Nuziveedu Seeds focuses on the breeding, production and marketing of genetically modified cotton, hybrid field crop and hybrid vegetable varieties. Founded in 1973 in India, Nuziveedu Seeds is the first company in the NSL Group to have expanded into other commodities (sugar and cotton) and business areas (textiles, power, infrastructure and real estate). Nuziveedu Seeds exports to international markets within South and South-East Asia, the Middle East and Eastern and Southern Africa.
Developing improved varieties of global crops and breeding programme for specific traits
Nuziveedu Seeds has its own breeding programme in India and develops hybrid varieties of both vegetable and field crops suitable for smallholder farmers in the region. The company’s breeding programme includes the development of traits that are particularly important for smallholder farmers, such as resistance to biotic and abiotic stress. The company also focuses on incorporating resistance and tolerance to regionally important pests and diseases, such as brown planthopper and blast disease.
Quality management in seed production in index countries
To ensure quality, the company has an internal management system that covers all of its seed production in index countries. It discloses that in addition to standard production inspections, its quality assurance team inspects seed crops individually at important phases of hybridisation operations. The company further discloses that its seeds must also pass two main quality assurance tests: the Seed Test Laboratory (STL) and the Grow-Out Test (GOT).
The company undertakes stakeholder engagement activities with crop research organisations such as the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) on topics like breeding and product development. However, the company could disclose how it identifies its most relevant stakeholders.
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.
Local participation in breeding/variety development
The company could disclose more information on how it uses feedback from local consumers, traders and smallholder farmers to inform its breeding programme, beyond its marketing and sales activities, and specifically, how it incorporates the feedback and preferences of women farmers in the region.
Nuziveedu Seeds only performs variety trials in India, one of four index countries where it is active, on crops from its own breeding programmes and portfolio and other breeding programmes, such as those of other companies or public research institutes. The company could consider extending its variety trials to other countries in the region where it is active.
Seed production activities in index region
The company has seed production locations in India and involves local seed growers in its production activities. However, it has an opportunity to provide examples of how local players are involved in its seed production.
Engaging smallholder farmers in seed production
The company involves smallholder farmers in its seed production activities but does not provide information on whether it offers them formal contracts. However, it has the opportunity to provide smallholders with formal contracts that include favourable arrangements for them on product prices and sharing profits and risks.
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.
Quality and safety of varieties
Nuziveedu Seeds has an International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) accredited laboratory. However, the company can disclose its protocols for registering new varieties in index countries.
While the company offers four or more varieties for the majority of crops in its portfolio in India, it can disclose more about its country-specific portfolios of other index countries where it has sales. Additionally, the company can disclose whether it offers open-pollinated varieties (OPVs) in addition to hybrids.
Nuziveedu Seeds provides a number of training sessions for farmers as part of the “Subeej Krishi Vignan” project. Farmers are educated on the newest developments in crop production technology, crop agronomy, pest and disease management, weed management, and post-harvest management by the marketing and extension teams. Through the Mandava Foundation, the company helps smallholder farmers create higher yields by teaching them about agricultural research breakthroughs. Nuziveedu Seeds, on the other hand, has the opportunity to expand its extension services to new nations in the region and monitor the number of smallholder farmers reached through their programmes.
Information and communications technology (ICT) and access to output markets
The company has the opportunity to offer programmes to advance the use of ICT by smallholder farmers and to improve the access of smallholder farmers to output markets.