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About Starke Ayres

Starke Ayres’s is a specialist in the vegetable, flower and lawn seeds industry, with over 130 years of experience.

Headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, it is the leading supplier in Africa and an international supplier of premium varieties of vegetable, lawn and flower seed varieties to the professional grower.

It focuses strongly on after-sales service, assisting farmers to successfully grow products that can be taken to market. The company uses a network of in-house sales representatives and external agents all over the world. This distribution network is a key to its international success. Starke Ayres ensures that the product reaches the grower in the best possible condition for crop success.

Its secondary business is retail, supplying subsistence farmers and home gardeners with seeds, chemical products and soluble fertilisers.

Starke Ayres has its own vegetable seed breeding programmes, supported by ongoing research and development. High quality control is its key differentiator. Its rigorous quality assurance programme ensures that the vegetable seed varieties it breeds, produces and processes are of the highest purity and germination capability.

The company has high-end research facilities, with best-practice biotechnology and pathology services and infrastructure. It specialises in breeding its own varieties and sources the best available stock from its suppliers internationally.

The company focuses on broadening its genetic base and product range to provide the new genetics that the market requires.

It also operates in a number of locations around the world, selecting the best possible locations (in terms of climate and growing conditions) to ensure the highest levels of quality and seed production.

Company History

Chas Ayres opened his nursery in Cape Town in 1877. Today “The Garden Centre on Liesbeck Parkway” in Rosebank remains one of Cape Town’s leading garden centres.

In 1896 Charles Starke founded a grain and produce business and in 1920 the companies amalgamated to form Starke Ayres (Pty) Ltd.

In 1986 Starke Ayres started its first green beans breeding programme. Since then our R&D department has expanded to include pumpkin, squash, sweet corn, tomatoes and peppers.

In 1998 the first international branch was opened in Namibia. Subsequent growth abroad has been substantial, with sales in 55 countries on four continents.

Today the company is the largest independent vegetable seed company in South Africa, supplying both the commercial and consumer markets. It employs over 250 staff and is committed to growth, innovation and superior customer service.


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