Kaveri Seed Company Ltd Management Discussions.

Indian Economy Review

In terms of GDP, Indian economy is the 5th largest economy in the world. The economy faced multiple headwinds and grew by 4.2%1 in FY 2019-20, registering a decline as compared to the previous year. This decline was primarily driven by domestic factors such as credit crisis due to drying up of lending from non-banking financial institutions throughout CY 2019, deceleration in consumption and investment as well as a contraction in exports, with reduced demand for imports has led to this slow growth. Production and imports of capital goods, two key pointers of investment activity – continued to contract in November & December 2019, though at a moderate pace compared with the previous months. However, Industrial activity which measured by the index of industrial production (IIP), improved by 1.8% in November 2019 after contracting for some time and high frequency indicators of services have also turned upwards in the recent period, pointing to a modest revival in momentum.

However, the recent outbreak of Covid-19, which led to a country wide lockdown to curtail the spread of the virus, has posed a challenge and has altered the outlook of the Indian economy. The economy is further expected to experience slowdown and is projected to grow by a modest 1.9% in FY 2020-21. Government of India and the RBI are nevertheless continuously working to revive the economy to boost the consumption and drive demands. Fiscal as well as monetary measures have been introduced and are expected to decelerate this slowdown and help the economy bounce back in the coming year. Looking ahead, the Indian economy is expected to touch 7.4% by FY 2021-22.

Indian Agriculture Sector Overview

Agriculture is pivoted to the growth of the Indian economy, both in terms of its contribution to the GDP as well as a source of employment for a majority of the countrys population. As per NITI Aayog, the sector provides employment to more than 49% of Indias population, through direct and indirect employment opportunities related to this sector. The Agriculture sector contributed around 16.5% to GVA in FY19-20. Over the years, agriculture and its allied activities have been volatile and it is estimated to grow at 2.8% for FY 2019-20, as compared to 2.9% in 2018-192. Agricultural productivity was largely impacted by inefficient irrigation systems and soil degradation due to improper use of chemical fertilizers.

As per 2nd advanced estimate by Ministry of Agriculture, total food production for FY 2019-20 is estimated to be around 291.95 million tonnes, an increase of 2.5% over the previous year. Rice production is likely to touch 117.47 million tonnes for FY 2019-20, an increase of 1% in comparison to the last year. And wheat production is anticipated to reacRs.106.21 million tonnes, an increase of 4% against the last fiscal. Availability of food grains per person have also increased from 476/gm/day to 494/gm/day3.

For 2019-204, cotton production is projected at 354.50 lakh bales of 170 kgs each. The production is expected to rise by 12%, on account of higher acreage and a good monsoon during the year.

Budget highlights for Agricultural sector

As per the governments vision of ‘Aspirational India, the government has introduced a plethora of reforms and packages in Union Budget 2020-21, covering Agriculture, Irrigation and Rural Development. The initiatives announced by the government to strengthen the agricultural sector include the following:

• Rs. 2.83 lakh crore (US$ 40.06 billion) was allocated to the Ministry of Agriculture. Of the total allocation, Rs. 1.60 lakh crore has been announced for Agriculture, Irrigation and allied activities and Rs. 1.23 lakh crore for rural development and Panchayati raj.

• The Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare has been allocated Rs. 1.34 lakh crore in 2020-21, a 32% increase over the revised estimate of 2019-20. More than 78% of the Ministrys budget is proposed to be spent on three schemes under this Department - Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana (PM-KISAN) (53%), Interest Subsidy Scheme (15%), and Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (11%).

• Agricultural Research and Education has been allocated Rs. 8,363 crore, a 7% increase over the revised estimate of 2019-20. The allocation to Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) accounts for 61% of the Departments allocation in 2020-21.

• In the Union Budget 2020-21, the government announced a 16 point action plan to boost the agricultural sector.

• The government encourages states to implement model laws related to land leasing, agricultural produce and livestock marketing, and contract farming.

