Technology without borders

Leading Canadian Biotechnology Company, Performance Plants Inc. (PPI) and Africa Harvest Biotech Foundation International (AHBFI) agree to use drought tolerance biotechnology developed in Canada to help ensure sustainable food production in Africa.

Calgary, AB (Sept. 24th, 2007) — PPI Chief Operating Officer Peter Matthewman and AHBFI Chief Executive Officer Dr. Florence Wambugu announce the signing today of an agreement enabling the Foundation to use PPI's breakthrough Yield Protection Technology® (YPT®) in a multi-year project to develop and field test drought-tolerant white maize — an important staple food crop in Africa.

The next step will be to put the 'technology in a seed' into the hands of subsistence farmers. YPT® works by genetically enabling food plants to protect themselves against drought at an earlier stage. In standard North American crops such as corn, canola and soybeans, yield has been increased by anywhere from 15-26 percent.

"This is the first time Canadian agricultural biotech intellectual property is being transferred to Africa for non-commercial purposes," says Mr. Matthewman. "We are happy that Dr. Wambugu has chosen to work with YPT and are proud to be a partner in Africa Harvest's continuing efforts to provide African farmers with improved seeds."

Dr. Florence Wambugu, a leading proponent of change in modern African agricultural science, is a Kenyan, American and U.K. trained plant pathologist dedicating her life's work to the belief that biotechnology holds the key to food self-sufficiency for Africa. "The Green Revolution of the 20th century did little for African agriculture," explains Dr. Wambugu. "Biotechnology, by putting African solutions into African seeds, enables us to grow more with what we have at a cost we can afford to pay."

PPI shares Dr. Wambugu's belief in the impact of biotechnology on Africa. "YPT® provides researchers in Africa with multi-million dollar industry leading technology, which has taken many years to develop," Matthewman noted. "Unlike previous drought tolerance enhancements, YPT® does not result in lower seed yield under optimal growing conditions."

The project will be jointly conducted with Africa Harvest and partner organizations to develop and field test YPT® in countries with established bio-safety protocols and some of the harshest agricultural growing conditions on Earth. "I believe our work will significantly improve white corn yields in sub-Saharan Africa and will demonstrate the effectiveness of PPI's Yield Protection Technology®," says Dr. Wambugu. "This is not only good work, it's good business."

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