Mahyco and Arcadia Biosciences achieve product development milestone for water use efficient rice
Technology will improve yield under both periodic and severe water stress
February 11, 2015
Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Co. Ltd. (Mahyco), a major seed company in Southeast Asia and Arcadia Biosciences, Inc., an agricultural technology company focused on developing technologies and products that benefit the environment and human health, today announced the achievement of a key milestone in the development of Water Use Efficient (WUE) rice. Arcadia received a significant but undisclosed payment for this milestone from Mahyco.
Arcadia's WUE technology seeks to improve crop yields under episodic water-stress conditions typical to global agriculture, as well as under severe drought conditions. WUE rice developed by Mahyco is expected to be among early examples of crops bred to withstand the varying environmental effects of climate change while expanding the range of usable acreage for crop production.
Mahyco demonstrated that Arcadia’s WUE technology significantly increased plant growth under normal and water-stress conditions in multiple rice lines developed by Mahyco. The rice lines incorporating Arcadia’s WUE technology showed double-digit increase in key plant performance and yield measures.
Rice is the world’s most valuable crop, grown on 162 million hectares globally with a harvest value of $334.7 billion in 2012 (FAO 2012 statistics; FAOSTAT). This crop plays a critical role in food security for more than half of the world’s population. Based on current growth rates, India is expected to overtake China as the world's most populous nation by the year 2030. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that 221 million people in India, or about one-fifth of the population, are undernourished.
Commenting on this development, Dr. Usha Zehr, Chief Technology Officer at Mahyco said that, “With this milestone, we are closer to bringing the benefits of this technology to the farmers who are challenged with reduced water availability on their farms and improving the overall productivity of the crop."
"At a time when farmers in India face significant pressure to increase productivity, factors such as urban growth, drought and rainfall variations are limiting water resources available for agriculture, particularly for water intensive crops such as rice,” said Eric Rey, President and CEO of Arcadia. “Through our collaboration with Mahyco on WUE and other agronomic technologies, we’re working to increase yields and improve efficiency in the use of key inputs, such as fresh water.” added Rey.
This acquisition will help Mahyco reach Cotton Farmers with small landholdings in Africa
November 24, 2014
Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company Limited (Mahyco), one of the leading Agri-biotech company in the country, has acquired a controlling interest of 60 percent in Zimbabwe-based, Quton Seed Company (Pvt) Limited (Quton). Mahyco acquired these shares from Seed Co Limited, Africa’s largest Seed Company, based in Harare and listed on the Zimbabwe Stock exchange. Quton is the largest cotton seed company in Africa and is currently present in Zimbabwe, Malawi and Tanzania. The company focuses on research, development, production, and distribution of cotton seed in these countries. The Government of Zimbabwe is very supportive of this investment and is excited that Mahyco will be working with Cotton farmers in the Country and will focus on providing superior quality of seeds to improve their productivity and livelihoods.
Mahyco is a research focused company investing in enhancing yields by conventional and novel technological processes. This acquisition gives Mahyco a strong platform to deliver improved genetics and other novel technologies to the African Cotton farmers for yield and income enhancement. It will also strengthen Mahyco’s position in the cotton market and bring opportunities to extend its technological expertise and business operations in other African countries.
Mr. Raju Barwale, Managing Director, Mahyco said, “This acquisition enables us to place ourselves strongly in the African region and is another milestone in the 50th year of our service to farmers”. He also added, “Africa has a significant potential for agriculture productivity enhancement and access to modern seed technology will facilitate the same along with benefits to the local farming communities. Mahyco’s vision has focused on bringing the best of science for the benefit of the farmers, particularly the small and marginal farmers.”
Mr. Morgan Nzwere, Group CEO, Seed Co Ltd said, “We are very pleased to be bringing on board a highly experienced and well-resourced technical partner and investor, who will help us take the business forward in terms of new technologies, particularly the introduction of hybrid cotton seed into Africa.”
According to the Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, Honourable Senator Dr J Made, “The Government of Zimbabwe welcomes Mahyco to Zimbabwe and is keen to see its contribution to the growth of the cotton sector.”
Demonstration of Increased Productivity Offers Promise for Improved Economic Returns for Farmers and Food Security in Southeast Asia
July 30, 2013
Mahyco Seeds, one of the largest seed companies in Southeast Asia, and Arcadia Biosciences, Inc., an agricultural technology company focused on developing technologies and products that benefit the environment and human health, today announced the achievement of a key milestone in the development of Nitrogen Use Efficient (NUE) rice. As outlined in the 2008 agreement between the companies, Arcadia received a significant but undisclosed milestone payment.
In achieving this key milestone, Mahyco clearly demonstrated that NUE technology significantly increased plant growth and yield in multiple rice lines developed by the Company. Rice lines incorporating NUE technology showed double-digit increases in key plant performance and yield measures.
Rice is the world’s second-largest crop, grown on 160 million hectares annually. It plays a critical role in food security for more than half of the world’s population. India, with a population of more than 1.2 billion, is the second most populous country in the world, and has the world’s largest rice growing area, with more than 44 million hectares grown annually.
