Abundant takes extreme veggies to market

It has bred tough tomatoes that can sweat out Pakistan’s summer and “cutecumbers” that need little water, now specialist seed supplier Abundant Produce is planting itself on the ASX.

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Abundant Produce specialises in developing seeds that can grow in extreme conditions.

“We are breeding under quite extreme conditions and we put our breeding populations through the stress of hot and cold,” Abundant Produce chief executive Graham Brown told AAP.

The company’s tomatoes can survive 50 degree temperatures thanks to a bit of outback muscle, combining a standard tomato with the Australian bush variety.

Abundant is expected to list next week at an issue price of 20c a share, giving the Sydney-based outfit an estimated market capital around $9 million.

Its hardy cucumber seeds, already selling to Bunnings and US-based seed giant Burpee, will be shortly followed by tomatoes and chillies, pumpkins and other offerings are in development.

Abundant aims to sell seeds to large growers, international seed companies and fresh produce companies and Mr Brown is hoping the new varieties will prove popular at retail level.

“Consumers have a shorter attention span. They’ll want the new taste experience,” he said.

Already describing the new “cutecumber” as perfect for school lunch boxes, Mr Brown said Abundant is targeting a gap in the market for new and interesting breeds of vegetables.

Abundant does not use genetic modification for its seed products, with Mr Brown saying it was a practical and ethical choice to steer clear.

“It also differentiates ourselves from the bigger players… given the choice I’d probably choose to have non-GMO (genetically modified organism),” Mr Brown said.

The company has worked with Sydney University’s Plant Breeding Institute – with which Mr Brown has a longstanding relationship – to create hybrid seeds through techniques such as cross-breeding.

Although testing is done mainly at a facility in western Sydney, Abundant also puts its products to the test in the hot Punjab province of Pakistan.

As part of an aid program the company helped develop tomatoes that can survive the extreme conditions of the region.

The hardier seed gave farmers a more valuable crop, Mr Brown said.