By Byron Mutingwende
The company that has sustained agricultural and economic development in Africa, Seed Co, has bemoaned the late onset of the rains and encouraged farmers to plant seeds this December.
Addressing journalists at a luncheon held at the company’s Stapleford factory, Mr. Denias Zaranyika, the Seed Co Regional Managing Director encouraged the media to provide timeous weather forecast to farmers for them to prepare for planting.
“As Seed Co we are ready to provide the seeds to the farmers. As a company we are growing and we have a presence in 17 African countries. We encourage the farmers to plant with the rains that are being forecasted to come towards the end of this week. As a company, we have put up a central drying facility.
“Most of the seed is brought to us at 33% moisture content for drying. This will enable the farmers to utilise the same seed twice a year,” Mr. Zaranyika said.
He said the mass media has a vital role to play in the communication of agricultural information among farmers to improve productivity and adoption of modern and good agricultural practices. Consequently, mass media becomes a vital tool in providing extension services.
“Mass media passes on ideas, advice and information to influence the decisions of farmers. It encourages farmers to communicate with one another and causes the sharing of problem and ideas. Thus, the media is a conduit between researchers and farmers,” Mr. Zaranyika added.
Wendy Madzura, Seed Co Zimbabwe Head of Agronomy is working with her team to increase Seed Co product knowledge as well as to enrich the knowledge of farmers on seed variety selection factors.
She said that the company emphasises much on the need to grow maize, which is Zimbabwe’s staple crop. It also provides soya beans, wheat and vegetable seeds.
Madzura alluded to the popular seed varieties SC403 and SC419 that are high yielding maize varieties before talking of an array of other good performing varieties in stock.
“The maize seed variety SC529 is performing beyond expectations, It has improved genetics and high yields. It’s an early maturing new hybrid. The SC649 is proving to be a desert walker since it performs well under dry conditions. The SC727 gives top-notch yields of 22 tonnes per hectare. The SC719 is recommended when the season starts because it withstands drought for a longer period.
“On the other hand, the SC Spike produces 4, 8 tonnes per hectare even under dry conditions. This is our flagship variety. As Seed Co., we are providing new horticulture genetics. We are also promoting the growing of small grains like sorghum. We encourage farmers to embrace good agronomic practices,” Madzura added.
From 1940 to present day, Seed Co has been consistently providing high quality seed thereby contributing to food security; import substitution; exports and recently, diversification of agricultural production to include horticulture.