Pan Africa seed company, Seed Co, this week launched climate-smart high yielding and stable hybrid maize varieties that are expected to yield much more than currently available products within respective maturity groupings, a senior company official has said.
The two varieties, SC529 and SC649, which according to officials, are a product of intense breeding efforts, are said to have proven to be stable across seasons and across agro-regions and will result in improved yields.
Speaking at the launch, managing director Denias Zaranyika said the two seed varieties will allow farmers to adapt to effects of climate change and ultimately to upscale productivity levels, livelihoods and food security.
Mr Zaranyika added that the new varieties have proven to be, “stable across seasons, stable across agro-regions as well as yielding much more than the currently available products within their respective maturity groupings”.
He described the new varieties as “products of intense breeding effort, focused on high yielding capabilities coupled with selection against heat, drought; foliar and cob diseases as well as response to different agronomic practices”.
Mr Zaranyika said the huge investment that the company had made into research technologies a few years ago is now paying dividends in the form of a healthy pipeline of upcoming and newer products that include: SC419, SC555, SC541, SC653, SC657, SC661, SC659 and SC729.
“These products have a potential to yield up to 20 tonnes per hectare,” said Mr Zaranyika, adding that the company is also working on other products such as vegetable, rice and small grain.
He however, said there is need to bridge the gap between potential yield and actual farmer yields.
“Our national yield average still stands at below one tonne per hectare. We obviously need to bridge the gap between potential yield and actual farmer yields.”
As a result, Seed Co plans to invest so much resources and time in extension programmes which include competitions in the small-holder sector such as small farming competition also known as “MURIGADZOSE”, the objectives being to fosteri competitive spirit among farmers and enhance crop production increase as well as maximising on genetic gain of the seed.