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India: Reis (चावल)
USA: Turkey and corn
UK: Brussels sprouts
Russia: Cabbage (капуста)
Germany: Potatoes (Kartoffeln)
Ethiopia: Wheat
China: Tofu (豆腐)
Brazil: Sugar cane (cana de açúcar)
Switzerland: Wine (Wein, vin, vino)
France: Apple (pomme)
USA - Turkey and Corn United Kingdom - Sprouts Germany - Potato Russia - Cabbage India - Rice
Brazil - Sugarcane France - Apples Switzerland - Wine Ethiopia - Wheat China - Tofu

It is the season…

It is the season…

India - Rice

India: Rice (चावल)

One of the biggest holidays in India is Diwali, which occurs in October or November. The meaning of Diwali varies according to region and religious group, but its origins lie in celebration of the harvest. One tradition shared by all is the preparation of an elaborate meal with delicious sweet or savory rice dishes. In Western India, these are prepared from pounded, semi-cooked rice that’s taken from the fresh harvest. Basmati rice, with its long fine grains, is very popular, and is flavored with delicious spices like cumin, cardamom, or ginger.

Grown on all continents except Antarctica, rice is the main source of nutrition, income and employment in many emerging regions of the world. Rice cultivation is labor-intensive and still requires lots of water – traditionally, the fields are flooded after setting the seedlings. With the largest area under this crop in the world, India is facing a productivity challenge: the FAO estimates the average yield in India at 2.3 tons per hectare, compared with a global average of 4.3 tons per hectare. The country is making huge efforts to improve productivity by involving growers and using a holistic approach that includes traits, seeding technology, crop protection, and water efficiency.

To support Indian growers in addressing the yield gap, Syngenta launched TEGRA, an integrated program that changes the way rice is grown. TEGRA begins with high quality seeds that are treated with Syngenta seed care and are grown in trays with a special growing media. Watch our video to see how the trays are taken to the field and mechanically transplanted. TEGRA uses water more efficiently, combats pests more effectively, and is less labor intensive than conventional techniques. Trials in India have shown average increases of 30 percent in yield. Beyond the yield advantage, TEGRA also brings a qualitative step change: The growers experience and appreciate the improvement the new technology brings to their own quality of life.

It is the season…

USA - Turkey and Corn

USA: Turkey and Corn

Thanksgiving has been “Turkey day” in the United States since it was first celebrated by colonists and native Americans at Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1621. Traditionally stuffed with bread, chopped vegetables and herbs, a roast turkey is the centerpiece of most Thanksgiving dinners. There are even some villages named after it: Turkey, Texas, is the most populous (424 residents!), followed by Turkey Creek in Louisiana.

Turkey meat is affordable, low in fat, and a major protein choice for consumers in the United States. Close to 250 million turkeys were raised in the US last year – a third of them for the holiday season. As the main ingredient of their feed is corn, a crop particularly sensitive to water shortages, the severe drought of the 2012 growing season has affected both corn farmers and turkey producers.

The drought also put to the test Syngenta’s integrated water solution for corn, which was sold commercially to US farmers for the first time last year. It brings together elite genetic and trait combinations, seed care, crop protection, crop enhancement and water management protocols, above- and below-ground environmental sensing, as well as automated irrigation and chemigation. The solution more than passed the test, helping growers to reduce water use, raise a healthy crop and maximize yield even under extreme drought stress.

It is the season…

UK - Brussels sprouts

UK: Brussels sprouts

While not exactly a children’s favorite, Brussels sprouts are an essential element of the traditional English Christmas dinner – much like mince pies and plum pudding. Sprouts in their “modern” form were developed in the 18th century around Brussels in Belgium (hence the name), and introduced in England around 100 years later. If cooked properly, they can be delicious. And the many new mild-flavored and colorful varieties on the market give former sprout skeptics a reason to be jolly this holiday season.

Brussels sprouts are easy to grow and extremely hardy - they can even survive a first frost. Approximately 20 to 40 sprouts grow on each stem, which can reach a height of one meter. They are a great source of vitamins C and D, folic acid, and fiber. As one of the leading producers of Brussels sprouts in Europe, the UK is also at the forefront of research when it comes to brassica crops. For example, scientists from the University of Warwick – in partnership with Syngenta – uncovered the genetic basis of the resistance to a viral infection that affects crops like Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and broccoli.

Syngenta plant scientists have also developed a range of red Brussels sprouts that have a milder, sweeter flavor than the traditional green version. They can even be served raw in salads, yet they offer the same health benefits as green sprouts. Harvested between October and February, red sprouts are expected to be a very popular item again in UK shopping carts this holiday season – especially with families.

It is the season…

Russia - Cabbage

Russia: Cabbage (капуста)

In Russia, winter holidays such as New Year or Orthodox Christmas are celebrated with a sumptuous feast. This might include a fried goose, smoked sausages, red wine, and the traditional starter shchi, which is a hot cabbage soup. Affordable and healthy, shchi warms the heart and stomach of many a guest. Russian cuisine features many hearty dishes based on crops that thrive in cold climates. Cabbage, or kapusta, is considered the country’s national food – Russian princes once used it to pay tributes.

