Looking Beyond Domestic Market: Indian Seed Sector

Indian seed industry is one of the most matured and vibrant industries in the global seed market. It is built on foundations of strong public sector commitment to research and development that started in the 1960s under the Green Revolution. Private sector started playing a major role in seed industry only after Seed Act 1988, which lifted many restrictions on seed development and trade. Today, private sector dominates the market with overall 76% share of the Indian seed industry in terms of value.In spite of the fact that Indian seed industry ranks fifth globally with total market size of USD 2.2 billion, share of export market is merely 1% of total the industry size. The huge unexplored domestic market is being projected as a reason for not exploring overseas opportunities. Whatever seed export takes place, it is contributed mostly by intra-company transfers by multinational firms having operations in different parts of the world. Indian seed players are more focused on domestic market and very few of them are exporting to South East Asian countries. Majority of domestic growth is expected to come from improved Seed Replacement Rate (SRR) and adoption of hybrids. However if we consider the last decade, the average SRR at national level has increased only by 10%. The SRR improvement is skewed only towards cash crops (corn, cotton, and vegetables) and secondary crops are still below the national crop SRR average. The hybrid development progress in secondary crops is not happening at desired pace because no farmer is ready to pay premium price for seeds in the absence of a high market price for final produce.In a nutshell, though domestic market exhibits a huge potential, the resources and efforts required to get the same market growth in domestic seed sector will be much more than that of the export seed market. Given this, it is the right time for Indian firms to explore overseas seed markets with focused efforts. South East Asia is already on the radar of many Indian seed firms and Africa, with an exponential growth trajectory, is the next in line.

Major Seed Export-Import markets

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