Small-Cap Stock Spotlight: Stevia Corp. (OTC: STEV)
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  • Penny Stock on Watch: North Springs Resources Corp. (NSRS)
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    Penny-Cap Stock on Watch: Stevia Corp. (STEV)

    Penny-Cap Stock on Watch: Stevia Corp. (STEV)

    Shares of farm management company Stevia Corp. (OTC: STEV) shot up more than 58% to set a fresh 52-week high of $2.75 Tuesday, extending gains into a fifth day. Over 12.94 million shares traded hands during the session, topping the 30-day average of 1.50 million.

    STEV shares have gained 209.2% in the last five days; 235.7% in the last month; and 22,737.7% year-to-date.

    Based in Indianapolis, IN, Stevia focuses on the economic development of stevia, the fastest growing product in the alternative sweetener sector. To date, the company has acquired two grower supply contracts and three nursery fields in Vietnam.

    Stevia saw its shares boosted last week after announcing that commitments from regional and national levels of governments are paving the way for the rapid development of stevia trial cultivation farms aimed at grower adoption on a commercial scale.

    In a release last Wednesday, the company said the national government of Vietnam is providing financial support for the development of 50 hectares of stevia cultivation, while the Bac Giang provincial government is also supporting a further 20 hectares for the same purpose. The company believes both projects are on-track for completion this year.

    Stevia, which is providing the farm management expertise to ensure a successful outcome, has agreed to supply stevia seedlings and additional products and services utilizing its proprietary systems.  It has rights to off-take any non-stevia crops produced by inter/multi-cropping.

    “Having government support for our efforts to commercialize stevia is a huge benefit providing credibility to the local farmer communities and affirms our decision to begin efforts in Vietnam,” commented  Stevia president George Blankenbaker.  “The government and institutes at all levels have been supportive and understand the potential economic viability of stevia and this has resulted in a strong resolve to spur the commercial development and create a major economic stimulus for the rural communities.”

    The stevia industry sector is seen to be a promising one.  It was estimated that worldwide sales of stevia extract reached 3.5 K tons in 2010 with an overall market value of $285 million, based on data by Zenith International.  By 2014, it is expected that the global market for stevia will reach 11 K tons, which would require the tripling of stevia leaf production at the farm level to keep pace with consumer demand. Within two years of opening in the U.S. market, retail sales for the sector reached almost $1 billion, Nielsen-based retail consumption data showed.

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