SACRAMENTO, CA--(Marketwire - Feb 25, 2013) - Stevia First Corp. (OTCQB: STVF) ("Stevia First" or the "Company"), an early-stage agribusiness based in California's Central Valley growing region and focused on the industrial scale production of stevia, the all-natural zero-calorie sweetener that is rapidly transforming the food and beverage industry, is pleased to provide an interim report detailing key aspects of its previously announced and currently ongoing field trials.
The preliminary analysis from field trials shows a very positive 100% plant survival rate as of January 1, 2013. Our data show an approximate 20% increase in growth due to mulch vs. conventional bedding. However, the significance to growers partnering with Stevia First Corp. will be fully realized in the spring when total winter survival is assessed and late summer when annual yield (growth) is assessed, Plastic mulches are used effectively in a variety of agricultural activities. In California, the majority of strawberry and staked tomato production uses polyethylene mulch. Peppers, eggplant and melons also use mulches in certain situations, especially when earliness is desired. For more information on mulches: http://anrcatalog.ucdavis.edu/pdf/8129.pdf.
The field trials are being conducted in the region surrounding the Company's operations in Yuba City, California. Longer term field studies in partnership with growers are scheduled for 2013 and detailed results will be generated describing the fall 2013 harvest. The data will provide definitive information about novel stevia cultivation practices, with practical relevance for stevia growers that can be extrapolated to other regions of the Central Valley and elsewhere across the country.
Overall, the report demonstrates regional suitability for growing stevia as a perennial crop as opposed to an annual crop that would require replanting yearly. This data offers important economic implications as much of the domestic stevia production is currently grown in greenhouses and is subsequently transplanted at significant cost. Local growers would benefit greatly by the application of practices offering crop rotation occurrences limited to every 3 or 5 years and early research indicates that under certain conditions productive lifecycles could extend to even longer periods.
Company CEO Robert Brooke states, "Given the excitement around fermentation-based stevia production, our farming research is quite significant as a complement to those efforts. Fermentation, compared to traditional industry practices, may potentially use all the steviol glycosides found within the leaf, rather than just the Reb A, so we can potentially increase extract production efficiency. This is big news for local growers as well, and we remain committed to introducing stevia and further developing domestic cultivation, harvest, and extraction methods."
About Stevia First Corp. (OTCQB: STVF)
Stevia First Corp. is seeking to establish a vertically-integrated enterprise in the U.S. that uses technological expertise in fermentation-based stevia production and improves upon traditional stevia farming and processing methods. Stevia First's U.S. operations are located in the heart of California's Central Valley, one of the world's most productive agricultural regions. For more information visit: www.steviafirst.com.
About the Stevia Industry
The market for all-natural, zero-calorie stevia sweeteners is expanding rapidly. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates stevia intake could eventually replace 20-30% of all dietary sweeteners. The total global sweetener market was estimated at $58.3 billion in 2010. For more information visit: www.steviafirst.com.
Notice Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This news release contains "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined in Section 27(a) of the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended and Section 21(e) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Statements in this press release which are not purely historical are forward-looking statements and include any statements regarding beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions regarding the future. Such forward-looking statements include, among other things, projections of worldwide sales of stevia products, growth of stevia production and global markets. Actual results could differ from those projected in any forward-looking statements due to numerous factors. Such factors include, among others, the inherent uncertainties associated with new projects and development stage companies. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this news release, and we assume no obligation to update the forward-looking statements, or to update the reasons why actual results could differ from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Although we believe that any beliefs, plans, expectations and intentions contained in this press release are reasonable, there can be no assurance that any such beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions will prove to be accurate. Investors should consult all of the information set forth herein and should also refer to the risk factors disclosure outlined in our annual report on Form 10-K for the most recent fiscal year, our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and other periodic reports filed from time-to-time with the Securities and Exchange Commission.