Healthy and nutritious food on the plates for everyone and our farmers progressing towards a brighter future – at Monsanto, we are working towards achieving these twin goals!
We’re doing this through sustainable innovations in agriculture that will not only address the global food crises but along the way will also empower our food producers– our farmers. Across our research stations, our scientists spend a lot of time designing solutions using some of the world’s best agriculture technologies. Our in-the-seed-trait technologies help in increasing the yields, improving the farm efficiencies while minimizing the input efforts.
With increasing demand for food and feed, decreasing arable land and changing weather patterns, it is essential for farmers to produce more while conserving natural resources. Our Corn Breeding and Vegetable R&D teams speak about their efforts towards achieving these objectives.
Corn Breeding Team
The goal of corn breeding is to develop products with better adaptation to local environments with higher yields, disease resistance, tolerance to other biotic and abiotic stresses and better quality. This, in turn, translates into better returns for the farmers. Monsanto continues to invest significantly in breeding and discovery to develop products that are suited to local conditions and bring value to farmers.
Monsanto has established two world-class breeding stations at Bangalore and Udaipur for developing corn products using cutting-edge technologies. The corn breeding team works very closely with allied functions like Sales and Technology Development to understand on-field requirements and develop superior high-yielding corn hybrids.
The team enhanced testing footprints across India for better product characterization and placement through mechanization and automation to gather maximum data. This data range across yield parameters, important agronomic traits and diseases and pests that affect crops, is helping the team compare and identify superior hybrids suitable for various agro-climatic zones of India.
HB Hemareddy, Asia Row Crops Breeding Lead, Monsanto, says, “The team has developed and implemented breeding strategies aimed at bringing in step-change improvements in breeding methods, plant health, testing operations and mechanization. We have expanded our scale of testing across the country. Extensive testing not only allows us to categorize our products across regions, it also enables us to provide corn farmers with the best experience.”
Veg R&D Team
The Monsanto Breeding station (MBS) is located about 55 km north of Bangalore. Before the R&D team begins any research, they need to know what they need to deliver. This is mostly because, in vegetables, it is the customer who dictates market requirements.
At the MBS, the Veg R&D team is focused on developing tomato and pepper products that will give higher yields, disease resistance capacity and quality traits. Additionally, these hybrids also have better quality traits such as firmness and shelf life which make them suitable for long distance markets, thus fetching farmers higher market value.
These products have been developed by dedicated & coordinated efforts of breeders, technology scientists & testing teams using advanced scientific tools and technologies.
Prasad Bellur, Asia Technology Deployment Lead, Monsanto, says, “These cutting-edge technologies are enabling vegetable breeders to develop products rapidly that meet the needs of growers and consumers. These innovative products play a key role in improving the lives of all our customers.”
Apart from keeping in mind consumer requirements, the R&D team also develops products that are environment-friendly. And by this, we mean products that reduce the use of chemicals while boosting farmers’ incomes by giving them a higher yield.
The R&D team at Bangalore also conducts focused trialling on some exotic vegetables such as cherry tomatoes, coloured bell peppers, cabbages, cauliflowers, okra and beans, and select the ones that have better adaptability to regional needs.
This isn’t it. Once a year, the team also conducts “Field Days” where they bring together growers, nurserymen, dealers and retailers to discuss what new innovations are coming up and encourage feedback from participants.
After all, what they design is first articulated to us through these very channels.