Since 2006, Advanta has been the global seed enterprise of United Phosphorus Ltd (UPL), an Indian multinational focusing on agricultural inputs. Advanta’s seed portfolio encompasses field crops, vegetables and forage crops. The company considers smallholder farmers its main clientele and is driven by its parent company’s principle of ‘farmer first’. It sells its seed in 64 countries, with 55% of its revenue generated in South and Southeast Asia.

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Global Seed Companies

Summary of results:

Advanta debuts in fifth place in the 2019 Index. It performs well in Intellectual Property, partly due to its smallholderfocused product pricing schemes. In Marketing & Sales, it has demonstration and promotion activities tailored to smallholder farmers, particularly in South and Southeast Asia. Together with its parent company UPL, Advanta offers a range of capacity building activities such as smallholder farmer training and ICT-driven services. In Research & Development, Advanta’s relatively wide portfolio covers many index crops, particularly in South and Southeast Asia. The company’s relatively weak performance in Genetic Resources indicates opportunities to improve.

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Operations in Scope
  • Countries in Scope
  • Company Presence
  • Production Locations
  • Breeding Station/R&D
Index Crops in Portfolio
Sales Seed type Source
la wca esa ssea Hybrid OPV GM Own
from other
Field crops
Rice, paddy
Green bean
Green pea
Pepper (hot)
Leading Practices

    Through an okra assurance scheme in India, Advanta offered smallholder farmers assurance against yellow vein mosaic virus and okra leaf curl virus on its okra hybrid during the peak virus infestation season in 2017, at no extra cost. The scheme is the first of its kind, according to Advanta, as other insurance schemes only protect against weather anomalies. Advanta worked with multiple partners to install weather stations and a digital database to track and maintain crop health and performance.

Areas for Improvement

    Advanta primarily reports on its business activities in South and Southeast Asia. Although it is clear that this index region is the company’s main market, Advanta is encouraged to increase public disclosure of activities in other index regions as well.

    Like most other global companies, Advanta has its own genetic resources collection. However, it is encouraged to collaborate more closely with national and international gene banks, and join other companies in contributing to international arrangements around access and benefit-sharing.

Notable Findings

    Advanta and its parent company UPL report to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through their operations, with a particular emphasis on SDGs 1 (No Poverty) and 2 (Zero Hunger).

    Advanta allocates 20-25% of annual turnover to improving access to seeds for smallholder farmers. Smallholder farmers are considered the company’s main clientele, accounting for 80% of its total sales in 2017 with nearly around 2 million reached.

    The company involves farmer organizations in its seed production activities, with smallholder or marginal farmers making up about 90% of its growers. In India alone, this amounts to about 30,000 smallholder and marginal farmers.

    The company provides formal contracts to seed growers and supports Indian growers financially by giving them an advance of 20-30% of the total production cost. The company organizes preseason meetings and various training programs for growers. In Indonesia, Advanta provides advance loan for inputs.

    In 2017, the Council on Ethics for the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) raised its concerns about the usage of child labor in the agriculture industry in India, including partners of Advanta. In response to the concerns raised, Advanta submitted a reply wherein it reported how it contractually binds its growers, farmers and organizers against the use of child labor. Advanta further reported that it initiated various other programs such as spot checks, local level awareness raising campaigns, as well as encouraging and sponsoring child education, to enable the company to improve its compliance programs and work towards the reduction or eradication of the use of child labor in the industry.

    Parent company UPL supplies a broad range of farming solutions, from seed to protection chemicals. It also provides instructions on the appropriate use of these inputs through its Adarsh Farmer Training program in Assam, India, whereby farmers act as ambassadors to showcase the use of inputs to local villagers.

    Advanta has extensive demonstration and promotion activities throughout South and Southeast Asia. Pre-season, the company organizes awareness-raising activities on the use of hybrid seeds. These include training on nutritional and water requirements and visiting other farms and villages by jeep. Demonstration samples are distributed to farmers in India. Post-season, the company collects feedback from farmers and shares testimonials of product performance.

    In Tanzania, the company partners with Farm Input Promotions (FIPS) Africa to support demonstration farms and field days. About 47 field days have been organized around sunflower hybrids, showcasing the advantages of the hybrid variety. Approximately 35,000 farmers have been reached through the distribution of free sample seed packets.

    The company has developed a mobile application to share information such as best practices, product information and market updates. Currently a pilot targeting about 3,000 Indian farmers, the app is also a way to collect feedback from local farmers through a toll-free call center.

    UPL organizes training programs in India on pest and nutrient management. Through its subsidiary Unimart, farmers can access solutions and guidance on weather, market prices and technical issues via SMS and a call center. Around 1.5 million farmers are registered for this service.

    To help smallholder farmers reach new output markets for sorghum, Advanta collaborates with multiple partners in East Africa. In Kenya, the company partners with breweries to promote hybrid sorghum, while in Uganda, the company works with an oil processor, Mukwano Oil Millers, to promote the crop.