• The government will provide Viability Gap Funding for setting up warehouses at the block/ taluka level. A Village Storage scheme has also been proposed for Self-Help Groups.

• ‘Kisan Rail with refrigerated coaches will be set up to build a seamless national cold supply chain for perishables. ‘Krishi Udaan will be launched on international and national routes.

Major Challenges faced by Indian Agriculture

Today, Indian agriculture is facing various challenges related to funding, adverse climatic conditions, uneven distribution of rains and many more factors. Some of them are mentioned below –

• Indias farm yield is 30-50% lower than that of developed nations. Average farm size, poor infrastructure, inadequate use of farm technology and decreasing soil fertility due to sustained use of fertilizers and pesticides are leading to low agricultural productivity.

• Inadequate use of manures like cow-dung or vegetable refuge and increasing use of chemical fertilizers make the agricultural land less productive, resulting in low farm yield.

• Most farmers in India are unaware of crop rotation practices and therefore, produce the same crops, year after year, resulting in a loss of soil fertility.

• One of the major reasons for low farmer income is the difficulty in marketing crops. Due to the small size and scattered nature of agricultural holdings, the productivity per acre is low.

Export Scenario

Total agricultural exports from India grew at a CAGR of 14.61% between FY10 and FY19 to reach US$ 38.73 billion in the last fiscal. The share of agriculture in the countrys total exports stood at 11.76% for FY 2018-19. In FY20 (till November 2019) agricultural export amounted to US$ 22.69 billion5. The Ministry of Agriculture is aiming to increase the share of exports to US $100 billion by 20223.

Growth Drivers for Agriculture

India is globally renowned for its wide array of agricultural produce. It is a pivotal contributor to the Indian economy and provides employment to a large section of the population. Below are the growth drivers for the agriculture sector: -

Budgetary allocation to the Ministry of Agriculture for FY 2020-21

Rs. 2.83 lakh crore

• Use of innovative products and advanced technology such as satellite imaging, remote sensing, artificial intelligence and IoT are providing real-time insights to farmers, enabling them to focus on entire crop cycles and to make informed decisions regarding crop protection and nutrition.

• Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) play an important role in empowering Indian farmers and thereby, supports economic growth. It helps them to improve business acumen and gain access to markets.

• Increase in population, rapid urbanization, rising income and a growing young population is increasing food demand. To cater to the growing demand, farmers are adopting new techniques and technologies to increase farm productivity, driving further growth of agriculture.

• Due to rapid urbanization and a shift towards healthy and nutritious diets, demand for fruits & vegetables is expected to increase significantly in the years ahead.

Outlook

The Ministry of Agriculture has set the target for food grain production at a record 298.3 million tonnes for the 2020-21 crop year, beginning in July. It is aiming for an output of 149.92 million tonnes of kharif or summer-sown crop, and 148.4 million tonnes of Rabi or the winter-sown crop. The target is over 2% more than last years estimated production of 292 million tonnes3.

Seed Industry Overview

Seed is the basic and most critical input for sustainable agriculture. The global seeds market was worth US$ 55.4 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach USD 86 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 7.6%6. North America represents the largest producer of agricultural seeds, accounting for around one third of the global market6. Asia-Pacific, dominated by two major agricultural countries - India and China, is the fastest growing geographical segment in the Global Seed Market. The region is witnessing increased adoption of hybrids and a rising seed replacement rate for key crops like Rice, Maize and Vegetables.

Seed Sector in India

For a productive harvest, the agricultural sector is highly dependent on the availability and quality of seeds. Therefore, to increase the quantity and quality of produce, efforts are being made to introduce enhanced varieties of seeds with the help of advanced technology and modern agricultural methods. In India, agriculture is the dominant occupation, which secures abundant opportunities for the seed market in the region. The Indian seed market was valued at US

298.3 million tonnes

Target for food grain production in FY 2020-21 by the Ministry of Agriculture $4.1 billion in 2018, growing at a CAGR of 15.7% from 2011-2018. The seed market in India is estimated to reach US $9.1 billion by 2024, growing at a CAGR of 13.6% from 2019-20247.

