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Back to the news list Waimea Group purchases Hastings-based Plant Propag
14 September 2020 - Media Release - HB Today

The Waimea Group has secured the purchase of Hastings-based business Plant Propagation Laboratories Ltd (PPL).

Set to be rebranded as Waimea Plant Laboratories Ltd (WPL), the tissue culture laboratory was bought from Peter Bennet this week.

The Nelson-based company comprises of several horticultural companies including Waimea Nurseries, Waimea Variety Management and now joined WPL.

The Eastbourne St West laboratories will be used to cut and use small quantities of plant cells to enable the rapid growth of others by multiplying in petri dishes.

Waimea Group director Bruno Simpson said the opportunity to purchase PPL came at a time when Waimea Nurseries was requiring an increased quantity of tissue culture propagated apple rootstocks and other plants.

"This is to meet the demands generated by the growth in horticulture and the garden industry," he said.

"We identified that tissue culture production is a successful method of bulking up plant material, as well as being easier to produce virus and pathogen free plant material."

All 16 staff at PPL will be retained, while Bennet will also remain as part of the business for 18 months.

The tissue culture laboratory, which was bought from Peter Bennet, is set to be rebranded as Waimea Plant Laboratories Ltd. Photo / Warren Buckland
The tissue culture laboratory, which was bought from Peter Bennet, is set to be rebranded as Waimea Plant Laboratories Ltd. Photo / Warren Buckland

Simpson said the labs will continue to produce the current product range, with a focus on introducing Geneva series rootstocks into tissue culture production to allow the rapid increase in production quantities.

This will aim to support the apple industry's access to new rootstocks, that will assist with improved productivity and pest and disease management.

In addition to a focus on apple rootstocks, WPL will also be extending the product range to include blueberries, strawberries and hops among other products.

Simpson said that while tissue culture has been an important part of cannabis production businesses offshore, the Waimea Group has no plans to move into cannabis production if it is legalised.

The WPL are set to invest in the modernisation of the laboratory facilities, improve and digitise the business systems and build and develop the working team, with the goal to become New Zealand's leading tissue culture laboratory in the coming years.
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