Agro seeds are vulnerable to environmental stressors, which can adversely affect crop growth, and crop productivity. New seed treatments offer the possibility of a range of benefits, including enhanced seed germination.
As the global population rises and in the face of growing impacts from climate change, providing enough food for the world will continue to be a critical priority. Currently, around 90% of food crops are grown from seed. As such, the agricultural industry has an increasingly important role to play. But it also faces challenges from increased regulatory threats and rising scrutiny on sustainability issues.
We were approached by a major international seed company with a leading position in several markets that was facing growing pressure from bans on common and effective chemical seed treatments. The client also had a strategic need to improve its sustainability performance.
Our client wanted to assess the effectiveness of new approaches to improve seed treatment (particularly nano-enhanced seed treatments). This was a complex and unfamiliar technology area for our client, so we assembled an expert team to help determine the best strategy to pursue for their entry into this emerging technology area.
By working with our client’s R&D leadership, we agreed the goals for this possible technology portfolio expansion and the scope of the investigation. Next, we assembled a team of technology and industry experts, including those with expertise in novel agrochemical formulations, environmental safety, and agrochemical product development. We also sought experts from adjacent industry segments—including food science and pharmaceuticals—to ensure that we evaluated relevant technologies not be widely known in the agricultural sector.
Our project team performed a global investigation of all relevant technology sub-areas to identify, characterise, and evaluate nearly 80 individual technologies across a range of technology readiness levels. These were analysed and quantitatively benchmarked to extract the most relevant insights. Using this, we made recommendations on the most promising directions for investments, and research and development work. Our team’s assessment also considered the potential risks associated with specific technologies, and reasoning for recommending strategic directions During the project delivery process, our project leaders and experts also participated in a client workshop to advise and collect more feedback.
Our work gave our client’s research and development leadership team analysis and actionable advice on nanotechnology-based seed treatments, informing our client’s next steps in this innovative area.