India has emerged as the 5th largest seed market in the world8. The active participation of both, public and private sectors, have played a vital role in laying a strong foundation for the industry. In India, commercial seeds only account for a minor share (25%) of the seed market and huge demand is expected for good quality, branded seeds. Initiatives to promote the use of hybrid seeds among farmers who had earlier used outdated, open pollinated varieties can help to improve demand for better quality seeds. Over the last few years, rising awareness among farmers about the benefits of using certified/ quality seeds has increased the popularity of quality seeds.

Telangana to become the Global Hub for Seeds

Telangana, which is also known as the ‘Seed Bowl of India, is soon set to double its seed exports from 20,000 quintals8. Telangana is making big strides in seed production owing to strong policy support from the government, shaping Telangana into a ‘global seed hub. It is a major seed production hub, meeting about 60% of the countrys needs for major crops such as rice, maize, soya bean, pearl millet, sorghum and cotton9. About 400 seed companies are operating in the state with 413 seed processing and 13 seed testing units9. A seed fund of Rs 25 crore have been established for Sanitation Hub (S-Hub), an incubator for promoting start-ups and to encourage innovation in areas including water, sanitation, solid waste management and waste water recycling, aimed at helping irrigation facilities9.

Growth drivers of Indian Seed Industry

Increasing adoption of Hybrid Seeds:

The use of hybrid seeds has silently but, consistently witnessed growth along with other seeds.

Patent protection systems and intellectual rights over plant varieties:

The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Rights Act, 2001 (PPV&FRA) was established to protect plant varieties and the rights of the breeders while encouraging the development of new varieties of plants.

Increased investment from public as well as private sector:

Private sector has played a major role in changing Indias seed sector. Investment and technical expertise garnered from different parts of the world has made this industry tech-savvy.

Government Policies and support:

Conducive policy reforms and government support have spurred the transformation of the Indian seed industry in recent times. Policies like National Seed Policy 2002, Seed Village Programme, and National Biotechnology Development strategy 2007 were conceived to fuel the growth of the industry.

Enhancement in Seed Replacement Rate (SRR)

SRR is a measure of cropped area covered with quality seed. SRR directly improves productivity and leads to enhancement of farmer income, thereby acting as a means to achieve the target of doubling farmers income by 2022. Due to the efforts of varied stakeholders in the seed segment and adept policy backing, the rise in SRR crops viz. wheat and paddy, rose by 40% respectively9. Farmers contemplating the fact about replacement of seed in high volume and low value crops reflects a sea change in perception and are viewing agriculture as a remunerative enterprise9.

Company Overview

Kaveri Seeds is one of the leading seed producing companies in India. With over three decades of industry experience, it has emerged as a premier multi-crop seed producing Company in India. Over the years, the Company has enhanced farmer trust by providing a complete seeds basket, comprising of Field and Vegetable crop seeds. Backed by its strong R&D program, the Company specializes in the production of crop seeds including maize, cotton, rice, pearl millet, mustard, wheat, sorghum, sunflower and a number of vegetables.

The Company owns over 600 acres (own + leased) farm land and 65000 acres for seed production across different agro- climatic regions. With its dedicated team of researchers, the Company designs and develops productive hybrids that excel in markets and meet the changing needs of farmers and consumers. It is consistently building a robust portfolio of field crops and vegetables to help enhance farm yield and actively engages with farmers to educate them about latest farming techniques. Kaveri Seeds also helps farmers to implement best agricultural practices to ensure higher yield and better productivity.

The Company has not only been successful in developing an innovative product range, it has also helped to meet previously unmet requirements of the farmer community. From providing complete crop solutions, across crops, terrains and seasons, to capitalizing on emerging opportunities, Kaveri Seeds has successfully reached out to farmers around the country.

