Seed Co awards top farm­ers

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - SOCIETY - So­ci­ety re­porter

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.”

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