High Level African delegation Study Tour to India in 2013:

Bejo Sheetal Bioscience Foundation (BSF), India & The Energy Research Institute (TERI) of India in collaboration with Michigan State University, USA organized study tour for fourteen African high level delegation including Ministers of Science & Technology and privatization from Burkina Faso, Ghana and Uganda with the support of NEPAD-ABNE (New Partnership for African development in African Biosaftey Network Enterprises). Tour was scheduled during 20th to 30th October 2013.  The delegation arrived in Delhi on 20th October, TERI organized interaction meeting with regulatory officials, scientists and entrepreneurs in Delhi. Visit to Rasi seeds and fields organized by TERI, (from 21st -24th October 2013). Delegation arrived in Aurangabad on 24th January. BSF organized the visit of delegation to Nath Seeds Aurangabad on 25th October, shared their experience about Bt. Cotton along with field visit to see the cotton trials.

BSF organized interaction meet with Chamber of Marathwada Industry and Agriculture (CMIA) and Marathwada Association of Small Scale Industries & Agriculture at WelcomHotel Rama International, Aurangabad. . Shri. Sureshji Agrawal, Shri. Sameer Agrawal welcomed by felicitating all the dignified delegates including Ministers. Dr. Karim Maredia led the team on behalf of Michigan State University of USA. Shri Sameer Agrawal briefed about the activities of Bejo Sheetal and Kalash Seeds, India. Dr. Mazumdar informed about activities of BSF. Shri Milind Kank and Mr. Sunil Bhosale enlightened about the activities of CMIA & MASSIA. More than 40 Industrialists from Aurangabad region participated in the meeting. Dr. C.D. Mayee, Ex Chairman ASRB presented his views about Journey of Indian Agriculture Biotechnology. He has explained about the history of Bt Cotton Biosafety studies and commercialization process.

Dr. Diren Makinde, Director of African Biosafety Network Expertise, shared the views and briefed about the requirement of African countries. Mr. Aston Kajara appreciated the private sector initiative in India. He himself works as Finance Privatization Ministry in Uganda. Mr. Gnissa Konate expressed his views and was eager to establish the linkage between India and Africa.  Dr. Mushaibu, Minister of Environment and science was keen about the biosafety regulation models in India, their implementation and concerns also discussed.

Mr. Nandkishore Kagliwal, Chairman and Mr. Satish Kagliwal, Managing Director, Nath group witnessed the meeting and discussed about India scenario of Bt Cotton. Program was conducted by Dr. Nandkumar Kunchge, Director BSF.

Training cum Internship Program, for Agriculture Biotechnology Graduates: (2015-16)

Twelve students of College of Agril Biotechnology, Georai Tanda, Aurangabad have participated in Three-month training-cum internship program at Bejo Sheetal Bio-Science Foundation, Jalna. Prof. Keshav Zote, Principal of the college was shown keen interest for giving opportunity to have exposure to biotch tools and new technologies. Accordingly the individual topics were allotted to students in the area of molecular biology, plant disease diagnostics, plant tissue culture.

Objective for individual topics were defined & accordingly experiments were initiated with the help of BSF scientists. The guidance was provided by Dr. Vipin Permar, Mr. Datta Awachar, Mr. Hemant Kadam and other colleagues from BeejSheetal Research Pvt. Ltd. Theory presentations also organized for the student knowledge enhancement about the subject. Literature review, Sample collection, experimentation, result recording, data analysis, etc. done on individual case basis. Individual Thesis were written by students and submitted to college after the BSF approval. During this program students shown keen interest in learning the topics and deeply involved with hard work. The training/thesis work has been appreciated by University representative.     

National Symposium on Edible Alliums:

Three days 2nd National Symposium on Edible Alliums: “Challenges and future strategies for sustainable production” organized during 7-9 December 2016 by Indian Society of Alliumas, National Research Centre for Onion and Garlic, (NRCOG), Rajgurunagar Maharashtra and Bejo Sheetal Bioscience Foundation. Partially supported by BeejSheetal research Pvt. Ltd., National Horticulture Research & Development Foundation, Delhi, NABARD Bank, Pune Maharashtra State Agriculture market Board, Pune, National Horticulture Board, Jain Irrigation Pvt. Ltd., Sanghar Exporter, Jindal Seeds, Prashant Seeds and Panchaganga seeds.