Core Competencies

Strong R&D Division: Kaveri Seeds successfully establishes itself as a market leader resting on its strong R&D team. Its research focuses on the development of quality hybrid and inbred seeds that offer higher yields. The Company has a fully equipped, state-of-the-art biotechnology laboratory and its R&D team comprises of about 145 personnel, including more than 40 Scientists who strive to deliver exceptional results. Kaveri Seeds also has an enormous germ plasm bank, built over a period of three decades, to sustain innovations in the seed market.

World Class Infrastructure: Kaveri Seeds has about 120 out reach trial centres across India for hybrid testing. The company also has 1 lakh+ loyal producers with 65000 acres of land area for seed production. It also has 07 Mega Seed Processing Plants equipped with modern equipment for pre-cleaning, grading, cob drying, storage and packing. WitRs.10 lakh sq. ft. cumulative warehouse space across India, the Company has climate-control godowns and 15000 MT cold storage capacities to support its world class infrastructure.

Strong Presence & Distribution Network in India: Kaveri seeds has a strong distribution network consisting of about 40,000 dealers/distributors. It partners with more than 1 lakh farmers, through farm engagement programs, for seed production.

Diversified Product Portfolio: Kaveri Seeds has consistently focused on building a robust portfolio of field crops and vegetables to help enhance farm yield. The Company has successfully launched best quality hybrid seeds to further diversify its offerings. It also engages with farmers to educate them about its products and helps to implement best agricultural practices to improve yield.

Opportunities for the Company

• With a growing market for agricultural seeds, in India and abroad, there is a huge demand for export of seeds and Indias contribution is only 9% of the overall market. The company, with its expertise, can tap the exports market and increase its market share globally.

• India has the potential to produce a significant amount of hybrid seeds, especially high value vegetable seeds, which can be produced at cheaper costs when compared to other countries. The Company, with its innovation focused R&D division, can produce hybrid vegetable seeds and offer them at competitive prices.

• Innovative and advanced product designing is likely to be the future of this industry. To ensure higher yield across agro-climatic regions, it will be designed to withstand biotic and abiotic stresses. The Companys strong R&D programs are perfectly suited to tap these opportunities.

Research & Development

Agricultural science is constantly evolving and is a dynamic field, fostering innovations and cutting-edge product developments. The Companys advanced research and development capabilities enable the production of high yield seed varieties that immensely benefit farmers. Over the years, the Company has improved product yield, improved the quality of seeds and has successfully increased its tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses.

As Indias leading seed Company, Kaveri Seeds focuses on combined use of conventional breeding techniques and biotechnology to increase and stabilize yields. Utilizing innovative processes, the Company adopted an integrated molecular breeding programme for accelerated crop production. State-of-the-art biotechnological tools were also employed to ensure precision breeding, which not only helped to save time but also focused on improving crops.

At present, the Company has over 600 acres of dedicated research farms in around Hyderabad and more than 300 acres long lease Agriculture land in satellite environment across the country for target breeding. With a robust R&D base, the Company has developed new hybrids in cotton, maize, rice, bajra and vegetables, products that have a significant impact on farm yield. The Company also has a strong pipeline of hybrids, tailored to ensure great yields in varied climatic conditions.

1 Lakh+

Contract Farmers are employed by the Company

The biotechnological interventions initiated by the Company to ensure efficient quality checks. The Company strives to improve returns while accelerating the pace of innovation. With a strong commitment to innovate futuristic products, it has aligned with national and international institutions to augment its research capabilities. This has enabled the Company to meet the aspirations of farmers, consumers as well as the industry.

Plant Variety Protection: To safeguard the Companys products, a number of hybrids developed in field and vegetable crops along with their parental lines have been applied for registration under the Intellectual Property Rights. A number of genotypes were registered to comply with the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers Right Act (PPVFRA).

