2017 came with renewed commitment from our management to our customers and growers around the world by breaking grounds on constructing additional and new facility and offices still located at Ceres, in California, an investment that was needed to house the new equipment we added to our state of the art current operational facility aiming to stream line and increase the efficiency of our seed processing systems.
With the fact that Middle East and North Africa are an important regions to our business next to Central and South America the company welcomed recently Eng. Wagih Metwally a well-known veteran in the seed business as our Middle East and North Africa Regional Sales and Technical Manager based out of Egypt aiming to be closer to our customers and markets in that region. Eng. Wagih is tasked to bridge the commercial and technical aspects of the business between our customers and our team by setting priorities for the target crops and slots aiming to provide our customers with value added varieties that will allow them to expand our market share and provide competitive varieties to their growers.
We did not stop there as we invested in establishing a Regional Technical subsidiary in Egypt located in 6th of October City through which we will coordinate our regional activities with our customers in the Middle East and North Africa and this operation will be managed by Eng. Wagih himself and his team. The purpose of this noncommercial office is to provide technical services and be closer to the various markets and customers we serve and we expect through this investment to fast forward our speed to market product launch program.
Our R&D station in Modesto, CA still holds the priority for our research team to conduct our annual summer trials which we did this year and had the opportunity to welcome customers from 18 countries who stood witness on the major leap forward with our newly released varieties covering major slots like heat set tomatoes, blocky Charleston gray watermelon, both Galia and Ananas melons as well as Squash just to mention a few.
This activity will now be mirrored in Egypt allowing us and our customers to evaluate our material under various growing conditions making our process of advancing new varieties more rigorous yet more effective in product launch and product life cycle.
The company during 2017 season also expanded its global reach by appointing new dealers in Russia, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritius and Ecuador and we are excited about the new opportunities those markets will bring to our company and global business.
It is within our company culture to never forget that we reached were we are because of our valued customers and their effort and commitment in their respective markets and on behalf of myself and my colleagues at Innova and Niagara seeds companies I would like to express my appreciation and gratitude to all our current and future customers.