An undemanding but slow-growing crop, cabbage is a rich source of vitamins C and K, iron, calcium, and potassium. Its odor comes from the sulphur content, which strengthens the immune system. Consumers in Russia look for tasty, high-quality cabbage, with a good head and no mechanical damage or rotten leaves. Head size, weight, and color preferences vary according to the season and the area. In wintertime, heads of between two and three kg are in big demand. Consumers in the south of the country prefer white cabbage; in the north, there is a big demand for light green cabbage.

Growers in Russia can choose from about 40 different types of Syngenta cabbage, including white, Savoy, storage, red, and Chinese cabbage varieties. The clubroot-resistant Kilaton variety is especially popular. The cabbage heads intended for consumption are picked during the first year of the crop’s life cycle, while those intended for seed production are left on the field to grow a second year.

It is the season…

Germany - Potatoes

Germany: Potatoes (Kartoffeln)

King Frederick the Great is credited with seeing the potential of the potato and introducing it into Germany in the 1700s. At that time, the country was experiencing many cool, wet summers, which caused wheat crops to fail. Potato turned out to be a viable alternative: essentially a “cool weather crop”, it adapts easily to diverse climates.

There are about 100 varieties of edible potatoes today, and they range in size, shape, color, starch content and flavor. This versatility is appreciated in Germany, and reflected in many Christmas dishes. Each region has its own favorite ways of preparing them, and the “right” recipe can be the object of lively debates, even within families. Potato dumplings (Klösse) accompany roast duck or goose; potato salad with hot sausages (Kartoffelsalat mit Würstchen) is a popular dish on Christmas Eve; and potato pancakes (Kartoffelpuffer) – served with applesauce – can be found at any Christmas market.

Based on our market leadership and broad portfolio for potato, Syngenta is working to strengthen the relationships with seed producers, growers, and processors. The goal is to differentiate our crop protection offer so that it matches the changing needs of the value chain. With the new focus on health and nutritional value, potato size and quality have become increasingly important for processed and frozen produce. For example, potatoes lower in solids absorb more oil and therefore have more calories when fried than high quality potatoes with higher solids content.

It is the season…

Ethiopia - Wheat

Ethiopia: Cereals

Traditional Ethiopian cooking uses some form of grain in every meal, all year round. This includes wheat, sorghum, millet, and especially tef – which forms the basis for Injera flatbread, the Ethiopian staple food. Many dishes are sweetened with honey or flavored with berbere, a spicy paste made of chili peppers, dried garlic, onions, salt and many herbs. This mixture also preserves the food, which is important, as refrigeration is not available everywhere.

Ethiopia has suffered from several devastating famines in the past, and despite recent achievements in economic development, food security remains a challenge. Most of the country’s annual cereal production comes from smallholder farmers in the highlands. Although the soil is fertile and cereal crops grow well in the temperate climate, farming practices are very basic, and growers have limited or no access to fertilizers, crop protection, or new seed-based technologies.

Syngenta is working in partnership with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) to develop and advance technology in cereals. In addition, the Syngenta Foundation is supporting efforts to raise the yields for tef. This crop traditionally has long, weak stalks and is easily damaged by wind and rain. A research team at the University of Berne, Switzerland has now successfully developed shorter lines, which are currently being evaluated in the field and crossed with local high-yielding varieties.

It is the season…

China - Tofu

China: Tofu (豆腐)

Chinese New Year falls on a different date each year between January and February, and is set according to the cycles of the moon and the sun. It’s a time for families to reunite, feast together, and wish each other good fortune. Preparations often begin weeks before, with homes being swept from top-to-bottom to get rid of any bad luck that could carry over to the New Year. As the feast comes closer, the focus shifts onto traditional foods and their symbolic meanings: bamboo shoots for wealth, noodles for a long life, and tofu (soybean curd) for happiness. The tofu is served in its dry form because fresh tofu is white, which symbolizes death and misfortune in the Chinese culture.

Tofu originated in China and is still an important source of protein there today. On its own, it has little flavor. But this makes it very versatile: it can be seasoned or marinated to suit savory or sweet dishes. Similar to the way cheese is made from milk, tofu is made by coagulating the milk from soybeans and pressing the curds into blocks. Soybeans can produce at least twice as much protein per hectare as any other major vegetable or grain crop. In addition to tofu, they form the basis for fermented foods like soy sauce and bean paste, as well as for oil and animal feed.

With the economy in China on the rise and dietary patterns shifting, demand for soybeans has been increasing. The country is the world’s biggest importer, with most of the shipments coming from the US and Latin America. To help local growers to increase the quality and productivity of their soybean crop, Syngenta is offering a broad range of both seed and crop protection products. At our state-of-the-art research and technology center in Beijing, we evaluate biotech traits for key crops like soybean and corn in the areas of yield improvement, drought resistance, and disease control.

