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TEL AVIV, March 25 (Reuters) - Evogene Ltd, an Israel-based plant genomics company, and SLC Agricola SA , one of Brazil's largest landowners and agriculture businesses, will collaborate on the commercial production of castor bean varieties in Brazil.
The beans have been developed by Evofuel, Evogene's subsidiary which develops high yielding castor bean seeds as a second-generation feedstock for the biofuel and other industrial markets.
Under the agreement, Evofuel will provide SLC with seeds of its castor bean varieties and SLC will be responsible for growing the crop on its farms in northeast Brazil, the companies said on Tuesday. The resulting castor bean grain will be sold to local oil producers to address the industry need for castor oil.
The agreement provides for the allocation between SLC and Evofuel of revenue from sales of castor bean grain.
Commercial sales of castor bean grain under the agreement are expected to take place in 2016.
The adoption of castor bean as a second crop solution opens up new opportunities for crop rotation in areas such as Brazil's northeast, allowing SLC the potential to diversify its crops and improve farm economics, said Aurelio Pavinato, chief executive of SLC Agricola.
"In addition, having a commercially viable solution for large scale production of castor bean provides SLC with the opportunity to tap into the castor oil market, providing local crushers with a more consistent supply of grain for this high-priced and multi-use oil," he said.
Assaf Oron, general manager of Evofuel, said this was the first commercial arrangement for sale of Evofuel developed seed from its castor bean enhancement efforts.
The collaboration agreement follows three years of field trials, which demonstrated the suitability and economic benefits of growing Evofuel developed castor beans during the drier season on a rotation basis with soybean for production of oil feedstock for biofuels and other industrial uses, the companies said. (Reporting by Tova Cohen)