SeedCo Zim targets 275pc maize growth

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s largest seed producer, SeedCo, says it is targeting to increase maize production in the smallholder sector by 275 percent from the current 0,8 tonnes to 3,0 tonnes.

SeedCo Zimbabwe managing director Denias Zaranyika said increasing agricultural productivity remains a central concern for the company.

“This is because it is a major factor in determining the level of income of the farming sector; in achieving sustainable food and income security for all agricultural producers and consumers, particularly for resource-poor households,” he said at a media luncheon in Harare on Wednesday.

Agricultural productivity has become very important in the country in meeting food requirements of continually growing population and in generating foreign exchange to finance domestic programmes.

“From a research and development point of view, our main focus area has always been that in order to improve livelihoods and income, adoption of hybrid seeds is a prerequisite. SeedCo’s future has always looked exciting and one thing we do better is research which gives us farmer insights as well as informing us about possible future farmer and consumer behaviour and eating habits,” Zaranyika said.

“Through research and breeding programmes, we have amply justified why everybody should work towards 100 percent hybrid maize adoption in Zimbabwe,” he added.

Zaranyika further indicated that SeedCo’s next stage challenge is to commercialise the smallholder sector, so that together with the Command Farming Programme targeted at A2 and large-scale commercial farmers, the country can become self-sufficient and produce extra maize for exports.

“Achieving this entails that everything that our farmers in the smallholder sector do — from planning to planting and harvesting to marketing — they must always bear in mind that they are in business and that they must get a profit from their labour,” he said.

SeedCo, which is committed to supporting economic growth and poverty reduction through agricultural development in Zimbabwe, said it remains upbeat about the country’s future prospects.

“The future of agriculture in Zimbabwe is very bright, mainly because the country is endowed with key comparative advantages that include conducive climatic and soil conditions.

“That coupled with a highly literate human resource base should take Zimbabwe to another level of agricultural productivity and food self-sufficiency,” Zaranyika said.

SeedCo develops and markets certified crop seeds, mainly hybrid maize seed, but also cotton seed, wheat, soya bean, barley, sorghum and ground nut seed.

Most of the company’s hybrid and non-hybrid cereals and oil crop seed varieties are proprietary, having been developed and bred at our research stations through market-oriented research and breeding programmes.