The symposium Inaugurated by Dr. Charuddatt Mayee, Ex ASRB Chairman, in presence of  Shri Suresh Agrawal, Chairman BSF, Dr. Kishan E Lawande, acting Director Dr. Vijay Mahajan and Dr. N. P. Singh, Director for Draught Research Institute, Baramati. During this inaugural program “The Lifetime achieving award was given to Shri Jain, Jain Irrigation Pvt. Ltd. Jalgaon and the best contribution for Onion breeding and productivity improvement by breeders from the public and private institutions, progressive farmers were appreciated by giving them best performer award. All the dignitaries expressed their views about the progress made in Onion research, production, storage, distribution and export related issues and also discussed about the challenges of near future. In opinion of Shri K.E. Lawande, there is great scope for onion improvement in India for increasing the productivity, by using F1 hybrid seeds, improving agronomical practices and by adapting improved storage systems.

Technical presentations were continued after the inaugural program, Dr. S.K. Pathak, Dr. Veeregouda from IIHR, Dr. Mahajan, DORG, Rajgurunagar, Scientist from Japan, Dr. Nandkumar from BeejSheetal Research Pvt. Ltd. and scientists from various institutes, companies presented their views. Dr. Venkateshvarulu, Vice Chancellor of Dr. Vasantrao Naik Marathwada Agriculture University chaired one session and expressed his views about research requirements in processing, agronomy, storage. Dr. Y.S. Nerkar, Ex-vice Chancellor, Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth Rahuri also chaired one session and he has breiesd about the farmer’s problems, and necessity of integrating the technology along with good quality hybrid seeds availability.

The progressive farmers, scientists, NHRDF, market committee officials discussed the future action plan for onion productivity improvement, research directions required and need of herbicide tolerant Onion, etc. in the panel discussion chaired by Shri Suresh Agrawal, Chairman, BSF and Life Time Achievement awardee of Allium Society, Dr. K.E. Lawande answered the questions of farmers. The program was concluded with a positive note of keeping good follow up with all related institutes and organizations. Also, Private company contribution with new initiatives of public-private partnership is encouraged.

India Tour of African delegation for studying Indian GM crop Experience 2016:

After the successful visit of High level African delegation during 2013 to various seed companies in Aurangabad and Hyderabad, Michigan State University (MSU) pleased to support Bejo Sheetal Bioscience Foundation (BSF) for organizing the India tour of African delegation in 2016. The African Biosaftey Network Enterprise, in collaboration with MSU visited India during 21st to 28th of January 2016. The Energy Research Institute (TERI) & BSF hosted the delegation in Delhi & Aurangabad/Hyderabad region respectively. The delegation was led by Dr. Karim Maredia, Prof. Michigan State University, accompanied by Dr.Dilrukshi Hashini, Assistant Prof. MSU, USA. From BSF Dr. Nandkumar Kunchge, Director accompanied by Dr. Vipin Permar & Dr. Shashikant Bandewar.

Visit to Nath Seeds Pvt. Ltd. Aurangabad :

The African High level delegation participants were from eleven countries of Africa i.e. Namibia, Kenya, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Zambia, Swaziland, Uganda, Euthopia, Tanzania, Nigeria & Togo.  Arrived in Delhi and visited TERI and had discussion with Central regulatory officials and travelled to Aurangabad on 21st January 2016. On 22nd January delegation visit was organized to visit the Nath Seeds Pvt. Ltd. Presentations were done by Dr. S.K. Raina and other team research team members of the company. Mr. Satish Kagliwal, Managing Director, briefed about the company activities and shared the experience of Chinese Bt cotton development and commercialization. Further the delegation visited the cotton research farm of company to see the various programs of cotton research. From Bejo Sheetal Bioscience foundation Dr. Vipin Permar accompanied the delegation.

