22 July 2013 | Features | By BioSpectrum Bureau
12. Ankur Seeds
Managing Director: MG Shembeka
Public private partnership pave the way
Riding high on its Bt cotton success, Ankur Seeds has recorded revenues of `341 crore for this year, while keeping a strong pipeline of research projects in store. Two new hybrid varieties of cotton were also introduced on a large scale during the year; Ankur 3034 BGII and Ankur 216 BGII. Hybrids were launched across the cotton growing zones of India, that were suitable for both irrigated and rain-fed conditions, including intra and inter specific Ankur-bred hybrids.
Ankur has initiated both transgenic and classical breeding R&D projects in collaboration with the Texas University for the cotton crop. They are currently evaluating different lines for their efficacy. Through this study, certain genes from Ankur's proprietary germplasm have been identified that offer drought tolerance. The next step would be to identify markers that are responsible for these traits.
Dr Ashwin Kashekar, general manager, R&D, Ankur Seeds spoke about other PPPs that Ankur has been a part of in recent times. "We are currently in a public private partnership with ICGEB, for researching virus resistance in tomato. This project was partly funded by DBT and Ankur. A few years back, we had also signed an MoU with GKVK (Gandhi Krishi Vigyan Kendra), Bangalore, for screening germplasm and identifying lines that exhibit traits of water efficiency and drought tolerance. Additionally, we have also done some contract research work with Cornell University centering on genotyping and marker associated research."
A great example of technology transfer through a public private partnership (PPP) has been with Rajendra Agricultural University, Bihar. Researchers at the university had done early research and developed a more efficient crop variety. After the technology transfer from the public university, Ankur is all set to produce and market the same variety under a royalty sharing agreement.
The focus for Ankur Seeds has been on field work through demonstrating use of biotech material and helping famers understand good management practices like drip irrigation to get higher yields. Activities like Farmers field days, that had been conducted on large scale also helped in the business growth. Ankur Seeds now has multicrop R&D proposals on board seeking government approvals for Biosafety Research Level (BRL) trials, which it hopes to get started in the next year.
Company: Ankur Seeds
Business: Seed dealers and distributors
Revenue: 2013 `341 crore