, the conditions for the onion grower have improved, the possibilities for the national and export potential market for wholesalers have increased and the consumer has access to better quality onions.”

Superior material
Semiagro and Hazera have been working together for more than two decades on the development of hybrid onion varieties in Peru. Today, the Sivan F1 is the leading variety on the market and is recognized throughout the chain for its characteristics: excellent post-harvest, good skin retention, beautiful color and thin necks.

There are already promising trials for early onions. Year after year we see superior material from 3 new varieties (10414, 10416 and 10417), the result of 19 years of trials.”

Harvesting by machine
Within the yellow short day onions segment, the trend is to produce more uniform round onions. A change that is necessary, because manual harvesting and processing is becoming too expensive. Pablo: “By making sure the onions are more uniform and round, they can be harvested and sorted more easily by machine. Maintaining qualities such as firmness, skin retenation and disease resistance is very important.”

Dean Pye, Pye Produce harvesting Rhinestone onions in Canterbury 13 March 2019
Copyright photo © Steve McArthur / www.vigour.nz

Golden combination
In New Zealand and the Netherlands, many onions are destined for export. Reinout: “The onions must also remain of high quality during and after transport. Skin retention and firmness are important elements for good quality onions. In addition, the net yield must be good. As a grower you can get a high yield from the field, but in the end you get paid for the yield upon delivery. Excellent quality and high net yield is the golden combination.

Steve McArthur – Vigour, New Zealand: “Ten years ago, the New Zealand onion industry was upgraded with the first large-scale planting of the Dutch-bred onion, Rhinestone. The onion yield for the growers has increased by more than 10% since then. Rhinestone leads the way in terms of reliability and quality, not only for growers, but also for others in the chain, such as exporters, packers and retailers.

Listening to local growers
Hazera’s breeders first listened to local growers. They created Rhinestone by combining local New Zealand genetics with the best genetics from other regions. The result: a hybrid with geographical adaptability, but also a long shelf life, high yield, great taste, firm bulbs and very good skin retention.

New Zealand plays an important role in filling the gap between the old and new season onions in Western Europe. Shipping onions for a journey across the equator for six to ten weeks requires an onion with many excellent qualities.
Rhinestone offers growers the certainty that they deliver quality to the other side of the world.

Climate and red onions
Other developments that Hazera is paying attention to are irrigation solutions and red onions. Pablo: “The climate is changing. We are conducting tests so that we can respond effectively to longer periods of drought or more precipitation.” Reinout continues: “And the market for red onions is growing. We are expanding our portfolio in all segments. Both in the short day and in the extra long day, with our latest introduction, for example, the Redrover. This extra long day red onion has a long shelf life and is very suitable for use in salads.”

Onion Sivan

New watermelon varieties offering solutions for the chain

In recent years we have witnessed various trends in the consumption of vegetables and fruits.
One of the most notable trends is in the watermelon category.

Not inconvenient anymore
Watermelon was long perceived as inconvenient. Especially with decreasing households, watermelons were found too big, giving too much waste and too heavy to carry. Also the lack of good taste and quality was a reason for people to buy other fruits. With the introduction of the high quality, high tasting seedless mini and midi watermelons, consumption is increasing rapidly, in some countries over 10% in the last 5 years. Watermelons are used as a healthy snack, during dinner or lunch or as refreshing drink.

3rd choice of consumers
Watermelon is gaining popularity worldwide staying in the top 5 of fresh consumed fruits globally. In the European Union watermelon is the 3rd choice of consumers as refreshment after apples and oranges. In USA watermelon is 3rd choice after bananas and apples. With the COVID pandemic people started to focus even more on health. Another push forward for watermelon consumption.


Yearround offering
Hazera’s global experience in the watermelon industry provides solutions that fit the needs of all partners in the fresh chain now and in the future through close collaboration. Due to our intensive breeding efforts we are able to offer year round, high quality, high tasting watermelons.

New launches in Spain
Hazera launched 3 new seedless watermelon varieties in Murcia, Spain targeted for the South European watermelon producers:
• Margay, a uniform, crunchy, great tasting midi watermelon with great feedback from Spanish retailers targeting 2 categories at the same time: fresh cut & fresh.
In the mini seedless category 2 novelties were highlighted for the Spanish production:
• 50037 a mini of 1.3-2.1 kg featuring excellent crunch and taste which was very well appreciated by retailers.
• Latest newcomer 50041 a nice, red round watermelon with excellent shelf life capacity is showing good results in both indoor in Almeria as well as the open field in Murcia.

