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[genet-news] BUSINESS & SEEDS: Mahyco (India) to focus on abiotic-stress resistant seeds

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SOURCE: Business Standard, India

AUTHOR: Press Trust of India, India


DATE:   28.03.2009

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Biotech company Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Company Ltd plans to focus on developing abiotic-stress resistant seed varieties over the next five years.

?We are also developing technologies and seed varieties which can improve the nitrogen intake from the soil reducing nitrogen fertilizer requirements.

?Similarly, salt-tolerance technology can reduce the need for fresh water resources for irrigation. We expect high-yielding crops with a lower impact on the environment along with improved nutritional value,? Mahyco General Manager M K Sharma said.

The company, at present, is developing biotic stress resistant seed varieties which promise to reduce the use of insecticides and pesticides besides increasing the yield.

?After the success of Bt Cotton variety, we expect to better the yield of brinjal through our biotechnologically improved variety of brinjal Bt brinjal. We are also planning to go commercial with the Bt varieties of staple crops such as rice and wheat and some vegetables in India,? Mahyco Biotechnology Research Head Bharat R Char said.

Mahyco has 82 per cent market share of the total Bt cotton cultivated in the country. We are selling Bt cotton licences to around 30 seed company in the country through our subsidiary Mahyco Monsanto Biotech Limited in which the US biotech major Monsanto has a 26 per cent share.

?We have also joined hands with state-owned Rajasthan State Seeds Corporation to sell seeds of Bt cotton in the state,? he said.

The latest biotechnologically improved product Bt brinjal is likely to reduce the use of insecticides by 70 per cent for Fruit and Shoot Borer (FSB).

?As a result there will be a reduction of 42 per cent pesticide for overall control of insect pests. The higher yield and better quality would result in higher net income for brinjal farmers to the tune of Rs 16,000-19,000 per acre, which would work out to Rs 2,000 crore to farmers across the country,? Char pointed out.



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