Germplasm: The germplasm bank is critical for sustaining breeding programmes. The Company owns a vast gene pool of diverse germplasm to design and develop the suitable varieties that can easily adapt to biotic and abiotic situations while fulfilling the aspirations of farmers and consumers.

Central Varietal Release Committee: More than 20 hybrids were Released and Notified in the Central Varietal Release Committee (CVRC) GoI and a few are under release.

Collaborations

To design and develop hybrid seed varieties, that can easily cope with changing climatic conditions, the Company has fortified its research by collaborating with renowned national and international institutions.

Crop Focus

Kaveri Seeds has continuously innovated and developed superior quality hybrid seeds that have significantly improved yield. The Companys portfolio caters to key crop segments and mitigates the risks associated with unanticipated shifts in crop rotation. The Companys products are gaining prominence among Indias farmers and in countries where it exports seeds. Today, Kaveri is proud to be the only Company to have a footprint across cotton, rice, maize, pearl millets, sunflower, sorghum, pulses and vegetables, along with the largest pipeline of hybrids.

Cotton

Cotton plays a dominant role in Indias agricultural economy, making it one of the most important cash crops in the country. Cotton industry in India provides direct livelihood to 6 million farmers and about 40-50 million people are employed in cotton trade and its processing. The cotton textile industry contributes around 5% of the GDP and 17% to the countries export earnings. In India, there are ten major cotton growing states which are divided into three zones, north, central and south zones.

About 65% of the cotton growing areas suffer from insufficient rains, which considerably lowers the productivity. During FY 2019-20, cotton production in India is estimated to have reached 354.5 lakh bales of 170 kg, from 112 lakh hectares area with a productivity of 501 kg lint/ha.

During the year, Kaveri Seeds focused on discovering and developing new genetic material for enhancing yield, stress tolerance, insect-pest & disease resistance, input use efficiency and improving fibre quality of cotton. The Company also concentrated on developing efficient, eco-friendly crop husbandry tools for improved cotton genotypes, suitable for diverse agro-ecologies.

In the North Zone, the Company bred early to medium maturity, high input efficiency cotton hybrids to suit cotton-wheat crop rotation, with high tolerance to CLCuD. In the South and Central Zones, the Company developed hybrids suitable for high density plants to ensure better yields under biotic and abiotic rain-fed situations.

Rice

Rice accounts for ~50% of the Indian Agricultural GDP, making it an extremely important crop for the seed and agri-biotech industries. In FY 2019-20, the yield of rice is estimated at approximately 2.67 thousand kilograms per hectare, with total production of 119 million metric ton and it is projected to grow at a CAGR of 2.5% between 2019 and 2024. With government support, hybrid rice conversion currently stands at about 8%, with 3.5m. ha acreage.

Kaveri Seeds is giving equal importance to Hybrid rice and Selection rice, since the Indian market has a huge potential for both. The Company has accelerated its research efforts at its Hyderabad centre as well as in its satellite research stations to develop hybrids/ varieties suitable for different regions.

During the year, the Company developed novel technology to produce high-performance hybrids. The Company introduced hybrids such as KAVERI 9090, a medium maturity hybrid with 132-135 days maturity cycle and commercially produced in areas with assured irrigation facilities. In addition, the Company also developed KAVERI 468, a mid-early maturing hybrid with 123-128 days maturity and Shireen & KRV7155 varieties with BLB tolerant gene Xa21 - which were specifically developed through Marker Assisted Selection.

KAVERI 468, a mid-early maturity hybrid had high yield capacity & lodging tolerance and is blast resistant. The hybrid has performed well across geographies & ecologies, in both Kharif and Rabi seasons. It had a competitive advantage over the other popular varieties and competitor hybrids in the early & medium maturity segment. The volumes of KAVERI 468 Y-O-Y, indicates its phenomenal performance and excellent adoption rate among farmers. During Kharif 2019, rice hybrid KAVERI 468 performed extremely well across India and supported a major chunk of the hybrid rice portfolio.