Visit to Mahyco Seeds Ltd., Jalna:  

The delegation visited the Mahyco facilities at Dawalwadi premises Jalna on 23rd January 2017. Dr. Usha Zher Barwale briefed about the company activities and also shared the experience of Bt Cotton commercialization in India. The first company to join the hands with Monsanto in India and to pass through all regulations for commercialization of Bt Cotton in 2002. Dr. Bharat Char, Biotech Lead presented the new technologies developed by Mahyco, which are in pipeline for regulatory clearance. The tour was coordinated by Dr. Shashikant Bandewar, advisor, Bejo Sheetal Bioscience Foundation.

Visit to Bejo Sheetal Bioscience Foundation, Jalna:

Delegates visited Bejo Sheetal Bioscience Foundation, Jalna on 23rd January 2016, saw the wet lab facilities for hands on training, tissue culture activities, and foundation activities. Chairman Shri Sureshji Agrawal briefed about the seed Industry development history since last 50 years. Mr. Rathi, Mr. Bale  President & Member of Maharashtra Seed Association briefed about their seed business models, seed production process and experience of Bt Cotton, royalty system, Government control etc. Shri Sameer Agrawal briefed about the Foundation activities, and discussions interactions were done mostly on seed business modules, and how Indian Agriculture is taking shape, what would be the opportunities in Africa and also near future demands, collaboration models also discussed & explored the possibilities, exchanged business contacts for future communications.

Visit to BeejSheetal Research Pvt. Ltd. and Kalash Seeds Pvt. Ltd.:

BeejSheetal Research facility visit organised for delegation, GM crop development programs were explained by Dr. Nandkumar and molecular marker technology applications in plant breeding programs briefed by Dr. Prashant Firke, Pathology & Cell biology program implementation and priority programs for breeding also discussed. Dr. Vipin Permar explained about viral disease screening methods applied in seed Industry.

Kalash Seeds organises crop show every year, the standing crops were shown to the delegates, the model of crop show and farmers feedback system briefed by Shri Sameer Agrawal, Managing Director, Kalash Seeds, delegates were excited to see the large number of varieties in Chili pepper, Tomato, eggplants and other exotic crops. About 2200 different crop hybrids or varieties were available to see live crops. The delegation interaction was with interesting questions and seen huge opportunities in Africa to work with India in various crops like chilli, Tomato, Onions, etc. Further the delegation visited to Processing facilities to seed the quality assurance, cleaning, processing, packaging systems of vegetable seeds. Research trials and seed production of vegetables, at farm level was also seen by delegates at Jalna.

Experience of Bt Cotton analysis and diagnostic of Bt Protein in the laboratory and field was presented by Dr. Jayant  Bhanushali, CEO of Amar Immunological diagnostics, who has two decades of experience in Bt cotton and other GM crop testing. He has also distributed the Bt Cotton diagnostic kits to the delegates to conduct simple test in the field without the requirement of laboratory.

Meeting with Scientist, Bt Cotton Stakeholder, Industrialist at Hyderabad:

Group meeting organized by BSF at Hotel Taj Banjara, Hyderabad for the high level African delegation on 25th January 2016 for sharing the GM crop development, deployment and impact of the technology in India. Dr. P. Anand Kumar, Ex Director, National Research centre for Plant Biotechnology, ICRA, Delhi presented an overview, history of GM crop development in India, his experience in various crops and traits as scientist. He has very well described about Indian scenario of GM crop research and the required guidelines of Govt. of India  to be followed for research. Dr. Bhagirath Chaudhary, Founder Director, South Asia Biotechnology Centre presented the Indian scenario of GM crop commercialization with Global perspective, Experience of India, impact on various components of society, technologies in pipeline and what is the future of GM technologies in India. Interactive discussion was also done and African delegation took active participation in this meeting.

