TS seed startup to commercialise products from Israeli firm

Published - February 16, 2021 12:28 am IST - HYDERABAD

Foragen Seeds, a forage seed startup based in Hyderabad, plans to commercialise products, in the next few years, from Israeli genomics AI firm NRGene’s crop breeding programme of maize, rice and chili-pepper in India.

After evaluation of the germplasm licensed by NRGene and the creation of hybrids in the coming seasons, Foragen Seeds will launch new commercial products, co-founder and CEO Prabhakar Babu Gunturu said on Monday. He said this announcing that NRGene has signed an agreement to transfer its India-based eight-year-old crop breeding programme of maize, rice and chili-pepper to Foragen Seeds.

The agreement with NRGene will enable Foragen Seeds to enhance its domain expertise, consolidate the forage business and expand footprint rapidly. Foragen intends to foray into the over ₹2,000 crore potential field crops business. “The germplasms and breeding materials will significantly help in developing a robust commercial product pipeline suited to various climate zones in India and other tropical and sub-tropical countries,” a release said.

“We look forward to see our elite germplasm commercialised and cultivated across India, providing Indian farmers with extra yield and quality,” NRGene CEO Gil Ronen told a virtual press meet.

Foragen Seeds, which has its corporate office here, is a genetics-based forage seed start-up and currently focused on offering dairy farms value-added products. Majority of its forage products are indigenously developed at its research and development stations in Hyderabad and Bellary. Mr.Gunturu said it aims to be a top notch forage seed company in next 3-5 years and the agreement would augment its position in the field crops business.

Fodder based corn hybrids is what it plans to launch, in backdrop of the agreement, next year. Grain based hybrids are expected to take three years to be launched,” he said, adding 10-12 products are likely to be commercialised over next five years. On plans to set up new facilities, he said Foragen has approached Telangana government for land, of about 2.5 acres, to set up a seed processing plant. It is among the largest fodder seed producer in the country with revenues of around ₹83 crore.

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