BioPrime: Priming India for a Revolution in Agriculture Biotechnology

Bio-happiness through the conversion of our bio-resources into wealth meaningful to our rural families should be the goal of our national policy for farmers.

Dr. M. S. Swaminathan

(Father of the Indian Green Revolution)

Inspired by these very words, three young scientists from Maharashtra came together to harness nature in developing effective and affordable next generation agricultural solutions.

A unique startup in the Agri-technology space, BioPrime is designing a wide array of technologies and solutions ranging from boosting the natural immunity of crops to improving pant resilience through microbes and developing nano-molecules which favourably alter the physiological responses of plants.

Quote Dr. Amit Shinde, : “Our objective is to use what nature has already given us. At BioPrime, we just try to help along with processes that already exist in nature – whether it is symbiotic relationships between plants and organisms or developing hybrids based on commercially important traits which are found in wild relatives of plants.”

Quote Dr. Shekhar Bhsole, “In India, a farmer is heavily dependent on nature, whether it is through weather or his plants and crops. We cannot control the weather, so we are trying to help by focussing on the plants.”

The founding members of BioPrime: Dr. Renuka Karandikar, Dr. Shekhar Bhosle, and Dr. Amit Shinde

BioPrime started out in 2015 trying to help fruit farmers around Pune deal with the vagaries of nature. In 2016, BioPrime was awarded the prestigious Biotechnology Ignition Grant (BIG) & Seed fund from BIRAC, DBT, Govt of India for developing new sustainable solutions in Agriculture. It was through this association that they met with the team from the Research and Innovation Circle of Hyderabad (RICH). And since then, there has been no looking back. RICH has worked with BioPrime to help refine their value-proposition, to sharpen their technology offering, in short helping convert their technology solution into a viable commercial product.

One successful collaboration was when RICH introduced the BioPrime team to Delta Agrigenetics, a company engaged in developing proprietary hybrids and crop varieties having superior yield potential, quality and resistance to major pests and diseases. The collaboration not only led to the development of two new formulations that would help farmers monitor their crops, but also helped BioPrime identify and expand to 7 states across India. Currently RICH is facilitating strategic investments into BioPrime from organizations like Prasad Seeds, which will give a big boost to BioPrime’s growth plans.

It is their steady mentorship and advice that has become an integral part of our growth from a start-up into a viable commercial business organization.”

Over the years, RICH has walked with BioPrime in their journey, growing from strength to strength, helping them in their growth plans of reaching new markets, developing new solutions for a wider array of crops. As Dr. Renuka Karandikar, one of the 3 founder-members says, “It was our collaboration with RICH that made us re-examine our product-market fit early on. That our product would have to be adapted to various delivery mechanisms to address different variety of crops. It is their steady mentorship and advice that has become an integral part of our growth from a start-up into a viable commercial business organization.”

Today BioPrime is a growing agri-solutions business, offering multiple patented technology platforms and products. BioPrime products are now available across the country, helping farmers from Maharasthra to UP to Bihar derive maximum yield from their crops. Bhubesh Kumar, Director-Food & Agriculture, RICH who has been mentoring BioPrime says, “BioPrime products are the outcome of incredible research programs. The team has developed nano molecules at the shortest turn-around time, as a quick response to farmers’/market needs. These products are being used by farmers of more than seven states. RICH will continue extending its support to help BioPrime take their products across the country."

IN Dr. Renuka’s words, “As a child I would often visit my grandparents on their farm near Solapur (a rural district of Maharashtra). So, growing up I have seen the struggles of the Indian farmer first-hand. I guess it was those memories which in a way inspired me to pursue my doctorate in Plant Sciences. I wanted to use my education, my expertise to bring back a sense of pride in farming. For my grandparents.”

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