The main goal of the public sector today is meeting the national seeds requirement for high volume and low value of the self-pollinated crops such as rice or wheat. From a producer of varieties public sector, the Indian seed industry has evolved into an industry with a large contribution of private firms with increasing emphasis on research and development. The production of hybrid seeds is the exclusive right of the private sector. Nearly 70% of all improved cultivars bred and marketed by private companies until 1993 were hybrids (India is addressing 32% of the genetically modified and hybrid seed demands of the entire globe). Apart from hybrids, the private sector is also largely involved in the commercialization of high value crops such as vegetable seeds.
In the recent years, partly as a consequence of the reduction of barriers on the entry of foreign firms and large Indian conglomerates into the seed industry (dating from 1986), many joint ventures between foreign and Indian firms have entered the seed market. Private sector research is also fast expanding, with investments in research (almost 3 times more between 1986 and 1995).
However, the Indian market is still novice in this sector with an estimated market size of about $2 bln. and exports amounting to about $360 mln., annually (globally, the seed industry is currently worth $37 bln. with conventional seed share at $19 bln. and genetically modified seed at $18 bln.). As per the industry projections, the export demand is expected to double in the next five years to over $600 mln., where the states like Telangana could take full advantage of the opportunity.
The state of Telangana has always been front-runner in hybrid seed multiplication for certain crops. According to the reports, about 55% of seed multiplied in the country is performed in several districts of the state due to its geographical and climatological advantage over the other regions. Moreover, the Telangana state is blessed with diverse climatic conditions such as a balanced composition of cool and dry weather around the year, giving an opportunity to produce and store quality seeds. A more promising opportunity now would be its Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, who is a farmer himself and a champion of sustainable farming. He is advocating seed farming as a God-send solution to effectively meet the short term financial needs of the debt-trapped farmers.
Nowadays the industry looks for an encouraging seed policy, says the industry official in the recently held national seed congress at Hyderabad. In fact, the state is already producing almost over 50% of the seed produced in the country (with about 500 companies of various sizes, 24 of these with links to multinationals), as most of the seed companies have their development centers, pilot nurseries and projects in the state and are generating hybrid and genetically modified seeds to cater to the domestic and export markets.