Krishidhan Seeds Ltd. was established in 1990 and is recognized by Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Government of India. The company specialises in need based research and development of seeds. Headquartered in Jalna, Maharashtra, the company was established under the leadership of Dr G R Vyahalkar, the Cotton Man of India. The main product line consists of cotton, soyabean, pulses, jute, sorghum, hybrid rice, hybrid maize, hybrid bajra, wheat and all kinds of vegetables. “Our main motive is to provide need based hybrid or other varieties to the farmers. That’s why the basic philosophy of the company is need based research,” says Mr. Madhav A Dhande, director (operations), KSL Jalna.
Cotton Research and Production
Mr. Dhande maintains that the company a leader in cotton seed production. “Our major competitors are Neezuvidu Seeds Co and the Ankur Seeds Co. In fact, we are late entrant in the cotton segment as compared to our competitors. Since we launched our research products in cotton in 2002, particularly Maruti-9632 in central zone, Pawan -9821 and Basanti-9810 in south and Surya -144 in the north, they have been very well accepted and at present we are enjoying the market share of 4 to 5% on quantity basis,” he says, adding, “We tied-up with Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (India) Ltd in April, 2002 and are the third Indian company to enter the field of cotton biotechnology.”
The company is also ready with BT cotton. “We are anticipating government permission sometimes in March, 2006. With the introduction of Krishidhan BT cotton we are anticipating a big jump in cotton segment and by 2007 we are anticipating a market share of 15%. We expect very high acceptance for Krishidhan BT cotton. It may remove the anemology with technology because we evolved segment wise hybrid, excellent fiber properties and very good tolerance to drought and the reddening due to sucking pest / physiological disorder,” maintains Mr. Dhande.
Delivery of Seeds
Speaking about the company’s process of sourcing the seeds and their subsequent delivery, Mr. Dhande says, “Our system collects advance demand for seeds from the trade channels. We have our own 540 distributors all over the country. We do the advance booking with a token amount. Considering the booking and the availability we communicate them the allotment. Onwards distributors and or marketing officers communicate to us the consignee wise movement plan and then we make the movement of the seeds to the destination. We do doorstep delivery to the farmers.
We keep close watch on the climatic conditions and based on the vagaries of the nature we do corrective movement of the seeds from the point of non-consumption to the point of consumption. Our marketing officers are having good mobility and communication resource provided by the company. This effective monitoring has helped us in minimizing the carry over inventory.”
For seed production the company has a system of having direct agreement with the farmers for seed production in states like Maharashtra, whereas in South, MP and Gujarat the company operates through seed production organisers. According to Mr. Dhande, the regions where the company’s seeds are sold mainly are Maharashtra, MP, AP, Karnataka, Punjab and Haryana. “We are having major presence in these states and they contribute almost 80% to our business. We recently opened up our operations in Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Chhatisgarh, Rajasthan and UP but we have not yet touched the eastern parts of the country. We are enjoying the status of market leader in Maharashtra and MP,” he says.
Promising seed varieties
According to Mr. Dhande, “Hybrid cotton variety Maruti-9632 is very popular amongst the farmers because of its drought and pest resistance qualities, excellent fibre properties and good yield potential. In fact it is our Ambassador brand that ranks second in sales all over the country. Our Paddy Komal is very popular for its fine quality and maximum yield potential. Krishidhan Wheat Balaram-011 is unique because of its shorter duration of 85 to 90 days and excellent breed quality. Krishidhan Maize Maharaja-999 and Sunflower Welcome -812 is picking up very fast.
[hidepost] Our Hirsutum X Barbadence hybrid cotton Super Fibre-407 is very popular and its seeds are getting sold in premium prices particularly in Ratlam Belt of MP, Mysore and Chamraj Nagar of Karnataka and Western Maharashtra. This cotton is fetching a price of Rs. 4500 to 5000 per quintal against the normal price of Rs.1800 to 2000 per quintal i.e. only because of the staple length of 35 to 36 mm, which is extra long.”
The company has its own R&D facility with 54 senior and junior scientists working in the department. “We have 160 acres of land for R&D purpose. These scientists are doctorates or post graduates in plant breeding and genetics. Three of them are biotechnologist and entomolists. Normally we invest 2 to 3% of our financial turnover in updating our R&D and our total investment in R&D alone is more than Rs.13 crores,” says Mr. Dhande. The company has 15 scientists working on breeding alone. “We have our own gene bank. We also get assistance from ICRISAT Hyderabad and also from NBPGR,” he adds. The company clocked a total sales turnover of Rs.74 crores in the financial year 2004-05. “In financial year 2005-2006 we are expecting a turnover of Rs.95 crores,” avers Mr. Dhande.
State of Indian Seed Industry
Foreseeing great potential for the Indian seed industry, Mr. Dhande says, “At present in financial terms the seed industry in India is around Rs.3500 crores. At present the seed usage by the farmer, which is termed as Seed Replacement Ratio (SRR) is only to the extent of 12 to 15%, which indicates good scope for the growth of the seed industry. Advancement in seed industry such as biotechnology, seed treatment, segment wise product research is going to enhance the seed acceptance further. At present the total cost of cultivation expenditure on seeds is only to the extent of 15 to 20%, which otherwise should be 35 to 40%,” adding, “Since Krishidhan has kept up with the advancement in technology and is in the process of releasing need based products, our growth and dominance is certain.”
Speaking about the government intervention to accelerate the development of the Indian seed industry, Mr. Dhande says, “The seed legislation and government approval procedure for the advance technology needs to be made practical and process needs to be shortened. In seed industry the maintenance breeding and availability of source seed needs to be strengthened and for that the government provision towards seed bank needs to be made available to private seed sector also. Often farmers use low quality seeds because of price constraint. Seed being a basic input in agriculture, government should delete seed component from various taxes such as VAT, Sales Tax, Octroi etc. For development of private R&D, government should get the financial assistance at subsidized rate. Child Labour Law is affecting the seed production thus it needs to be viewed from employment view point.”
He further adds, “Private Indian seed industry is attributing almost 82 to 83 % of total Indian seed business, thus, government should provide assistance to strenghten the industry. The infrastructure available with Agriculture University should be made available to private seed sector on the line of ICRISAT Hyderabad. Seed being a biological and technical product the quality complaint cases needs to be handled by technical forum other than consumer forum.” Mr. Dhande is a M.Sc., gold medallist in agriculture.
He has been the recipient of ICAR junior and senior fellowship. He has 15 years of experience in the pesticide industry mainly with Bayer India Ltd. and three years experience in the fertiliser industry in Deepak Fertilizer. “I have worked for 8 years with Maharashtra State Seed Corporation in the capacity of general manager, marketing and since last four years I am working as director (operations) with Krishidhan Seeds Ltd,” he elaborates.