Further, the Company will direct its research efforts on early, mid, mid -late segment opportunities arising from Selection rice as well as Hybrid rice segments. The Company will also focus on the breeding process, line development & product testing efforts in various markets. At present, the Company has established infrastructure & facilities for a stronger biotech trait integration program which scales up phenotype activities at artificial and hot spot conditions. It fine-tunes protocols for line development, trait integration, product testing & grain quality to deliver competitive products & a strong product pipeline. The Company will also focus on Genome Editing CRISPR/CAS9 technology for plant breeding programs in future, utilizing Genomics and Phonemics.

Maize

Maize is the third most important cereal crop after rice and wheat in India. Besides being a food crop, it is consumed as feed and fodder. It also has great importance as an industrial raw material. Maize is cultivated in 170 countries, over 185 million hectares of land, with a productivity of 5.62 t/ha. At present, USA and China contribute around 35% and 21%, respectively, to the total global production. India on the other hand, ranks fourth in terms of area covered and sixth in terms of production capacity.

Currently, the country produces over 28 million tonnes of maize, of which roughly 60% is used as feed (poultry and animal feed), 14% for industrial purposes, around 13% for food, 7% as processed food and 6% for other purposes including seed production. Maize is predominantly a Kharif crop in India, grown during the monsoon. Increasing demand for maize, particularly from the feed industry, has contributed towards increased production levels. Maize, with its ability to adapt to varied conditions and its multiple usages, has the potential to improve farmers income significantly.

Maize can be divided on the basis of several factors such as in accordance with the season when it is produced, its maturity, type of hybrids, type of inputs and management etc. Different segments result in different traits for the maize crop. Currently, modern breeding tools, fuelled by advances in genomics and decision support systems are emerging with rare novel traits. These traits can be introgressed from wild relatives effectively through marker-assisted backcrossing within a relatively shorter time period, in comparison to conventional backcrossing methods.

Factors such as drought, heat stress and biotic & abiotic stresses affect maize crop at different stages of its growth. During the year, the Company developed hybrids that had a base germplasm with key traits. The Company integrated novel breeding tools, including genome wide association studies (GWAS), genomic selection (GS) and double haploid (DH) technology to fast track the stress resilience breeding pipeline and adopted field-based precision phenomics to develop stress adaptive traits at several representative sites under managed stress screens.

Additionally, the Company also formed partnerships with committed players from the public and private sector for the development, deployment and scaling of climate resilient cultivars in stress prone agro ecologies.

Pearl millet

India with 6.9 million hectares, has the largest area with 8.6 million tons of pearl millet production. Pearl Millet is mainly grown in the Kharif season and it is also cultivated during summer in irrigated areas. Pearl millet is primarily grown for food and fodder and is a rich source of animal feed. The grain is highly nutritious with an excellent concentration of Iron, Zinc and protein. The Company focuses on breeding high yield Pearl millet hybrids that offer better productivity, has an increased blast resistance and offer improved concentrations of Fe & Zn.

During the year, the Company aimed to address issues that are highly relevant for pearl millet cultivation in specific regions. Additionally, the Company developed a genetic variation of millet by utilizing emerging technologies. It was genetically modified to withstand harsh environmental conditions, had greater blast resistance and exhibited better resistance to downy mildew and rust. Moreover, the Company will diversify the MS line by exploring A4 and A5 CMS system for the diversification of CMS system from A1 cytoplasm.

