Seed Co awards top farmers
FARMERS who achieved high yields through Seed Co’s Eleven Tonne Plus Club promotion have been awarded for their exploits.
The promotion, which targets commercial maize farmers, is meant to encourage farmers to produce more tonnage per hectare.
This year, over 50 farmers entered the competition and achieved between 11 and 22 tonnes of grain per hectare.
In last years’ competition, Messrs Tinashe Ziki and Kudakwashe Kudenga were the best achievers, breaking records for Zimbabwe and Africa by hitting 22 tonnes per hectare. Winner of this year’s competition, Kunatsa Estate of Mashonaland Central, produced 21,2 tonnes per hectare and walked away with a brand new Nissan double cab.
Other winners walked away with cash prices and tractors.
Seed Co chief executive officer, Mr Denias Zaranyika, said the growth in participation with farmers achieving the minimum threshold of 11 tonnes per hectare increased from 34 last year to 51 this year, showing that the country has potential to grow its yields.
“Using this competition as a source of social and technical capital, that is an extension tool whose ripple effects can help spur productivity among farmers,” he said.
“Judging by the number of farmers that are breaking the minimum threshold, there is no doubt that we are clearly achieving our objectives and that more farmers are being challenged to up their game.
“But more importantly, increased productivity also has positive implications on import substitution and general national economic impact with respect to reduction in import bill and savings of foreign currency.
“As many of you can testify, achievement of more than 11 tonnes per hectare is only possible through hard work as well as the use of the right seeds and religiously following good farming practices.”
Mr Zaranyika said Zimbabwe is capable of producing over four million tonnes of grain given proper planning.
“The idea is to improve grain output in Zimbabwe so that we can feed ourselves, not only that but to ensure import substitution,” he said.
“We shouldn’t be importing grain from other countries because our farmers are capable of producing enough for Zimbabwe.”
Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Clinate and Rural Settlement, Honourable Vangelios Haritatos, who was guest of honour at the awards ceremony, said the competition is helping to improve yield among farmers and complemented other Government programmes.
Hon Haritatos also applauded Seed Co’s research and development efforts which have produced seed varieties that have greatly improved yields in the country and beyond.
“As Government, we are quite pleased that in the area of continued genetic improvement in crop varieties, which is also a vital element, SeedCo has acquitted itself very well and is second to none,” he said.
“The performance of some of your products speaks volumes of the valor of your research and development programmes.”