California: Arcadia Biosciences, Inc., an agricultural technology company that develops technologies and products benefitting the environment and human health, and Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Company Ltd. (Mahyco) have signed a multi-crop, multi-technology research and commercial license agreement that will enable them to implement it in India and other South Asian countries.
Mahyco will have access to Arcadia’s nitrogen use efficiency (NUE) and salt tolerance technologies in key crops. The advanced agricultural technologies will be implemented in 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 17% of the world’s population, though it occupies just over 2% 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, United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that 221 million people in India, or about one-fifth of the population, are undernourished. Resultantly, there is pressure on farmers to increase agricultural productivity.
Agriculture is 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.
Using this new technology will help 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.
“Nitrogen use efficiency will benefit Indian farmers by providing better yield under existing conditions or leading to lowering of nitrogen fertilizer applications in some areas and still maintaining yields. More and more Indian soils are affected by various abiotic stresses and this technology holds promise to allow cultivation even in these adverse conditions.” said Usha Zehr for Mahyco.