It is the season…

Brazil - Sugarcane

Brazil: Sugar cane (cana de açúcar)

When the Portuguese arrived in Brazil in 1500, they brought a “sweet tooth” with them. Sugar, citrus fruits, and sweets are still very popular today, especially during the holiday season. Sweet treats like ambrosia and Brazilian nut pie feature on the Christmas dinner table. During the famous Carnival parades, revelers throw vast quantities of sweets to the watching crowds. And throughout the year, Brazilians enjoy fresh sugar cane juice with a touch of lemon and ice, as well as Cachaça, a liquor made from sugar cane.

Cultivated in tropical or temperate climates, sugar cane is one of the most efficient photo synthesizers of all crops. Brazil is the leading global producer, with 11 million hectares accounting for over 50% of global sugar cane production. Local demand for sugar and also for ethanol is growing: since 1976, cars in Brazil have been powered by a blend of gasoline and ethanol derived from sugar cane. The resulting supply-demand gap highlights the biggest challenge for mills and growers in Brazil. They need to rapidly and sustainably improve productivity, increasing yield and sugar content on existing acreage.

Helping them to do just that is PLENETM, an integrated production system for sugar cane developed by Syngenta in collaboration with growers and sugar mills. Disease-free sugar cane grown in our nurseries can be used to produce small sections of cane coated with seed care to control pests and enhance yield. See in this video how the cane is then planted using relatively small, customized machinery, allowing for significant efficiency gains in the planting process. Traditionally, planting one hectare takes 18 tons of cane and 100 workers. Using a machine developed in partnership with John Deere, PLENE® needs just 1.5 tons of cane and five people. Overall, PLENE® reduces planting costs by 15 percent and enables growers to raise yield and quality by renovating the plantation more frequently. .

It is the season…

Switzerland - Wine

Switzerland: Wine (Wein, vin, vino)

Switzerland’s unique geographic location and cultural diversity makes it impossible to settle for a single traditional holiday menu. Each region has its own specialties and traditions, often influenced by neighboring countries. In German-speaking Switzerland, a stuffed goose might be served; in the Suisse-Romande, oysters or foie gras show the proximity to France; and in Ticino, homemade ravioli or tortellini as a starter are a reference to Italian cuisine. But among all this variety there is a common denominator: good wine. White, red or mulled, it tops off the holiday feast across Switzerland.

Vineyards have been cultivated in Switzerland since at least the Roman era. Swiss archeologists even found grape seed that can be dated to the Iron Age. Today, Swiss wine is produced on nearly 15,000 hectares of vineyards, mainly in the west and south of the country. The two most common grape varieties are the red Pinot Noir and the white Chasselas. Many of the grapes grown in Switzerland are real insider’s tips and largely unknown abroad: under two percent of the country’s wine is exported.

First-class wines require outstanding grapes. But the quality of the grapes is repeatedly at risk during ripening through exposure to bad weather, pests and disease. While wine growers can’t do anything about the weather, Syngenta offers them a range of tools that enable them to control many other factors. For example, PERGADO® is a highly effective fungicide that controls mildew. This disease damages the quality of the crop by causing the leaves to fall prematurely, and the grapes to mature unevenly and even rot. The active ingredient in PERGADO, mandipropamide, is highly resistant to rain and is immediately absorbed by the leaves of the vine. It inhibits spore growth and stops the fungus developing even after infection has occurred.

It is the season…

France - Apples

France: Apple (pomme)

In France, apples are everywhere at Christmas. They adorn Christmas trees; they are placed in childrens’ shoes as a surprise from Santa Claus; they are used to make one of the traditional 13 desserts served in the Provence region; they make foie gras or game dishes taste even better; and they are a holiday favorite in their liquid form, as cider or apple brandy (calvados).

The area covered by apple orchards in France has decreased in recent years, partly for economic reasons. But almost every region in the country still grows apples, and France remains one of Europe’s leading producers and exporters. Regional variations in climate and soil conditions play a role in determining the character of the fruit – for example, the free-draining sandy soil and mild climate in Normandy in the north of France provide ideal growing conditions for cider apples.

Due to adverse weather conditions, apple production in France was 23% lower in 2012 compared with the five year average. The Limousin region for example lost almost 90% of its production to frost damage. In addition to weather uncertainties that vary from season to season, fungal diseases are a huge – and recurring – challenge for growers. While they rarely kill the trees, they reduce their vitality and limit the crop of fruit. Syngenta in 2012 received European Union (EU) approval for isopyrazam, the first active ingredient from its strong pipeline of next generation fungicides. The approval represents a major step forward in the control of a wide spectrum of damaging fungal diseases. We intend to register a range of products containing isopyrazam in major EU markets for use on pome fruits as well as several other crops.