India emerges as key player in growth and innovation, global vegetable seeds market thrives: S&P GCI

India emerges as key player in growth and innovation, global vegetable seeds market thrives: S&P GCI
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New Delhi, India: The global vegetable seeds market, valued at approximately USD 8 billion in 2022, continues to expand, driven by increasing demand for diverse vegetable varieties worldwide.

According to S&P Global Commodity Insights (GCI), India stands prominently among the top players in this sector, alongside countries such as China, Japan, and the United States.

The vegetable seeds market, characterised by its highly fragmented nature, presents both opportunities and challenges for industry stakeholders.

With over 40 different vegetable crops spanning various categories, species, and families, the market offers niches for companies to establish strong positions.

However, this diversity also poses challenges, particularly in organising and supplying complex product ranges.

Despite these challenges, competition in the vegetable seed market remains intense, with 12 companies boasting annual sales exceeding USD 100 million.

Research and development (R&D) expenditure in the sector is notably high, ranging from 15 per cent to 30 per cent of sales for most companies.

This investment reflects the industry's commitment to innovation and technological advancements, aimed at enhancing crop yields and characteristics such as taste, nutritional value, appearance, and shelf life.

Recent examples of technological innovations include health-centric tomato varieties with higher lycopene content, snackable vegetable brands for on-the-go consumption, and long-lasting tomatoes designed for supermarket shelves.

Hybridization has been a key driver of growth in the vegetable seed market, with 80 per cent-90 per cent of vegetable species now originating from hybrid seeds.

The introduction of hybrid vegetable seeds dates back to the 1930s, paralleling the development of hybrid maize. Today, hybrids dominate the market, offering improved yields and traits desired by growers and consumers alike.

Several factors contribute to the growth of the vegetable seeds market, including trends in domestic consumption, exports, and the expansion of protected agriculture or controlled-environment agriculture.

Protected agriculture, which includes structures ranging from basic polytunnels to sophisticated greenhouses, enhances production intensity and seed prices.

Countries like China, India, Spain, Mexico, and Japan lead in the adoption of protected agriculture, driving higher yields compared to open-field production methods.

India's significant presence in the global vegetable seeds market underscores its importance as a key player shaping industry dynamics.

As the sector continues to evolve, with advancements in technology and shifts in consumer preferences, India and other leading nations remain pivotal in driving innovation and meeting the growing demand for high-quality vegetable varieties worldwide.