Indian cotton seed maker eyeing Kenyan market

Two years after acquiring a controlling stake in Zimbabwe-based Quton Seed Company, India’s agri biotech major, Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company Limited (Mahyco) is on a mission to introduce hybrid cotton seeds into sub-Saharan Africa, and has already started trials in Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia.

If everything goes according to plan, the company will emerge as a major cotton-seed supplier to the region.

“We are testing our seeds in different ecological zones to see if they are viable,” said Edward Mhandu, the company’s executive director, in an interview.

Contract

In 2013, Mahyco acquired a 60 per cent stake in Quton in a deal worth $10m. The company is planning to use the networks Quton had to position itself as the primary supplier of hybrid -and later Bt-cotton seeds in sub-Saharan Africa.

“Africa is a major cotton growing region, but it does not have hybrid varieties,” said Mhandu.

Tried and tested

 Mahyco, which was founded in 1964, was the first company in the world to successfully commercially hybrid cotton seeds.