SEEDCO the country’s largest seed producer has rewarded commercial farmers who excelled in its 11 ton plus contest.
The contest targets farmers with 10hectares under maize and the minimum requirement is that each farmer produces 11 tonnes per hectare using any of the SEEDCO maize varieties.
SEEDCO Zimbabwe managing director Denias Zaranyika, said the number of farmers who had harvested over 11 tonnes per hectare had risen from 34 last year to 51 despite the mid season drought that was experienced in the last cropping season.
He said the competition has the potential to spur productivity and competition among farmers.
Zaranyika added that the minimum threshold of 11 tonnes per hectare would not be reviewed to allow more farmers to reach that level of productivity.
“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. 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”.
He said products produced by SEEDCO are thoroughly researched to meet the diverse agro ecologies across the African continent.
Deputy Minister of agriculture Vangelis Haritatos who was guest of honor at the awards ceremony said the competition helped to improve yield among farmers and complimented other government programmes.
Haritatos also applauded SEEDCO’s research and development efforts which have produced seed varieties that have greatly improved yield 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. The performance of some of your products such as SC727, speaks volumes of the valor of your research and development programmes”.
This year’s winner of the 11 tonne contest was Kunatsa estate of Mashonaland Cental that produced 21.2 tonnes per hectare and for their efforts they walked away with a brand new Nissan Double cab.