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The contribution of international vegetable breeding to private seed companies in India

Crop breeding research by international agricultural research centers usually serves public sector crop breeding, but does it still have a role when research and development have shifted to the private sector? This paper explores this question for vegetables in India using data from 27 private companies and
9 public organizations. We focus on tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) and chili pepper (Capsicum annuum L.)—two of India’s most important vegetables, and the role of international germplasm received from the World Vegetable Center. Results show that as the role of the private sector in vegetable breeding increased, and with it the share of hybrids in the market, the role of international agricultural research shifted from the provision of ready-made varieties to the provision of specific resistance traits. Still, international germplasm continued to be used in varietal development with 11.6 t (14 %of the total market) of hybrid tomato seed and 15.0 t (13 %) of hybrid chili pepper seed sold in 2014 containing international germplasm in its pedigree. We estimate that over half a million farmers use such seed. We conclude that for tomato and chili pepper, international breeding needs to focus on prebreeding research, capacity strengthening of smaller seed companies, and the delivery of open-pollinated varieties for marginal environments.


Schreinemachers P, Rao KPC, Easdown W, Hanson P, Kumar S. 2016. The contribution of international vegetable breeding to private seed companies in India. GENETIC RESOURCES AND CROP EVOLUTION, DOI 10.1007/s10722-016-0423-y