The Indian seed industry: Its history, current status and future

Gadwal, V.R. (2003) The Indian seed industry: Its history, current status and future. Current Sciencee, 84 (3). pp. 399-406.

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SEED is the most important input component for productive agriculture. In the significant advances that India made in agriculture in the last four decades, the role of the seed sector has been substantial. The expansion of seed industry has occurred in parallel with growth in agricultural productivity. Given the fact that sustained growth to cope with increasing demand would depend more and more on the pace of development and adoption of innovative technologies, the seed would continue to be a vital component for decades to come. The organized seed industry of the country is just forty years old. Yet, its growth has been phenomenal. India is one of the few countries where the seed sector is already reasonably advanced1. The private seed industry is no more confined to just production and marketing of seed. It has as well acquired technological strength to cater to the varietal needs of tomorrow. The Indian seed industry is currently valued around Rs 2500 crores ($ 500 million) and is proposed2 to be around 3750 crores ($ 750 million) by 2002. There are about 150 organized seed companies in India today. Several companies have Government of India (DSIR) recognized research and development departments and have produced and released a large number of varieties and hybrids in several crops. The contribution of private research in terms of value is steadily increasing. The share of research hybrids in total turnover of crops like pearl millet, sorghum-sudan grass, sunflower, maize, sorghum and cotton was about 70% in 1997–98 compared to 46% in 1990–91. Private R&D’s real investment in research has quadrupled between 1986 and 1998. Subsidiaries and joint ventures with multinational companies account for 30% of all private seed industry research3. A study made over nine private seed companies indicates that the amount spent on R&D ranged from 0.78% (0.49 crores) to 15.08% (22.62 crores) (Companies Annual Reports 1998–99). Some of the companies initiated the work on development of transgenic crops. In March 2002 the first transgenic hybrid cotton seed was allowed for commercial cultivation in the farmer’s field. This article provides a historical perspective to the development of seed industry in India, its current statusand future. Besides, some suggestions are also provided for improvement and modification in the regulatory procedures, particularly in case of transgenic crops.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Seed, Agricultural Productivity,Industry,Technologies, Development,
Author Affiliation: Agri-Consultant, 4, Bhupali Apts, Ram Maruti Road, Thane 400 602, India
Subjects: Crop Improvement > Seed Technology
Divisions: General
Depositing User: Mr T L Gautham
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2016 10:42
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2017 09:35

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