Based on the current growth rate, India is expected to overtake China in 2030 as the world's most populated country. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that 221 million people in India, or about one-fifth of the population, are undernourished. As such, there is significant pressure on Indian farmers to increase agricultural productivity. Beyond NUE rice, Arcadia and Mahyco are also working on a number of other technologies and crops to increase farm productivity and reduce overall environmental impact in the region.
“Mahyco’s achievement of this key milestone is further validation of the benefits that can be realized from NUE technology, and is an important step toward improving food security and the environmental footprint of agriculture in Southeast Asia,” said Eric Rey, president and CEO of Arcadia. “Mahyco has been a fantastic partner and are committed to getting improved products into the hands of farmers who can most benefit.”
On this important milestone, Raju Barwale, Managing Director, Mahyco said, “We are delighted to achieve this key milestone in NUE rice. We hope that our collaboration with Arcadia on NUE rice will help farmers achieve better yields and improve their livelihoods. Mahyco is committed to providing cutting-edge modern technologies to the farming community and this milestone marks a significant step in this direction.”
Agriculture is also the world’s second-largest industrial source of greenhouse gas emissions, and nitrogen fertilizer, applied to increase crop yields, is one of the largest contributing factors. With conventional practices, less than 50 percent of nitrogen fertilizer applied to fields is utilized by crop plants. Much of the remainder enters surface or groundwater, or is volatilized as nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide. In some Asian countries, rice is among the most nitrogen-intensive crops, with up to 200 kilograms per hectare applied. Globally, rice production accounts for approximately 16 million metric tons of nitrogen fertilizer application, accounting for nearly 16 percent of total world use. Arcadia’s NUE technology can significantly reduce the need for nitrogen fertilizers and simultaneously improve food security, enhance farm economics, and minimize greenhouse gas emissions from rice farming.
March 21, 2013
Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company Limited (Mahyco), one of the leading agri-biotech companies in the country was felicitated with an Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Agriculture Sector by the Association of Biotechnology Led Enterprises (ABLE), the industry body for the biotech sector. Mahyco received this prestigious award under the ‘Bio-Agri’ category, in the presence of key national and international dignitaries on the occasion of ABLE’s tenth anniversary celebration in New Delhi on March 11, 2013.
The award was given to Mahyco based on the last ten years’ performance of the company in the Agri Biotech sector, which was evaluated and judged by members of an independent jury on various parameters.
Since its inception, Mahyco has made significant contributions towards developing improved seeds. It’s strong commitment towards technology development and strict adherence to quality have helped the organization to carve a niche in the Agri-biotech sector. This has also earned the company a reputation as a harbinger in using cutting edge technology in India to meet the diverse needs of farmers to improve their productivity and profitability, and simultaneously be respected globally for its high quality hybrid/open-pollinated seeds.
On receiving this award Mr. Raju Barwale, Managing Director, Mahyco said that, “We are delighted to receive this prestigious award from ABLE which is in recognition of our path-breaking research to provide the cutting-edge agricultural technology to the farmers and improve their productivity and profitability. This honour will encourage us to continue to invest in research and development to enable the agriculture sector to contribute significantly to our economy.”
Over the past 15 years, Mahyco and its promoters have won several awards and honours including first national award for biotech product commercialization and the World Food Prize by the World Food Prize Foundation, USA.
Key dignitaries present for the award ceremony were Union Agriculture Minister Shri Sharad Pawar, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad, Minister of State for Human Resource Development Mr. Shashi Tharoor, ABLE President Dr. PM Murali, Biocon CMD Ms. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Former ICICI Bank Chairman Mr Narayanan Vaghul and Chief Executive Officer of Burrill & Company, Mr G Steven Burrill.
July 25, 2012
The National Seeds Association of India (NSAI), the apex body of the seed industry in the country, has come out in support of seed producing companies indicating that the total supply of Bt cotton hybrid seeds by the industry has been more than adequate to meet the demand during the current Kharif season. It is possible that some of the hybrid brands may be in greater demand than others, but it would be incorrect to conclude that any such shortage is deliberate on the part of the seed producers. The commitment and endeavour of our members has been pivotal in ensuring adequate quantities of quality seeds to Indian farmers over the years.
Mr. K V Subbarao, President of NSAI says, “Hybrid seeds are produced through contract farmers. The production system is similar to any other agricultural crop production and is hence dependent on several variables such as rain, soil health, diseases and farming practices. These variables often create a gap between potential output and actual output. A seed is a biological product with long production cycle and making a particular brand of hybrid seeds available at a short time owing to a sudden spurt in demand becomes impossible.”
In a situation like this, the industry’s endeavour is to work with government and other stakeholders to educate seed dealers and farmers to optimise the use of Bt cotton seeds for that sowing cycle or kharif season. While the uncertainties associated with seed production is beyond the control of seed companies, there is a need, given the circumstance to formulate efficient seed supply strategies and to ensure adequate communication among stakeholders.