Govt lauds SeedCo

HARARE - Deputy Agriculture minister Vangelis Haritatos has commended seed manufacturer, SeedCo, for complementing government efforts to improve food security in the country.

Government has rolled out numerous programmes over the past decade in a bid to bring up the country’s agricultural production, which was significantly affected by the land reform programme at the turn of the millennium.

“…that government programmes are often affected by budgetary constraints is an open secret,” Haritatos said this year’s edition of SeedCo’s 11-tonne Plus Club ceremony last week.

In the circumstances, I wish to implore SeedCo, as Zimbabwe’s largest seed house to continue to impart among our farmers the disciplines of soil management and good agronomic practices,” the deputy minister said.

“As government, we are quite pleased that in the area of continued genetic improvement in crop varieties, which is also a vital element, SeedCo has acquitted itself very well and is second to none.

“The performance of some of your products such as SC727, speaks volumes to the valour of your research and development programmes,” he added.

Haritatos noted that the 11-toone club had an impact on grain production and competitive spirit among our farmers.

“Not only have we been able to replenish our strategic grain reserves, but the number of people achieving 11-tonnes plus per hectare, nearly more than doubled between last year and this year.

“This is the catalyst that we want, and for this I would most sincerely want to thank SeedCo for organising and running with this initiative.

“It is not lost on me that this initiative, is one of many others that SeedCo undertakes, including but not limited to supplying a package of solutions to farmers, with the aim of improving farmer productivity,” he said.

The contest targets farmers with 10 hectares under maize and the minimum requirement is that each farmer produces 11 tonnes per hectare using any of the SeedCo maize varieties.

“To pursue the fastest and most practical route to improved yield, the near-term strategy is to vigorously pursue initiatives such as the SeedCo 11 Tonne Plus Club competition, as well as ensuring that our farmers apply and extend existing agricultural technologies,” he said.

The deputy minister also praised SeedCo for its extension services.

“Yes, seed is the most important component, but it does not end there, the farmers require information on how best to tap into your genetic materials.

“SeedCo therefore helps in a big way in providing extension, which is a key enabler in bridging research results and farmer yields,” he said. — The Financial Gazette

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