The budding biotech company has an ambitious goal: to make seeds more resistant to drought and disease, and more suitable for various soil types and weather conditions. “Technological innovation is essential to tackle the effects of climate change in agriculture,” says Julie Borlaug, vice president of Inari. “If we want to continue to produce enough food, drought-, heat- and salt-resistant crops are necessary.”
In its Ghent-based research facility, Inari wants to focus on greater efficiency in the water and nitrogen consumption of crops. “Many crops are too dependent on chemical fertilizers, which influences the global food system and the environment,” says Fred van Ex, managing director and head of research at the Flanders-based site. “Agriculture still has a lot of catching up to do in this area.”
The ultimate goal of Inari is to bring “personalized seeds” to the market that can be sold directly to seed companies and farmers. The company rejects partnerships with agri-industry giants. “Our focus is on smaller players with whom we can build natural alliances,” says Borlaug.