We introduce 1-2 millet varieties every year: Corteva Agriscience

Q.How is the global seed industry behind the prevailing geo-political situation and what is Corteva’s role in it? 

 The prospects of the seed sector are quite promising. Although the market may experience some annual fluctuations, the long-term outlook is positive. Seeds play a key role in increasing agricultural productivity and Corteva has been playing a key role worldwide for 97 years. We continue to focus  on improving farm productivity by increasing yields and providing stability to the crops grown by our farmers. We strive to respond to complex production challenges such as pests and environmental pressures.  

 Q. Can you give an overview of Corteva’s research  and market  in India? 

 Although we don’t disclose specific country-level company sizes, I can tell you that India has a significant presence for us, probably in the top ten or even the top five most important agricultural markets in the world. USA and Brazil are definitely big markets and India belongs to the next level of big and successful markets. Our technology center near Hyderabad, with a team of approximately 1,400 colleagues, is the core of our seed business and  one of our largest seed technology facilities worldwide. 

 Q. What are Corteva’s main areas of research in India? 

  In  seed research, we are primarily focused on developing new and improved products, which means creating new hybrids or cultivars to meet customer needs. We are actively working on researching new technologies that go beyond traditional processing methods. These advances will play a crucial role in supporting future genetic improvements. An interesting initiative we have recently taken in the hybrid mustard market involves the deployment of mobile oil testers in the fields. This innovative approach helps our customers understand the true value of their crops by estimating oil content at harvest. The oil content of a crop such as hybrid mustard can vary between different cultivars and genetic traits, affecting its overall value. This mobile testing service ensures that our customers fully understand the value of their product when it comes to marketing. 

 Q. Will the market for mustard, maize, hybrid rice and millet seeds grow? Is the millet weighed? And will hybrid rice also increase? 

 The market for these crops shows promising growth trends. The hybrid push was quickly adopted and about a third of the market had already been converted to hybrids. Growers are finding significant benefits in growing hybrid mustard  and its popularity is steadily increasing. 

 Although not  as fast growing as mustard, hybrid millet is becoming more common, especially in areas where farmers are looking for crops that can withstand difficult climatic and environmental conditions. We introduce one or two new millet varieties to the market every year, which makes us the market leader in the millet segment. As for hybrid rice, the hybridization journey  is still in its early stages. Overall, we have a strong position in the  mustard, millet, maize and hybrid rice markets. Mustard stands out as the fastest growing segment, followed by millet, while hybrid rice is still nascent. 

 Q.Hybrid mustard has been at the center of the GM mustard debate in India for the past two years. What do you think about that? 

 We do business worldwide. As a global company, we respect the legislative decisions of each country regarding the introduction of agricultural technologies, including genetically modified organisms (GMO). In India, the regulatory process for GMOs, with the exception of BT cotton, has historically been relatively restrictive. However, we are seeing positive signs of change, as the regulation of GMOs in crops is more open than before. We believe this is a step in the right direction. Going forward, we will continue to work with all stakeholders, including regulators, to ensure that the deployment of new technologies follows a science-based and transparent process. We know that the introduction of genetically modified seeds will have a social impact, and we  work openly and transparently to help others understand the experiences and benefits of these technologies. Corteva has a long history  with GM products in various markets and we are committed to following the principles of open science-based processes. We believe that India will adopt this approach and allow the adoption of GM products if necessary. 

 Q. Do you have a GMO product in mustard, corn or  other seeds? 

 We certainly do. As for the market here, of course not. And we have already done regulatory experiments. But they slowed down several years ago. And that would be something that if the environment allows, we would move back to more of a regulatory pathway. 

 Q.Have you applied for permission here?  

 The regulatory process for genetically modified products involves multiple steps, including extensive infield studies and a comprehensive regulatory review. While we have completed some regulatory trials in the past, we have not yet completed the entire process required for the introduction of genetically modified products in India. As the regulatory environment evolves and if opportunities arise, we will evaluate the market receptivity and consider moving forward with genetically modified products when appropriate. We strongly believe that these technologies are safe and effective and can provide significant value to  farmers and society at large. 

Q. Millet is considered a low margin company. What is your reason for focusing on millet? 

 We have been  in the millet industry for a while. It is a product that has not been fully invested in over the years, but we understand how important it is to provide farmers with efficient and reliable solutions even in a difficult environment. Our success in the millet market is also due to farmers’ trust  in our brand. From a commercial point of view, millet is an important and profitable crop for us. We invest in millet business in India with particular focus on the Indian market and mustard cultivation. We appreciate the importance of millet and mustard to our customers in India.

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