The market dynamics catch on Mahyco.
Despite an uproar in Andhra Pradesh over sale of its Bt cotton seeds, Mahyco Hybrid Seeds Company Ltd (Mahyco) managed to sell 9.2 lakh packets of Bt cotton hybrids in the 2005 Kharif season in India. This is slightly less than its 2004-05 sales of 10.36 lakh Bt cotton packets. However, its revenues from the sale of Bt cotton hybrids for 2005–06 showed a 29 percent drop. It recorded Rs 117.76 crore through Bt cotton sales.
The drop in sales revenue is not just because of drop is number of packets but also due to 25 percent reduction in the price for its Bt hybrid packets to Rs 1,280 per packet in 2005 Kharif season.
Mahyco, the first Indian company to commercially grow and market transgenic Bollgard cotton, continued to focus on R&D in agribiotechnology. This helped it to receive a green signal from the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) for commercial cultivation of two of its hybrids-MRC-6025 and MRC-6029 containing Cry 1Ac gene Mon 531 event in the North zone for a period of three years starting from 2006 Kharif season. With this, it has added two more Bt hybrids seeds to its list of seven Bt cotton hybrids, which got approval till 2005 Kharif season. So far the farmers in north zone of the country were cultivating MRC 6304 and MRC 6301 hybrids and in central zone Mech 12, Mech 162 and Mech 184 and in south Mech 162*, Mech 184*, MRC 6322 and MRC 6918 (* not approved for commercial cultivation in Andhra Pradesh).
Besides, it has also received approval from the GEAC for large-scale trials and seed production of transgenic cotton hybrids for MRC 7347 BGII and MRC-7351 BGII containing stacked genes Cry1 Ac and Cry 2Ab (event MON 15985) in the central zone during Kharif 2006.
Mahyco has developed a fruit and shoot borer resistant eggplant under a public private partnership program, Agriculture Biotechnology Support Project II (ABSPII) in part supported by USAID, ICAR, DBT, partner institutions and coordinated by Cornell University. The project includes East West Seeds Ltd of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute and Institute of Plant Breeding, College of Agriculture, University of Philippines as the other partners. As part of the MoU, it has been agreed to provide the Bt brinjal technology for development of pro-poor varieties of brinjal to Bangladesh and Philippines. And Mahyco has also received the GEAC approval to export transgenic eggplant seeds to the Institute of Plant Breeding, College of Agriculture, University of Philippines and Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute, Bangladesh, provided these germplasm were initially brought from these countries only.
Mahyco has many firsts to its credit. It is the first private enterprise in the country to produce and market hybrids of cotton, sorghum, pearl millet, sunflower and wheat. It is also engaged in the research, production, processing and marketing of about 115 products in 30 crop species including cereals, oilseeds, fibre and vegetables. Mahyco is also developing genetically enhanced crops with the use of gene transfer technology. Mahyco has a national presence with its network across the country.
Mahyco established a new research facility, the Mahyco Research Center, near Jalna-Aurangabad, Maharashtra in 1998, to conduct cutting-edge biotechnology research in a number of areas relevant to crop improvement and productivity, while still remaining close to its roots in rural agriculture and seeds research. Major research areas include crop transformation, molecular virology, molecular microbiology, gene discovery and molecular markers, entomology and diagnostics. To monitor the trait protein content in genetically modified (GM) crops, it has established DesiGen Diagnostics that provides diagnostics solutions for GM crop testing.