Mr. S.K. Gupta, CEO of J.K. Seeds presented the Indigenous Bt Cotton development experience of J.K. Seeds and the regulatory process, deployment of this technology in India. The company experience in regulatory process, commercialization in presence of multinational product, the challenges and perspective was discussed in depth. De. Elango Van Mani, Lead vegetable breeding, Advanta Seeds Pvt. Ltd. Hyderabad also shred his experience as scientist working on GM crop development program in vegetable trait development. He has also presented the past & present ongoing GM projects undertaken, their current status and future scope of these technologies in India.

Dr. Nandkumar, Principal Scientist BeejSheetal Research Pvt. Ltd. presented the experience of working with public Institute for developing GM crops, the history and current status of Bt. Brinjal development indigenously, Transgenic Onion development using Michigan State University licensed technology, GM vegetable products developed and their scope for deployment was discussed. Mr. Dushyantsingh Baghel, CEO of Nucleome Pvt. Ltd. Hyderabad presented the company profile and their contribution in the field of genomic studies for public institute and private Industry in India. The modules of their projects and services provided for the genomic, sequencing studies with various institutions also discussed. Mr. Dushyant Singh shared his experience with public and private scientists, scope of genomic studies in GM and Non GM crop studies also discussed in details with question & answer session.

Visit to Advanta Seeds Pvt. Ltd. facilities:

Dr. Elango Van Mani co-ordinated the visit, all the delegates visited to the Biotech research Facilities at ICICI Knowledge park, briefed about the GM projects undertaken and the products in pipeline. The presentations were done by his colleagues and shared the programs undertaken for the research, quality assurance, International marketing. Round table meeting was also done for interaction and discussion on the current efforts of Advanta in Africa, future opportunities. Priority requirements of African countries and crops of interest briefed by African delegation country representatives

Round table discussion:

Dr. Karim Maredia the team leader chaired the round table discussion accompanied by Dr. Hashini & Dr. Nandkumar. The Network meeting was organized on 26th January at Hotel Taj Banjara with the objective to strengthen the association & explore possibilities of working further for India Africa Alliance.  All delegates from Africa briefed about their country priority crop & traits of interest. Interactions were made how to proceed further for the possible collaborations; Seed samples were also requested to undertake some trials.

Michigan State University, USA high level official’s team visited BSF:

Dr. Karim Maredia, International advisor of BSF & Director World Technology Access Program at Michigan State University (MSU) of USA organized a visit of very high level officials to Bejo Sheetal Bioscience Foundation on 17th of January 2017. The major objective of the visit was to review and strengthen the collaboration between BSF, India and MSU, USA. The following high level officials accompanied by Dr. Karim Maredia the team leader.

  1. Steven Hanson: Dean of International Studies & Program, MSU
  2. Douglas Buhler: Director Ag-Bio Research & Assistant Vice President of Research & Graduate Program of MSU
  3. Jeffrey Dwyer: Associate Dean for Innovation & Community Partnership, MSU
  4. Sanjay Gupta: Dean International Business School & Eli Board college of business, MSU
  5. Karim Maredia: Director, World Technology Access Program, MSU

Shri Suresh Agrawal, Chairman Bejo Sheetal Bioscience Foundation, Shri Sameer Agrawal & Shri Kamal Zunzunwala, Director BSF welcomed, felicitated all the guests at Bejo Sheetal Bioscience Foundation. Dr. Nandkumar made a tour to facilities of Foundation, briefed about training arrangements, Plant Tissue Culture laboratory, crops being handled for micro propagations, purpose of the program &  and New Cell biology research laboratory activities. Discussed about the modules of training programs, capacity building activities, workshops, Conferences, Symposium and other social activities undertaken till now since the association with Dr. Karim Maredia and Michigan State University.  The success and limitations were also discussed for improvements in the program and the ideas of the MSU team.

Visit of MSU officials to BeejSheetal Research Pvt. Ltd.:

MSU high level officials visited BeejSheetal  research laboratories at it office and understood about the research programs being implemented for crop improvement, application of double haploid techniques & cell biology, molecular marker research and its role in crop improvement  & quality assurance. Also further the team was keen to see the breeding program of company in polyhouse and field. Visited to DRS farm and seen the breeding program of capsicum, eggplant & Tomato in polyhouse. Interacted with crop breeders, Shri Sureshji Agrawal explained about the potential of  our programs and team was shown keen interest in working together through new collaborations.

