Godrej Agrovet to hive off seed biz into a separate unit

Suresh P. Iyengar Mumbai | Updated on August 03, 2011 Published on July 28, 2011

Godrej Agrovet plans to spin off its fast-growing hybrid seed business into a new subsidiary, Godrej Seeds and Genetics, to focus more on it. To start with, the company will concentrate on maize, paddy and bajra.

Mr Balram Yadav, Managing Director of Godrej Agrovet, said the company has been testing the seed market for last two years. It is now convinced that the sector is poised to grow.

“We will invest in setting up a research and development centre and explore tie-up with overseas companies at a later stage. The company will also have a dedicated sales and marketing channel,” he said.

Mr Dharmendra Kumar, former Chief Executive Officer of Victory Marvel Seeds, will spearhead Godrej Seeds and Genetics. Mr Kumar had earlier worked with Monsanto, Dhaanya Seeds and Pioneer.

"Our target is to rank among the top producers of corn and bajra. We are already working with many farmers for our oil palm plantation and would leverage our present relationship to drive the seed business," said Mr Yadav.

The new subsidiary will be based out of Hyderabad and would include all existing hybrid seed sales and breeding activities that were previously handled by Godrej Agrovet. Seed business in India is worth about Rs 6,000 crore with major contribution coming from cotton and vegetables. The industry is dominated by a few large players such as Monsanto, Syngenta, Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company (Mahyco), Rallis India, Camson Biotech and Rasi Seeds.

Rallis India, a subsidiary of Tata Chemicals, has recently entered the seed business with the acquisition of Bangalore-based Metahelix Life Science. The research-based seed company has product portfolio of rice, maize, millets and vegetable seeds.

With the Government focus on boosting agriculture productivity and the possibility of foreign investments flowing into the sector has led Indian agriculture-focused companies to beef up their presence in the seed business before the competition hots up, said an analyst.

Godrej Agrovet's agriculture input business includes plant growth regulator, organic manure mixture and pesticides. It has a network of over 3,000 distributors, dealers and clearing and forwarding agents who ensure a regular supply of products to most parts of the country.

A well-diversified Godrej Agrovet has business interest in animal feed, oil palm, agri-inputs and poultry.

Published on July 28, 2011
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