SOURCE: Stevia First Corporation

Stevia First Corporation

May 02, 2012 07:00 ET

Stevia First Corp. Announces Field Trials Designed for Growth of California Stevia Planting

Mr. Kenneth Morris a Stevia Farming Veteran Hired as Director of Farming Operations

SACRAMENTO, CA--(Marketwire - May 2, 2012) - Stevia First Corp. (OTCBB: 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 announce its field trials that are designed to increase the growth of stevia planting in California.

Long-term, sustainable growth of the California stevia industry will require thousands of acres of stevia planting, so the Company is taking steps today to enable a dramatic increase of the total acreage of stevia being planted in California. This work is being performed internally, with the view to have acreage that is corporate-grown and additional land that is contracted with local growers. Combined with access to a large tract of land that was recently leased, it provides Stevia First an opportunity to lead and dominate the growth of stevia in the U.S.A.

Field trials are being conducted in order to prepare the crop for large-scale commercial stevia planting in California while maximizing its economic potential. Soils, topographies, and plant varieties used in differing environments are among the conditions that will be subjected to field trials and optimized. Results will be guided by key variables such as leaf yield, steviol glycoside profiling, and plant hardiness, which are critical to understanding the marketability of stevia leaf and ensuring that the crop is suitable for modern methods of mechanized harvesting.

These activities will be conducted and overseen by Stevia First's Director of Farming Operations, Kenneth "Chip" Morris. Mr. Morris is a pioneer within the California stevia industry, having first grown and overseen commercial stevia planting more than 15 years ago, and who has worked for 30 years in various capacities with Mohr-Fry Ranches, the first commercial grower of stevia in the United States. Mr. Morris currently also serves as a Research Associate at UC Davis, a premier agricultural university that is less than 50 miles from Stevia First's headquarters. His past success with stevia may be partially attributed to his practical experience as a grower of approximately 800 acres of tomatoes, a crop that shares many of the same attributes and field requirements as stevia. Before this, Mr. Morris also worked for Spreckels Sugar Company, where he had contracting responsibilities for a grower network in California that covered approximately 12,000 acres.

Company CEO Robert Brooke comments, "Building a critical mass of stevia acreage and leaf output is an important step for the long-term viability of the California stevia industry. Not only will our field trials lead to proprietary expertise for Stevia First, but they will also help us make key decisions going-forward, such as determining the degree to which a dramatic increase in stevia planting should be pursued internally versus leveraging and supporting an external grower network."

Further details of the Company's business, finances, appointments and agreements can be found as part of the Company's continuous public disclosure as a reporting issuer under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission's ("SEC") EDGAR database. For more information visit: www.steviafirst.com.

About Stevia First Corp. (OTCBB: STVF)
Stevia First Corp. is seeking to establish a vertically-integrated stevia enterprise in the U.S. with expertise in stevia seed and tissue propagation, plant breeding, and cultivation. 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.

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