Round tour to Kalash Seeds Pvt. Ltd. crop show & seed processing unit:

Shri Sameerji Agrawal accompanied the team to show them the crops show of Kalash seeds pvt. Ltd. at its head office premises. Briefed about the program objective, farmers role and how it is important in enhancing the social awareness about the vegetable cultivation, importance of each crop in our kitchen, variety showcase, exotic crops, etc. The team appreciated about the initiative to invite the school college student participation in this show case or crop show, to create interest and awareness for the students in Indian agriculture.

Interactions for formulation of International Agribusiness course: 

Interactive meeting was organized by BSF to explore the launching of International agribusiness course in collaboration with Michigan State Univeristy, USA. Dr. Karim briefed about the association of S.P. Jain group with Dr. Sanjay Gupta at MSU. Shri Sameerji also informed about his involvement and contacts with S.P. Jain group of Mumbai. Dr. Nandkumar proposed to work on various modules  of short term agribusiness course to be designed targeting the aspirant entrepreneurs, the beginners’ or start up’s, next generation entrepreneur started their carrier with parents. It is planned to launch the three month agribusiness course by for 2018. Shri Sureshji showed keen interest in this program. Dr. Y. S. Nerkar, Ex. Vice Chancellor of MPKV Rahuri also given his inputs for working on different modules to be proposed to MSU, high level officials of MSU were positive for this collaboration and shoed keen interest in this course module. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Dr. Steven Hanson, Dr. Douglas Buhler, Dr. Jeffery and Dr. Karim Maredia enthusiastically contributed by giving their ideas and concerns about for strengthening the association with BSF.

Visit of His Excellency Ambassador of Netherlands (India) & Hon’ble Minister of Agriculture (Maharashtra) to BSF

On the occasion of New Cell Biology Laboratory inauguration at BeejSheetal Research Pvt. Ltd. on 10th October 2016 His Excellency Mr. Alphonsous Stolinga, Embassy of Netherlands India along with  Mr. Anand Krishnan, Secretary to Netherlands Embassy and Hon. Minister of Agriculture (Maharashtra) Shri. Pandurangji Phundkar visited Bejo Sheetal Bioscience Foundation, seen all facilities of BSF, BeejSheetal Research Pvt. Ltd. & Kalash Seeds Pvt. Ltd. Mr. Alphonsous was shown keen interest in understanding the training & capacity building activities of BSF, the projects of commercial plant tissue culture and new cell biology laboratory. He has spent almost a complete day with Shri Sureshji Agrawal and expressed his gratitude of having this opportunity to learn the Indian business modules, role of company in social corporate responsibility. He has also shared his knowledge and views about the country India and guided how to strengthen the collaboration between India and Netherlands in various fields.

His Excellency Mr. Alphonsous  also met and interacted with various dignitaries participated in inaugural function, had an hour long discussion with Dr. Kirti Singh, Ex ASRB, Chairman, Prof. B.A. Chopade, Vice Chancellor of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University, Aurangabad, business icons of Jalna, Dr. Bhagirath Chaudhary, Founder Director, SAPB, Delhi. Mr. John Pieter, CEO of Bejo Netherlands, Dr. Shelly Praveen, Head Biochemistry division, IARI, Delhi, Dr. K.E. Lawande, Ex Vice Chancellor of Dapoli Agriculture University, Mr. Satish Kagliwal, Managing Director, Nath Bio-Gene, and other dignitaries.

Before visiting to BSF, His Excellency Mr. Alphonsous visited BeejSheetal Research Pvt. Ltd. biotech laboratory facilities, Kalash Seeds processing facilitates and Chilly research trial and BSS farm on way. He has shown keen interest in understanding the applications of biotech programs in plant breeding and role in final product development, about vegetable seed Industry in India and praised about the long term association with Bejo Netherlands. He has appreciated about the strong collaboration of bejo Netherlands & BeejSheetal for last thirty years and complimented Shri Sureshji Agrawal and Shri Sameer Agrawal for successful venture.

