Bioseed was incorporated in 1992 and is based in Hyderabad, India. DCM Shriram Ltd, founded in 1989, acquired majority control of Bioseed in 2002. DCM Shriram is involved in various agribusiness sectors such as urea, sugar, agrochemical inputs and the fuel-retailing chain Hariyali Kisan Bazaar. Bioseed itself is engaged in the research and development of hybrid varieties of field and vegetable crops and GM cotton. It has nine breeding stations and more than 30 testing stations spread across South and South-East Asia.
Plant breeding activities in index regions and breeding programme for specific traits The company has its own breeding programme in India and the Philippines and develops hybrid varieties of global field crops and vegetables suitable for smallholder farmers in the index region. The company’s breeding programme includes the development of a number of traits particularly important for smallholder farmers, such as improved shelf-life and early maturing varieties. The company also focuses on incorporating resistance and tolerance to regionally important pests and diseases such as blast disease and brown plant hopper (BPH).
Variety testing Bioseed conducts variety trials on crops from its own breeding programmes and portfolio in India, Vietnam and the Philippines. The company is also currently investing resources into developing research infrastructure and testing systems in Thailand.
Quality management in seed production in index countries Bioseed’s entire seed production is covered by the ISO9001:2008 certification, and the company introduced a quality management system to ensure that standards are met across their seed production. Each batch of seed produced undergoes an examination to ensure that its quality meets industry standards.
Extension services Bioseed has a dedicated programme for smallholder farmers called “SAATHI,” which connects farmers from all over India to the company. Through this programme, the company educates and trains farmers on agronomic practices, and provides them with information on Bioseed products. Advisory groups of farmers are also created to provide information on rainfall, crop shifts and yield. Through these extension services, farmers also have the opportunity to provide feedback to the company on their hybrids.
The company provides limited insight into its position and activities related to genetic resources and intellectual property management. As it is important that seed companies contribute to genetic resources and intellectual property management that supports smallholder agriculture, the company could provide more insights into its activities for others to learn from.
Developing improved varieties of global crops While the company has nineteen global field crops and vegetables in its product portfolio, it could disclose more specific information regarding its breeding activities, and whether these crops were developed as part of its own breeding programme or licensed from another company or source.
Local participation in breeding/variety development The company does not disclose whether it informs its breeding programme with feedback from local consumers, traders and smallholder farmers.
Seed production activities in index region Bioseed has seed production activities in India, the Philippines and Vietnam. However, the company has an opportunity to specify whether it involves local players in its seed production activities.
Social and labour rights in seed production The company does not disclose a policy committing to prohibit child and forced labour nor does it disclose a commitment to respect the health and safety of workers, either when seed production is carried out by the company itself or through an intermediary. Furthermore, the company does not disclose whether it pays its workers a living wage or requires its intermediaries to do so.
Packaging and labelling Bioseed offers seed packages in appropriate sizes for smallholder farmers, including 1 kg packages of maize and rice. The company could disclose whether it uses local languages and track and trace systems on its packages to meet the needs of smallholder farmers.
Demonstration and promotion strategies The company holds demonstration programmes in India and provides seeds to farmers to promote its seeds. However, the company could disclose information on its demonstration and promotion strategies in other index countries where it has sales. Furthermore, Bioseed could disclose whether it specifically engages women smallholder farmers with its demonstration and promotion strategies.
Information and communications technology (ICT) and access to output markets The company has an opportunity to offer programmes to advance the use of information and communication technology by smallholder farmers and to improve the access of smallholder farmers to output markets.
Programmes for women farmers and next-generation farmers The company provides extension services in the region but can expand its programmes to target women and next-generation farmers.