HARARE - DuPont Pioneer Zimbabwe (DPZ) plans to double its seed production to 24 000 tonnes per annum in the next five years.
This comes on the back of United States-based DuPont Pioneer — the second largest seed producer in the world — recently acquiring an 80 percent stake in Pannar Seeds and renaming the local unit to DPZ.
“We will double our current output and plans are underway to put up a bigger warehouse than the one we have,” the group’s agronomist Simbarashe Gawa told businessdaily.
He said DPZ, which also has operations in Zambia, planned to set up processing plants in Mozambique, Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Cameroon.
Gawa pointed out that the shared synergies with Pannar have enabled the group to consolidate more than half of Zimbabwe’s market share.
Other major seed producers in the country include Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed SeedCo Limited.
“We are now in a position to harness our high yielding products with Pannar’s hybrids.
“Here in Zimbabwe, Pioneer is a one product operation, however Pannar has other cereals’ seed varieties,” he said.
Meanwhile, the group did not disclose the terms of Pannar’s acquisition deal.
The transaction, whose negotiations began in 2010, required stringent approvals in a number of countries where the group operates, including South Africa, which initially rejected the takeover.
DuPont is currently expanding its seed business as part of its focus on food and energy.
Combining Pioneer’s high-yielding corn with Pannar’s subtropical, disease-resistant hybrids will help increase yields on the 86 million acres available for corn production in Africa.
“This is about lifting the productivity levels of sub-Saharan farmers,” said Pioneer’s president Paul Schickler recently.
“Combining our research capabilities will deliver those better products faster than either of us could do on our own.”
Corn yields average about 2 tons per hectare in Africa, compared with 7 tonnes in Brazil and 10 tonnes in the United States, Schickler said.
Better seed, fertilisation, weed control and other farming improvements may boost yields on the continent to as much as 6 tonnes a hectare, he said.
Pannar, established in 1958, sells seed directly to farmers in nine African countries, including South Africa, and sells through third parties elsewhere in Africa and in the U.S, Europe and Argentina. — With Bloomberg