Shri Raosaheb Danve, President BJP, Maharashtra State and Prof. B.A. Chopade, Vice Chancellor, Dr. BAMU along with His Excellency Mr. Alphonsous visited to plant tissue culture facility at BSF. Dr. Nandkumar briefed about the purpose of tissue culture activity, capacity of laboratory and farmers connectivity through providing the quality disease free planting material.  Also discussed about training programs being undertaken at BSF using plant tissue culture facilitties. Further His Excellency has been accompanied by Hon. Minister of Agriculture, Shri. Pandurangj Phundkar and Shri Raosaheb Danve for inaugural program of New Cell Biology Laboratory. After formal inauguration the Cell Biology Laboratory facilitates were understood by dignitaries and had tour to all areas of new laboratory facilities including new plant growth chambers, working laboratory, plant tissue culture room, etc.

Inaugural function of New Cell Biology Laboratory: Inauguration of new laboratory was done at the Hands of His Excellency Mr. Alphosous Stolinga in presence of Guest of Honor Shri. Pandurangji Phundkar, Shri. Raosahebji Danve & Mr. John Pieter, CEO, Bejo Zaden, Netherlands. All these dignitaries addressed the gathering of about thousand people participated. Shri Sureshji Agrawal, Shri. Sameer Agrawal, Shri. Kamalji Zunzunwala felicitated the guests, Dr. Nandkumar Kunchge and his team made all necessary arrangements of visit and inauguration ceremony.

Visit to Bejo Sheetal Bioscience Foundation, Bejo Sheetal Seeds Pvt. Ltd. at Jalna.

All the delegates were invited to Jalna and visited the BSF facility, Crop demonstration field visit also brought liveliness to this conference participants interacted with crop breeders to understand the importance & package of practices etc. The special presentation (Key note lecture) “Designer Rice for Unfavourable Ecosystem” was arranged at Bejo Sheetal Seeds Pvt. Ltd. Jalna  by Dr. Swapan Datta, DDG, Crop science, ICAR, Delhi. Delegates also visited True Potato Seed Production Farm at Jalna in the evening.

Regulatory, IPR, PPV FRA and PPP discussions and presentations were carried out on 4th day of conference. Prof. Karim Maredia delivered lecture on PPP partnership initiative & experience of MSU in technology transfer. Dr. Mauria ICAR, Delhi briefed about the IPR, PVP & PPP issues & ICAR-perspective. Dr. Vibha Ahuja shared experience on “Current regulatory & Biosafety scenario in India related to GM crops. Dr. Vibha Dhavan of TERI presented PPP model impact on Agriculture growth in India. Mr. Nandkumar Kunchge shared experience of “Bejo Sheetal in PPP” On disease identification and management tools Dr. Anupam Verma, IARI & Dr. Jayant Bhanushali from Amar Immunodiagnostics shared the experience.

Government-Farmer-Industry Interactions was organized on 4th day of conference by inviting the progressive farmers. Shri. Govind Joshi shared the experience and issues of common farmer. Dr. Swapan Datta, DDG, ICAR, Dr. Kirti Sing, Dr. Y.S. Nerkar Ex. Vice Chancellor, MPKV Rahuri and Shri Nandkishore Kagliwal, Chairman Nath Seeds, Aurangabad addressed the questions of farmers and guided for better and sustainable farming systems.

Concluding session was conducted by President of Conference Dr. Kirti Singh, Mr. Vijay Page presented Jalna-Aurangabad declaration, Dr. Mazumdar presented the recommendations of the conference and Dr. Kirti Singh delivered the presidential lecture and addressed the house. Awards were presented for the winners of poster presentation, best oral presentations. Program was concluded by vote of thanx given by Shri Kamal Zunzunwala, Director Bejo Sheetal Bioscience Foundation.