Jobs boost and €1m investment for Kilkenny niche crop company

Beotanic has become a European leader in the development of niche food crops such as Sweet Potato, Yacon and Wasabi

Kilkenny People

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STONEYFORD EXPANSION

Pictured at the investment announcement were CEO and founder, Pat FitzGerald and European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan. Picture Dylan Vaughan

A Kilkenny company has today announced it is to make a €1 million investment in a new Research and Development Centre in Stoneyford, which will lead to the creation of ten jobs - and potential for more down the line.

Beotanics, an Irish firm, with a growing international reputation for innovation in niche food crop production across the world, is making the investment at its Stoneyford headquarters. The growing ag-tech company has become a European leader in the development of niche food crops such as Sweet Potato, Yacon and Wasabi.

The new R&D centre will include a plant science laboratory, plant quarantine and R&D greenhouse. The investment will allow CEO and founder Pat Fitzgerald and his team scale up their ground-breaking work on a further series of crops by applying traditional breeding practices and by leveraging international breeder collaborations which has been a key part of their success to date.

The move is expected to lead to over 10 further jobs within the firm at its Stoneyford operation, with further downstream part time contracted staff and other spin off rural employment to be created in the coming years.

European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, visited Beotanics today, (Wednesday, April 24), to meet with owners, Pat and Nóirín FitzGerald, and their 43-strong Irish team and announce the plans. The expansion and growth to date is supported by Enterprise Ireland, Kilkenny LEADER Partnership and Kilkenny Local Enterprise Office (LEO).

“Beotanics is now a key Irish player on the international stage in discovering new ways to feed the planet, improve human health, balance resources, enhance biodiversity and reduce the environmental impact of crop production,” said Commissioner Hogan.

“It is a true example of a firm which is acting local and thinking global and by doing so providing locally innovative, viable and sustainable Rural Development alternatives. It is growing the Irish rural economy on the strength of Irish environmental factors.”

The Beotanics team already includes PhD, Masters and Plant Science experts, research scientists and agronomists spread across Kilkenny and Wexford. Beotanics also has a 50 per cent joint venture sweet potato farm operation, NativaLand, which is based in Portugal. It employs agronomists and support staff across a 25 hectare, intensive sweet potato plant production operation.

Beotanics works with a significant grower network and is further reaching out to the food and beverage industry, ingredients companies, integrated food companies and the life science industry with the new investment. 97% of all of its sales are export. The family group has developed a solid base from which to further grow an ambitious, rural-based company as an international niche player in the plant based food sector.

“We want to be the go-to experts for our chosen crops and targeted evolving food ingredients and new variety development with added nutrition and bio actives. The future of food is readjusting to become more plant-based," said Mr Fitzgerald.

"We've specialised in plant production development for over 25 years and this is a necessary natural progression for the business.

Beotanics works with organisations in Ireland and abroad, among these, Teagasc and Enterprise Ireland, UCC, UCD, TCD and Shannon ABC at Limerick IT, as well as in USA Louisiana State University. For more, log on to www.beotanics.com.