Mustard

In India, Mustard is grown mainly for oil & meal purposes. Of the total area under cultivation, 80% is used for the cultivation of Brassica Juncea (L.) Czern, commonly referred to as "Indian Mustard". Since Indian Mustard is a major contributor to oilseeds,

170 countries

Produce maize on 185 million hectares of land the cultivation requires more attention & strong strategies. During the year, the Company developed hybrids & varieties to fulfil the domestic requirement of edible oil and animal feed. The Company also initiated, Kaveri Seeds Research program for Mustard cultivation recently, with an aim to increase the productivity and efficiency in different mustard growing zones. The main objective was to breed early, mid- duration grains and oil yielding hybrids with high response to inputs and tolerance to biotic and abiotic conditions.

Wheat

It is a major cereal crop in India. Kaveri Seed accelerated its research efforts to develop improved varieties of the crop that were suitable for biotic and abiotic conditions in wheat growing regions. The main focus was towards high grain yield and quality, along with an emphasis on pest and disease resistance. It is extremely suitable for cultivators who rotate between rice and wheat crops, especially in North Indian regions.

Sunflower

Sunflower crop recently introduced in the country and have gained prominence in the oil seed crops due to its high heterosis. It is a photo-insensitive crop; therefore it can be grown round the year. Generally, it is grown in the late Kharif and Rabi situations. Due to various constraints, the area under production has reduced and so has its productivity. Despite this, the Company developed hybrids are faring well in sunflower grown states.

Vegetables:

Hot Pepper

Hot pepper is mostly used as a spice in India and across the globe. It is cultivated on an area of 0.8 million hectares and states like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra cover around 80% of the total area under cultivation. About 70% of the hot pepper produce is used for dry chilli and the remaining 30% is used as green chilli. Out of the total produce used in dry form, 50% is exported to foreign countries. During the year, the Company focused on developing hot pepper hybrids that have resistance to heat and ChiLCV.

Okra

Okra is grown in the Kharif season as well as in summer. It is cultivated extensively round the year, for consumption purposes. At present, India, with 0.53 m. ha area and 6.15 m. tons of production of Okra, ranks first in the world. During the year, the Company focused on development of hybrids with dark green, non-seedy, smooth, spineless and tender pods that are easy to harvest, are attractive and has dual tolerance to Yellow Vein Mosaic Virus (YVMV) and Okra Leaf Curl Virus (OLCV).

Tomato

Over the last few decades, Tomato has become an extremely popular produce. It is grown in outdoor fields, greenhouses and net houses.

It is generally grown for the fresh market, processing purposes and for the canning industry. Its production and consumption has been growing consistently, across the globe, as it is a good source of Vitamin A and Vitamin C. During the year, the Company focused its research efforts to develop promising hybrids for commercial cultivation. It aimed to develop crops with high yield, non-cracking qualities and excellent colour, suitable for transportation and storage. Moreover, the hybrids have a high tolerance towards Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus (TYLCV) and other viral diseases.

Gourds

Gourds, belong to the cucurbitaceous family, particularly Cucurbita & Lageneria and are considered one of the most important vegetable crops in India. Bitter gourd, Sponge gourd, Bottle gourd, and Ridge gourd constitute the major varieties of this crop. An excellent source of iron and essential nutrients, gourds form an integral part of the Indian staple diet.

In India, production of gourds is mainly hampered by diseases such as Gemini virus, Downy mildew, Powdery mildew, and Blight. These diseases result in yield losses of up to 100%. The Company focuses its research on the four main varieties of gourds to strengthen its commercial hybrid portfolio. The factors that were taken into consideration included increased yield, shortened duration for crop growth, good fruit quality, colour, shape and transportability.

Additionally, the Company also focussed on various crops like muskmelon, watermelon, sweetcorn, coriander, pumpkin, beetroot and cabbage, during the year.

Position of India in terms of production of Okra

Product Evaluation

India has diverse agro-climatic conditions and crop adaptability varies from one region to the other. To sustain its market leadership, the Company needs to thoroughly evaluate its product portfolio to develop seed varieties that perfectly complement farm practices and farmer requirements. The Company, therefore, conducts evaluation trials more than 900 locations across the seasons to determine the stability of the new hybrid/ seed variety. It is tested against the best commercially available seed hybrid/variety in concerned geographies or zones/regions, by adopting farmer practices deployed in those areas.