Looking for more insights? Or curious on the solutions we can offer?
Contact us. We are happy to meet.

Mark van der Zouwen
Cucurbits Global Product Manager

Arjan van Steekelenburg
Chain Manager Fresh Produce

Yoav Levy
Cucurbits Regional Product Manager

Primed seeds: the next step in top quality onion growing

Hazera has been developing and selling primed onion seeds since 2009. This experience translates into the market as the share of primed seeds is increasing. Many growers are discovering the benefits. Primed seeds can ensure faster crop development after sowing, more uniformity in the crop and final product and better quality onions. That is why it is also interesting for you.

In short, seed priming is the process of activating the early stages of germination. After priming, the seed is sown and packed in the same way. Seedlings that have been primed will emerge faster and the position, will therefore, be more uniform. As the first germination stage between sowing and emergence is shorter, the seeds are less affected by weather influences.

Flexible sowing time
Adam Prabucki, Onion Product Manager says: “Climate change means we have to deal with extreme conditions in the field more often. Spring is getting shorter and it’s getting warmer much earlier. This means that the sowing period seems to be shorter. Because primed seeds are already in a further development stage, they germinate faster at low temperatures and the crop will be above the ground sooner and develop faster.”

Growth cycle
A big misconception is that you can harvest onions from primed seeds earlier. Adam says: “That’s not the case. The length of the day determines the growth cycle of onions. Priming the seeds does not affect the growth cycle, it remains the same. However, you can save costs by using primed seeds, because you need less seed for the same yield as with regular onion seed. Due to the controlled process of priming in the laboratory, the chance of germination is better. And due to the more uniform germination, the loss in the early stages of growth is also less. You can save up to 10% on seeds.”

Less plant damage
With primed seeds, the plants emerge more uniform. They are in the same stage of development and need the same treatment at the same time. This makes the weed control program easier to apply. This results in less plant damage. A clean field without weeds also means less damage to the bulbs, so better quality and storage potential. Due to the faster emergence, for example, there is also less chance of onion fly. And the optimum harvest time is easier to determine with uniform plants.

The advantages are great, although there are also some limitations. Adam says: ”We advise not to sow too late in the season as the soil dries up too quickly. If there are no options for irrigating, the primed seeds in a dried-up seedbed can die, because the connection with the deeper soil layers has not yet been reached. If onions sprout quicker, there may be too little water available for growth. This may lead to a lower plant population. It is also better not to store primed seeds for use in another year, as the growth cycle has already started.”

Contact with crop specialists
Hazera can supply primed seeds of all varieties. Our crop specialists are happy to advise on how these seeds can contribute to a successful high-quality harvest. They support and guide you with tailor-made advice, also during your cultivation.

Senior delegation from SEE region

Yesterday we had the honor to host a senior delegation from Hercegbosnia, Posavina & West Herzegovina Canton in Bosnia & Herzegovina in Hazera’s Headquarter in Israel.
During their visit we presented the company profile & activity, the germination laboratory & we had a tour in the Tomato demo greenhouse.
We had an open discussion regarding the vegetable seeds opportunities in the region & intentions for collaboration in the future.
Many thanks to Evelyn Rosenthal from MASHAV company for choosing Hazera as their choice as a Seed company model for this visit.

The Consular & Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of North Macedonia on a professional visit to Hazera

Yesterday we had the pleasure to host the Consular & Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of North Macedonia, Mr. Maciej Kaczorowski in Hazera’s IL HQ.
During the visit we presented our Seed’s Health laboratory and Tomato Demo greenhouse.
We discussed Agro-business opportunities & seed regulation in their country.
Many thanks to Mr. Shlomo Graziani, the Honorary consul of N. Macedonia in Israel for choosing Hazera to represent the agriculture industry in Israel.

Hazera’s Official Training Video: Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus (ToBRFV)

We are happy to present Hazera’s training video and sanitation guide for dealing with the new ToBRFV virus.

The purpose of this video is to assist growers and farmers to gain a better understanding of the ToBRFV virus, and to share some practical advice and active measures for eradicating the growth of this virus through the use of stringent hygiene and highly effective sanitation. Continue reading “Hazera’s Official Training Video: Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus (ToBRFV)”