Mr. Raju Barwale has been associated with Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Company Pvt. Ltd. (Mahyco) since 1978, and has recently taken over as Executive Chairman from February 2018.
Founded in 1964, Mahyco is the flagship company of the Barwale Group and a leading and one of the most respected agri-biotech companies in the country today. It was founded by Dr. B.R. Barwale to address the gaps in quality seed development in India, a vision that has been furthered and refocused since Mr. Barwale took over as Executive Chairman.
Mr. Barwale’s foresight was the driving force behind Mahyco’s partnership with Monsanto in the 1990s in order to introduce Bt technology into Indian agriculture. Mr. Barwale was convinced that the technology would help farmers successfully counter the bollworm scourge in cotton crops, a belief that is borne out by the results shown in Bt cotton. In 2002, Mahyco became the pioneer to introduce India’s first and largely successful biotech crop – Bt cotton. By 2010, India had become the second largest producer of cotton in the world with more than 93 percent of cotton cultivation being Bt cotton. This was possibly the 2nd most significant event in the history of Indian agriculture after the Green Revolution. India became a net exporter of cotton from being a net importer prior to the introduction of Bt technology.
Bt brinjal is another important application of this breakthrough technology by Mahyco under the leadership of Mr.Barwale, and one that was poised to be the first GM food for India. It passed several important regulatory requirements with a great promise in controlling the fruit and shoot borer (FSB) pest, a common yield-reducing affliction in brinjal plants.
Mr.Barwale has helped build and nurture the exciting research pipeline at Mahyco laboratories. The company is now focusing on developing and applying molecular marker technology, which requires less research time and allows products to be brought to market faster. Mr. Barwale has also initiated research work on drought and salinity resistant crops, disease and pest resistance, improved weed management, and nitrogen-use efficient crops.
Mr. Barwale’s success in steering Mahyco’s course and positively impacting the hybrid seed industry have gained him international and national recognition. In 1994, he was appointed a member of the Oil and Fibre Seed Section Committee of I.S.F. Switzerland. He was also a member of the Joint Apex Committee of the Indo-Swiss collaborations on Biotechnology, a collaborative effort of the governments of India and Switzerland. In addition, he was a member of the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Authority (PPV & FRA) within the Indian Ministry of Agriculture and The National Agricultural Innovation Project, under the aegis of the Government of India and the World Bank.
Mr. Barwale is on the Board of Directors of several companies and trusts. He has traveled extensively, is an active Rotarian and has held many positions in Rotary International.