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.