Bengaluru-based potato seeds firm Utkal Tubers India Pvt. Ltd has raised Rs 10 crore ($1.45 million at current exchange rates) in a fresh funding round from Irish strategic investor IPM Potato Group Ltd.
Through the newly announced partnership with IPM, Utkal has licenced an extensive portfolio of new potato varieties with improved disease resistance and high yield potential, it said in a statement.
About 90% of the potatoes in India are grown in just four states —Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar and Punjab. Farmers from other states typically have to pay 30-40% premium to access potato seeds in time.
“Utkal is addressing this need through research and developing new technologies. It has partnered with IPM to bring high yielding and disease resistant varieties of potato seeds suited to Indian climatic conditions,” said Abhijeet Kudva, managing director at Zephyr Peacock India.
Established in 2017, Utkal operates in seven states across India.
In May 2017, a media report stated that the company had raised Rs 30 crore (around $4.6 million) from Zephyr Peacock India Fund and CapAleph Indian Millennium SME Fund.
Launched in 1950, Dublin-headquartered IPM is a subsidiary of the Donegal Investment Group Plc. It is known to be a global leader in potato breeding and seed potato production and operates in the UK, Holland, France, Portugal and Kenya. With a portfolio of over 30 proprietary potato seed varieties, the company markets and distributes the vegetable to over 45 countries across the globe.
“Utkal’s streamlined operations and strong management team make them like-minded partners for us in the Indian market,” said Marcel de Sousa, IPM director.
Potato is one of the most important food staples in the world with India being ranked as the second largest producer, generating approximately 45 million tonnes per annum.
The vegetable seeds segment in the country has seen a few deals in the past. In January 2016, Siddhivinayak Agri Processing Pvt. Ltd, a Pune-based potato supply chain management company that operates as SV Agri, had raised an undisclosed amount in its Series B round of funding led by impact venture capital firm Lok Capital.
VCCircle reported in 2016 that Hyderabad-based Nuziveedu Seeds Ltd, a private sector seeds company by revenues, was looking to refile documents with markets regulator the Securities and Exchange Board of India to list on the stock exchanges.