Kaveri Seeds sets up its biggest, technologically advanced Biotechnology lab in Telangana, strengthens its focus on R & D

The centre will use gene marking technology to ascertain if genes responsible for a selected trait or present or not. This will aid in cutting down the seed production lifecycle from about the current 7-10 years to three years.

The initiative is part of the company focus on enhancing its research and development and innovation capabilities for improving agricultural productivity.

The laboratory was inaugurated by State Finance Minister T Harish Rao and Agriculture Minister Singireddy Niranjan Reddy.

GV Bhaskar Rao, Chairman and Managing Director of Kaveri said, “We are amongst the top companies with scientific expertise to use biotechnological tools along with advanced plant breeding methods. We believe that the use of smart breeding will pave the way for innovations for high yielding, pest and disease resistant and climate–smart seeds. These will play a role in improving crop yields.”

Kaveri has a seed production programme involving 1,00,000 growers on 65,000 acre over 12 agro-climatic zones catering to diversified needs of farmers, he said adding that
it has in March 2019 set up Asia’s largest and the first of its kind cob drying unit.

Setup in 1976 by Rao, Kaveri is among India’s leading agriculture companies specialising in hybrid seeds. It has interests in cotton, maize, millets, vegetables and rice seeds. It now has a large hybrid seed pipeline across categories, he said.

C Mithun Chand, Executive Director, said the facility where the new laboratory has come up has so far seen an investment of more than Rs 300 crore in the last ten years.

The company currently derives about 52 per cent of its revenues from the cotton segment, he said. As of March 2019, it had total revenues of about Rs 812 crore. It has given a 20 per cent growth guidance for the next five years.

It is has drawn out plans to increase the revenue contribution form the non-cotton seed segment to about 60 per cent over the next three to five years. It now held about 18 per cent market share in the cotton seed segment and will work to up to about 25 per cent gradually. “There is a lot of scope to increase the acreage in the non-cotton segment. On the other hand, cotton acreage will not increase much as it has already reached to new highs,” he said.

The Indian seed industry is pegged at about Rs 20,000 crore and vegetable seeds account for about 20 per cent of it. About five crore cotton seed packets get sold in the country. However, instances of use of herbicide tolerant (HT) technology, which is not permitted by the central regulator Genetic Engineering Approval Committee, are on the rise in cottonseeds and as such there could be about 50 lakh such packets. Various Governments have been keeping a tight vigil on these, he said.

Seed maker Kaveri Seed Company Limited on Monday launched its biotechnology laboratory -Centre for Applied Genomics and Seed Technology at Pamulaparthy village of Siddipet district. The company has invested about Rs 20 crore for the new facility that will focus on developing hybrids particularly in rice, maize, cotton and vegetables.

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