Zim to pro­duce 38 400t of com­mer­cial or­ange maize

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business Chronicle -

PRIME Seed Co, a sub­sidiary of Seed Co Lim­ited, is tar­get­ing to pro­duce at least 38 400 tonnes of com­mer­cial or­ange maize this crop­ping sea­son.

Prime Seed Co, along with the Zim­babwe Su­per Seeds was li­censed to lead the com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion of bio-for­ti­fied maize and bean seed va­ri­eties. Bi­o­log­i­cal for­ti­fi­ca­tion, com­monly re­ferred to as bio-for­ti­fi­ca­tion, is de­fined as the process of in­creas­ing the nu­tri­tional value of sta­ple crops through im­prov­ing breed­ing tech­niques.

The Bri­tish gov­ern­ment in­jected $70 mil­lion to boost the agri­cul­tural sec­tor in Zim­babwe that will be used for tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance and tech­nol­ogy mul­ti­pli­ca­tion for the next four years un­der the Liveli­hoods and Food Se­cu­rity Pro­gramme.

Un­der the pro­gramme, the Department for International De­vel­op­ment is fund­ing the de­vel­op­ment and mul­ti­pli­ca­tion of or­ange maize seed as well as iron and zinc for­ti­fied beans by Prime Seeds.

Prime Seed Co sales and mar­ket­ing man­ager Masimba Kanyepi said the pro­gramme was go­ing on very well, in fact at an “ac­cel­er­ated” rate, which the com­pany was not ex­pect­ing.

“At least 120 tonnes of ZS242 tar­get­ing al­most 4 800 hectares have been put on to the mar­ket so far and we are pro­ject­ing a to­tal yield re­turn of 38 400 tonnes of com­mer­cial or­ange maize.

“So far we have iden­ti­fied three prov­inces to start with, namely Man­i­ca­land, Mashona­land Cen­tral and Mid­lands and in essence we are tar­get­ing a to­tal of 43 dis­tricts,” he said.

“Now that the gen­er­al­ity of the pop­u­la­tion is now health con­scious, the op­por­tu­nity for bio-for­ti­fied maize is bright and is very much ca­pa­ble of snatch­ing a rea­son­able mar­ket share from the al­ready ex­ist­ing maize seed va­ri­eties.”

Ear­lier this year Health and Child Care Min­is­ter Dr David Parireny­atwa an­nounced that the Gov­ern­ment was draft­ing a Statu­tory In­stru­ment to make in­dus­trial for­ti­fi­ca­tion of food manda­tory.

Maize har­vest in the past sea­son de­clined to around 750 000 tonnes, prompt­ing the Gov­ern­ment to im­port about 800 000 tonnes to cover the deficit. - New Ziana

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