Tawanda Musarurwa Senior Reporter
Listed seed processor, Seed Co’s Eleven Tonne Plus Club Promotion, is delivering significant results, with maize farmers under the promotion achieving significant yields. The Eleven Tonne Plus Club Promotion is a programme targeting commercial farmers for soya bean, maize and other seeds in a bid to boost food security.
This year over 50 farmers entered the competition and achieved between 11 and 22 tonnes of grain per hectare.
Seed Co CEO Mr Denias Zaranyika, said Zimbabwe has the capacity to be self-sufficient in grains production as long as they received the requisite support.
“Zimbabwe is capable of producing over 4 million tonnes of grain if we get our act together, that is why we started with the farmer because he or she is the one who produces. The idea is improve grain output in Zimbabwe so that we can feed ourselves; not only that but to ensure import substitution. We shouldn’t be seen importing grain from other countries because our farmers are capable of producing the requirements for Zimbabwe,” he said.
The programme was launched last season for farmers with at least 10 hectares of the firm’s seed varieties grown during the 2017 /18 season.
Along with it, Seed Co also rolled out the Soya bean Five Tonne Club targeting commercial farmers with at least 20 hectares of certified Seed Co soya bean varieties. These are some of the productivity enhancing initiatives that the company has been undertaking to assist farmers. It is basically an extension tool aimed at encouraging and enhancing food grain productivity among commercial farmers.
Meanwhile, Mr Zaranyika has outlined the crops, which the company is looking to focus on in respect of import substitution.
“Our major focus is now on rice because most of the rice that we consume in the country is imported. We need to ensure that Africa produces its own rice, especially Southern Africa, and starting with Zimbabwe. The other focus is on potatoes, a lot of potatoes are being imported. Next is canola oil seeds, which will complement soya beans in terms of oil provisions,” added the CEO.
Canola oil, or canola for short, is a vegetable oil derived from a variety of rapeseed that is low in erucic acid
Canola oil is made at a processing facility by slightly heating and then crushing the seed. Its reputation as a healthy oil has created high demand in markets around the world, and overall it is the third-most widely consumed vegetable oil.
The oil has many non-food uses and, like soya bean oil, is often used interchangeably with non-renewable petroleum-based oils in products, including industrial lubricants, biodiesel, candles, lipsticks, and newspaper inks, depending on the price on the spot market.
Seed Co develops and markets certified crop seeds, mainly hybrid maize seed, but also wheat, soya bean, barley, sorghum and groundnut seeds.
And most of the company’s hybrid and non-hybrid cereals and oil crop seed varieties are proprietary, having been developed and bred its research stations through market-oriented research and breeding programmes.
Mr Zaranyika added that the company would contribute to increasing Zimbabwe’s exports of horticultural products into the region and internationally.
Seed Co is listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, and its spin-off, Seed Co International is listed on the Botswana Stock Exchange.