Rasi Seeds Plans To Start Contract Farming In Cotton

Chennai, Feb 25 | Updated: Feb 26 2004, 05:30am hrs
Rasi Seeds (P) Ltd, which produces a large variety of cotton and vegetable hybrid seeds and operates a 16,000-spindle spinning mill, is planning to take up contract farming of cotton and to enter knitting and weaving to operate on a rare concept of from lab-to-fashion.

When this plan materialises, we will be a rare entity which would be operating on the entire value chain of textiles, ranging from research and production of seeds to cotton cultivation, spinning and knitting, Mr M Ramasami, managing director told FE.

The company is working on all these fronts. It expects a major breakthrough in its seed business. Rasi is awaiting clearance from the Genetic Engineering Approvals Committee for the large-scale commercial release of its Bt hybrid cotton seeds, incorporating the gene under licence from Monsanto. This would treble its turnover to over Rs 100 crore in two years.

The Salem-based company has completed two-years of limited trials in 425 farms in the permitted six states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. It has submitted the findings to the Committee.

The Indian Council for Agriculture Research (ICAR) has been conducting its own trials of the Bt seeds developed by Rasi. It is expected to submit the findings next month.

If GEAC approved the four varieties of Bt hybrid seeds, we can be in the market in the coming season and from 2005 we will be able to supply one million packets and raise our turnover to over Rs 100 crore, Mr M Ramasami, said.

The only Bt cotton seeds now available for commercial use is supplied by Mahyco Monsanto Biotech India Ltd. Rasi Bt cotton hybrids are more location-specific and in long and extra long staple length category, which are in great demand, Mr Ramasami said.