Agriculture

SeedCo Targets Export Markets

LIVINGSTONE MARUFU

Listed African seed producer, SeedCo, sees exports in Africa and some parts of Asia and Europe growing in the coming year as the group grows its footprint outside Zimbabwe.

The seed company has also intensified its investment in technology to ensure there is enough seed in both Zimbabwe and export markets.

Seed Co managing director Denias Zaranyika this week told Business Times that the company has been providing seed across the continents.

“We have a presence in 17 African countries and there we have become an instant hit in terms of the quality seed provision. Tanzania is coming up, Kenya is coming up, Ghana and Nigeria have come of age,” Zaranyika said.

“All the regions of Africa are coming of age and we are providing seed that is providing seed for that food and we continue to do that to increase our export earnings in those regions.

“My role is to motivate and coming up with products that are exportable so that we have the forex that we direly need. Europe is yearning for our horticultural products and Asia is also yearning for similar products,” he said.

SeedCo said it has begun exploring new export markets in Asia and South America as it moves to make its presence felt in new markets.

Zaranyika said maize seeds (5- series and 6 series) are doing very well in Pakistan and the seed is already doing very well to such an extent of being named after a Pakistan village.

With state-of-the-art laboratory and research stations, the seed company is targeting to match then later challenge high corn growing areas in United States of America.

Average yield potential in Missouri for maize is 10 tonnes per hectare, and it is the same output that the local company is targeting to achieve in new markets.

However, SeedCo, says it is targeting to increase maize production in the smallholder sector by 275 percent from the current 0, 9 tonnes to three tonnes to meet the local maize demand.

He said though the company needs to improve revenues, the improvement of the national average yield outweigh everything.

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.

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.

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 extramaize for exports.

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

Zaranyika said farmers can continue planting as the season is still in its infancy stage and farmers should have maize planted at different times.

Meanwhile, The Meteorological Services Department is predicting heavy rains accompanied by strong winds and lightning from December 4 up to December 6 2019.

The anticipated rains will be triggered by a westerly trough which will start affecting the country.

Intense rainfall of 50mm or more in a period of 24-hours are expected over most parts of the country.

The expected rainfalls might lead to possible flooding or destruction to properties in some areas, especially on Thursday and Friday this week.

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