Pune-based agri-biotech startup BioPrime is helping farmers grow crops that are resilient to the climate. The company creates bio-molecules that promote optimal plant development and performance, resulting in harvests that can endure severe environmental circumstances.
Over 4,000 farmers in Narayangaon, Maharashtra, Asia’s largest tomato hub, lost their entire crop in 2016. Temperature changes during the flowering season resulted in a low yield.
Renuka Diwan was irritated by this incident. Renuka, a PhD in plant biology, was attending a function in Pune when she learned about the problem. Despite the fact that over 4,000 farmers had lost their entire harvest, people had spent Rs 10,000 on meals at the celebration.
Renuka, along with fellow PhD academics Shekhar Bhosale and Amit Shinde, founded BioPrime in 2016 to address the issue.
The Pune-based agri-biotech business creates bio-molecules that promote optimal plant development and performance while withstanding harsh climates.
Renuka says, “We were astounded at the wide gap that exists between scientific progress and technology advancement and their translation into commercially available resources for farmers.”
The founders recognized the need to assure the efficient operation of plant processes that can survive adverse weather conditions, and thus their journey began.
Farmers in Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Andhra Pradesh are currently using BioPrime products.
“We use tiny biomolecules, either from plants or microorganisms, that target certain processes in plants,” Renuka explains.
These, in turn, have the ability to change how these processes and the facility operate.”
A farmer typically spends between Rs 300 and Rs 500 on the product for a single application.
A farmer can also purchase all of the goods from BioPrime for five to ten percent of the entire input cost. This changes depending on the crop.
It costs between Rs 2,000 and Rs 2,500 for vegetables, and between Rs 5,000 and Rs 6,000 for grapes and sugarcane.
“However, we assess return on investment and cost benefit ratios for farmers as well.”
So, for vegetables, they get roughly Rs 7 to Rs 8 more for every penny spent on us. They earn Rs 17 more for every rupee spent on high-value veggies like brinjal, and Rs 19 more for flowers like chrysanthemum and marigold.
“Similarly, cotton and sugarcane earn Rs 20 for every rupee spent on us,” Renuka explains.
The cost benefit ratio varies depending on the produce and its market value. In general, a farmer earns between Rs 8 and Rs 12 for every rupee spent.
Renuka, Shekhar, and Amit have PhDs in Plant Sciences from the University of Pune in Maharashtra and have extensive experience in respective fields.
Renuka says, “Our team includes people from plant sciences, applied sciences, agriculture, agronomy, biotechnology, microbiology, clinical microbiology, and so on.”
The startup currently has 38 employees divided into research & development, business development, sales and marketing, and production.