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Joan Mazat, Ball Ingenuity

US (IL): Shortening the supply chain for independent breeders

“It is difficult for independent breeders to reach an audience and the supply chain. Therefore, it is important for us to connect with independent breeders and bring their creations to life,” says Joan Mazat, Head of New Product Development at Ball Ingenuity. In this article, Mazat also shares the development story of one of their much improved varieties, as well as Ball’s new (and partly digital) way of showing their varieties at their open days.

Joan Mazat and Kelsey Minalga at Cultivate'19 in Columbus (OH), USA

Focusing on independent talents
Mazat shares that their work of connecting with new and independent breeders is something they are very passionate about. “It is a huge focus for us to give them the recognition they deserve and bring their creations to life. It is challenging for independent breeders to reach the right audience and supply chain. At Ball Ingenuity, through teamwork with the Ball Seed Supply Chain and North American Sales Force, we can assist them with making the necessary connections for a successful product launch. We are a smaller team that is highly motivated, and because of that we are able to give that personal touch and focus on the breeder’s individual talents and contributions. That way we can give them the platform they deserve.” At this year’s Cultivate, Ball Ingenuity started doing appointments where they invited breeders to have a conversation about their new varieties over coffee. “This is something we will do again next year. Additionally, we want to update our website to make it easier for breeders to submit a plant.”

QR codes at the open days
Like everyone, Ball Ingenuity had to adapt to the circumstances of the past years. “These past years, technology really brought everyone together. Digital communication became an even more crucially important communication tool. Our team created videos including our Cultural Research Grower Jesus Benitez to highlight with firsthand knowledge our new releases order to better showcase our varieties and deliver our message.” Realizing the great benefit, they decided to try to incorporate it at their open house. “We put up QR codes in front of new varieties at the open days at the end of July. While attendees were seeing the varieties in person, they could get more information digitally and bookmark this on their phones to use once they were back home. This recent aspect of having more of our information present digitally, either through QR codes or videos, provides several benefits. First of all, it gives the customer the opportunity to refer back to the online information, pause the video and rewind it if necessary. In addition, we can now better reach the people who would normally not fly out to such events, and they get to see our varieties as well.”

Improving the supply chain of an existing series, opening the door for expansion
The Rex Begonia Jurassic line has been a series under the Ball Ingenuity umbrella for almost ten years but production was challenge with a high level of loss at the liner stage. "It was a struggle to reach a larger audience because of problems in propagation. Personally, I knew it was a great product but we needed to improve the supply chain. So, we did the research and started to put it into tissue culture. This was the perfect solution." With the obstacles in reproduction removed, the Ball Ingenuity Team was then enabled to bring forth three additional series of Rex Begonias distinctly different from the first: Jurassic Dino, Jurassic Jr, additional colors into the original Jurassic line, and Jurassic Megalo. "Now, the four lines of Jurassic Begonias are among our most popular series. This will have a huge impact on the independent breeders who have put so many years of hard work into this line!"

For more information:
Ball Ingenuity

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