Davis (California), Apr 14 (ANI/Business Wire India): Arcadia Biosciences, Inc., an agricultural technology company focused on developing technologies and products that benefit the environment and human health, and Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Company limited.
(MAHYCO), one of the largest seed companies in India, today announced that they have concluded a multi-crop, multi-technology research and commercial license agreement focused on India and other South Asian countries.
Under the agreement, MAHYCO will have access to Arcadia's Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE) and Salt Tolerance technologies in several key crops in the region.
The comprehensive agreement between Arcadia and MAHYCO involves bringing Arcadia's advanced agricultural technologies to a region that is experiencing rapid population growth and is challenged by difficult agricultural and environmental conditions.
With more than 1.1 billion people, India represents about 17 per cent of the world's population, although it occupies just over 2 per cent of the world's land mass. Based on the current growth rate, India is expected to overtake China in 2030 as the world's most populated country.
Concurrent with this rapid population growth, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that 221 million people in India, or about one-fifth of the population, are undernourished. As such, there is significant pressure on Indian farmers to increase agricultural productivity.
Agriculture is also the second-leading source of global greenhouse gas, and nitrogen fertilizer represents a significant cause of these emissions. Using only existing technologies, Indian farmers will need to claim more land to grow crops, which uses more nitrogen fertilizer and scarce water resources to achieve much-needed higher yields.
Arcadia's NUE technology can significantly reduce nitrogen fertilizer requirements, and Salt-Tolerance technology can reduce the need for fresh water resources for irrigation. The expected result is high-yielding crops with a lower impact on the environment.
"Globally, there are significant challenges associated with providing an adequate amount of food in ways that minimize negative impacts on the environment. India is one of the places where these challenges are evident and require serious action," said Eric Rey, President and CEO of Arcadia.
"MAHYCO's expertise in developing crop varieties for the region and marketing new seed technologies to both large and small South Asian farmers can play a central role in the region's ability to feed its growing population," said Rey.
"The need for South Asian farmers to produce more food to keep pace with population growth will continue to put pressure on local fresh water resources to irrigate crops and increase the need for nitrogen fertilizer, a major global contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Arcadia's technologies enable the development of crops that either reduce agriculture's contribution to climate change or adapt to the stresses that climate change places on agriculture," he added.
"Nitrogen use efficiency will bring great benefits to Indian farmers by providing better yield under existing conditions or leading to lowering of nitrogen fertilizer applications in some areas and still maintaining yields," said Usha Zehr for MAHYCO.
More and more Indian soils are affected by various abiotic stresses and this technology holds promise to allow cultivation even in these adverse conditions. MAHYCO is looking forward to bringing these technologies for the benefit of the Indian farmer," Zehr added.