Driven by an intensive research effort, Nuziveedu Seeds Limited (NSL) has built up a robust portfolio of promising varieties of 30 crops. Besides a strong presence in cotton, the company has worked on rice, corn, millets and vegetables.

The Hyderabad-based company, which has a turnover of ₹940 crore (2016-17), had diversified into textiles, sugar and renewables. However, it intends to consolidate and grow in its core seeds sector in the near future, says M Prabhakar Rao, NSL’s Chairman and Managing Director.

Having grown into the largest Bt cotton seed firm in the country, and given multinationals such as Monsanto a run for its money, NSL will stay focussed with a series of new varietal and product launches in the crops identified. It has beefed up marketing infrastructure in newer regions of East and Central India. Efforts will also be concentrated on export, Rao told BusinessLine.

Active breeding, evaluation and fundamental research is being done at the company’s breeding stations spread across the country. Another promising work being done is in the fortification. Work is under way with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Africa. Rice fortified with zinc is a priority, along with maize. “Our interest is to come up with varieties that are tolerant to disease, drought, pests and that can enhance nutrients with higher productivity. We are trying out both traditional and latest technologies in biotechnology and microbial technology,” he said.

To accelerate the development of short-duration and high-yielding varieties, and hybrids, NSL has forged collaborations. For instance, it is working with ICRISAT on bajra and sorghum. Similarly, with the Mexico-based CIMMYT on wheat, with the Philippines-based IRRI on rice, and with Taiwan’s AVRDC on vegetables such as tomato.

Cotton story
A consortia of seed companies led by NSL has been pushing for developing indigenous versions of Bt cotton in the public-private partnership mode to halt the monopoly of and dependence on multinationals. To this end, NSL is participating in a national project under the New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative (NMITLI). The Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR), Nagpur; the NBRI, Lucknow, some State agriculture universities and private companies are part of the consortia that is developing high-yielding variety resistant to the pink bollworm.