The Company evaluates yield levels, tolerance towards major pests and diseases along with its resistance to abiotic stress. Additionally, the Company enables local farmer participation in Demo plots to provide feedback on product performance. It plays a crucial role for gauging products suitable for particular regions. The data recorded from these trials are compiled and thoroughly analysed. The test products are then evaluated against competitor products, based on its yield potential, stability and reaction to biotic and abiotic stress. The inferences are presented in the Companys Hybrid Advancement Meeting, where the performance of the product, its requirement for the product portfolio and its placement in the identified geographies are thoroughly discussed and debated cross function teams. The products that are passed by the team are sent for test marketing (Pre-commercial level). The Product Commercialization (PC) team plays a crucial role in establishing from introduction to growth phase product in target geographies of India.

The state-of –the art Biotechnology Laboratory:

With a growing significance of biotechnology, the Company is fostering and fortifying traditional plant breeding systems to produce different Hybrids and Varieties in field and vegetable crops. The Company has constructed a state-of-the-art biotechnology laboratory, Pamulaparthy, Telangana. The lab employs highly qualified scientists to carry out advanced research.

The Company has developed methodologies such as candidate gene strategy and association mapping to develop superior quality hybrids that ensure higher yield and show greater tolerance to biotic and abiotic factors. It has also developed and adopted new-age technologies like Doubled haploid breeding, MAS (Marker Assisted Selection), MARS (Marker Assisted Recurrent Selection), RGD (Rapid Generation Advance), Inter Pool Heterotic Bins, Multi Parent Synthetic (MPS) and Multi Parent Advanced Generation Inter Cross Populations (MAGIC), etc. to set new standards of excellence in the seed industry.

Human Resource management

Kaveri Seeds recognizes the importance of its employees and the pride, passion and drive they possess to take the organization to scale new heights of success. The Company continues to focus on training and upgrading employee skills through various interventions and programs to improve skill sets that help to realize our vision and focus on areas that are critical for succeeding strategically. The Company has developed a transparent and active line of communication to ensure team spirit and promote a culture based on trust and confidence.

The Company is proud of its diverse workforce that offers an edge over its peers. The Company successfully enhances and nurtures employee talent through result driven training, while encouraging and rewarding excellence. It continues to align Company policies with the changing business environment and keeps safety conditions in mind while performing duties. The Company also plays a vital role to ensure healthy and conducive working environment for its employees. The total number of employees in the Company, as on 31st March, 2020, are 1,073.

Outlook

Despite the uncertainties affecting the economy, the Union Budget 2020-21 reinforces the nations thrust on agriculture. While initiatives such as Krishi Udan strive to boost agricultural exports, efforts to allocate funds for agricultural credit, e -irrigation, rural development and Panchayati Raj focus on empowering farmers.

Additionally, introduction of e-NAM in water-stressed districts across the country will help farmers to augment agricultural produce. Moreover, government plans to liberalise farm markets is anticipated to further bolster growth of the sector and will help to fulfil the governments objective of doubling farmers income by FY 2022-23.

The Government of India is also promoting eco-friendly farming to reduce the use of chemicals and conserve natural resources. Farmers are being advised to adopt ‘zero-budget farming to double their income. Moreover, the government is also providing necessary advice and information related to pricing over specially designed apps for farmers. These initiatives will complement the Companys strategic objective to help farmers improve productivity and enhance crop output.

With an unwavering commitment to develop innovative products that improve farm productivity and efficiency, the Company continues to invest in R&D and strives to create awareness about hybrid seeds. The Company also plans to strengthen its supply chain capabilities to ensure uninterrupted delivery of products to varied climatic zones across the country. It also aims to increase its market share in Punjab, Rajasthan and UP with the introduction of new and improved products.