Ruchi Hi-Rich Seeds, an Indian joint venture of multiple agri companies operating in the country, has developed a non-GMO soyabean seed variety that could increase yields by 50% when compared to currently used strains.

Set up in 2014 by Ruchi Soya, Agrimax, DJ Hendrick International and Agri-India Holdings, the joint venture has developed commercial seed varieties in just three years and is projecting sales of 27,000 tonnes by 2021, which would give it a 10% market share, according to an Oilseed & Grain News report on 18 July.

“The seeds that we have developed outperform the current seeds available, reducing systemic risk,” said Michael Treytiak, managing director at KMDI International and Ruchi Hi-Rich Seed’s fundraising director.

Treytiak said soyabean yields in India were half of those in North America, primarily due to weather abnormalities, poor farming practices and seed genetics.

Seed companies were very fragmented in India and legislation did not allow for the cultivation of GM soyabeans, which Treytiak said was keeping companies such as Monsanto and Syngenta out and opening a lucrative market opportunity for Ruchi Hi-Rich.

The company had already invested nearly US$3M – sourced primarily from private funding – in the project and was now seeking an additional US$3.3M as public investment to bring the seeds to market and develop new varieties.

“We anticipate a three-fold exit multiple returns for investors so that a US$3.3M investment today translates to shares that sell for just under US$10M in five years,” said Treytiak in the Oilseed & Grain News report.

India’s soyabean productivity is less than one third of the world average, with the country producing 11.5M tonnes in 2016 against world production of 346M tonnes.

“Poor availability of good quality seed is the biggest challenge of Indian agriculture, particularly in crops like soyabean,” said D N Pathak, executive director of the Soybean Processors Association of India, when speaking at the OFI India 2017 conference in Mumbai in May.