Bt Cotton Leader
Rasi emerged as the top Bt cotton seeds seller
Salem-based Rasi Seeds is India's largest Bt cotton seeds company. Rasi Seeds' tryst with Bt cotton started in 2001 when it received the approval for conducting research on transfer of Bt gene for cotton bollworm resistance. It undertook large-scale trials in Kharif 2002 and released its first transgenic RCH 2 Bt cotton hybrid for commercial cultivation in central and south zones in 2004. It is the second company to release transgenic Bt cotton in India after Mahyco. Ever since, Rasi has been growing in strength.
For 2004-05 cropping season, Rasi Seeds's Bt cotton business stood at Rs 86.87 crore. And in 2005-06, it has more than tripled its business. Its revenues stood at Rs 309.49 crore, recording 256 percent growth. Nearly 18.40 lakh packets of 450 g each were sold during 2005-06. In 2005, the GEAC gave approval for commercial cultivation of Rasi's transgenic Bt cotton hybrids, RCH 134 and RCH 317, in north zone. For central zone, RCH 118 Bt, RCH 138 Bt and RCH 144 Bt cotton were approved. The Bt cotton hybrids, RCH 20 Bt and RCH 368 Bt, were approved for commercial cultivation in south zone. In 2006, it got the approval for sale of RCH 308 Bt and RCH 314 Bt in north zone, RCH 377 Bt in central zone and RCH 111 Bt, RCH 371 Bt and RCHB 708 Bt in the South. A total of 14 Bt cotton hybrids have been approved for commercial cultivation in the last three years, thus, making Rasi the leader in Bt cotton distribution in India. Rasi has a strong work force of 440 employees. It has over 60 researchers and has a 120 people marketing team.
Besides Bt cotton hybrids, Rasi also distributes other crop hybrids like maize, pearl millet and vegetables. It has a 140-acre research farm, green houses, a state-of-the-art seed processing plant and a high volume (HVI) fibre-testing laboratory. It also has a modern high throughput biotech facility for molecular biology and transgenic crop production and also an insect-rearing and bioassay facility for assisting biotechnological research.
It is working actively on the development of trangenics for insect control in paddy, brinjal, tomato, chillies and okra and virus control in okra, chillies, tomato and cassava. It adopts tools such as DNA marker technology in its crop breeding in combination with conventional approaches.
It has collaborated with the International Crops Research Institute of Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) to develop pearl millet hybrids. It has undertaken research on the development of vegetable hybrids of tomato, okra, brinjal, chilli, gourds and cluster bean too.