The heart of Indian Seed Industry lies in its Research & Development!
Seeds are by far the most fundamental and critical resource for sustainable agriculture. Learn about the importance of R&D for seed companies, and how it drives innovation, quality, and competitiveness in the industry. The yield and output depends on the quality of seeds to a large extent. If the seed is of quality it can guarantee a high return per unit area as the genetic potentiality of the crop can be fully exploited. During the time periods of 1977 and 1991, the Indian government restructured the seed industry in the country through the national seed project. National seed project founded the production of high-yielding varieties of seeds through contracts with progressive growers, scientific processing, certification and marketing in India. This is the first turning point in shaping an organized seed industry. This gave farmers access to the best seeds and planting material in the world. Along with this, the New Seed Development Policy was quite significant in the research and development of seeds. There was a heavy emphasis on hybrid seed and high-technology agricultural products. All these policies formed the bases of the Indian seed industry we know today. However, there is an urgent need for the State Seed Corporations to transform themselves in tune with the industry in terms of infrastructure, technologies, approach, and management culture to be able to survive in the competitive market and to enhance their contribution in the national endeavor of increasing food production to attain food & nutritional security. The demand for this development has only increased ever since the covid 19 pandemic.
The seed industry is one of the most R&D intensive industries. The R&D spending varies between companies depending on the company’s strategy and choice of techniques. This is in stark contrast with the crop protection industry, where a majority of the leading companies have a similar percentage of the sale on R&D. Due to erratic climatic conditions and high demand for food from end consumers, the adoption of genetically-modified seeds is higher among farmers. The cost of developing GM seeds is higher, thereby pushing up the price of the seed. The molecular breeding technique is the most promising technology that is used for developing seeds. Gene-tagged markers help in reducing the time consumed in the selection of the desired genes in progenies and parents. Marker-assisted selection, QTL analysis, and genetic transformation are some of the key techniques that have been used as tools for oilseed molecular breeding. To get better and faster results, many genetic breeding techniques have been developed in the past few years.
The cereals & grains segment holds the largest market share as the crop type is consumed on a large scale as a staple food across the globe. The growing demand for healthy food options, coupled with the high intake of breakfast cereals in the diets of consumers, is propelling the growth of the cereals & grains market, which is an important reason for the increased demand for these seeds for cultivation among farmers. A report by the FAO states that global cereal production is set to expand at an extremely fast rate of approximately 12% by 2025, due to increasing production in countries such as the US, Canada, India, and China. GM seeds of corn and sorghum have high value among crop growers in the seeds market. Owing to all these factors, cereals & grains account for large market share and are estimated to grow at a decent rate during the forecast period. The market for crops with other traits is growing significantly in the market. The increasing adoption of crops with multiple traits has allowed for the reduction in usage of herbicides and insecticides and thereby reduced the cost of cultivation. This way, the farmers would be able to attain higher yield and greater resistance to pest and herbicides.
The development for seeds is reaching new heights and it is getting easier for farmers to grow crops with high yield. Let us hope this rate of advancement is steady and strong in the coming years as well.