LOCAL agriculture consultancy Best farms have received a license from the ministry of agriculture to commercially manufacture and sell its X365 fall army worm bio pesticide for the next 12 months.
Best Farms managing partner Simba Sibanda in a wide ranging interview said the licensing was a result of extensive tests by the ministry that involved three local seed producers.
He said the bio pesticide will be manufactured locally and exported to the region as they had received sole rights from the United States America based manufacturer to produce and distribute the product in sub Sahararan Africa.
Fall army worm was first detected in Africa in West Africa in 2016 and spread throughout sub-Sahararan Africa.
During the 2016-17 cropping season Zimbabwe was the hardest hit in the SADC region by the fall army worm with 130 000 hectares of crop affected.
We now have the license from the ministry after carrying out the necessary test and compliance issues.
AgriX365 “melts” non-salt bonded proteins which are essential to the cellular structure of insects.
AgriX365 involves what we believe are the earliest, original and naturally occurring keys, or protokeys and protocatalysts from plants, that allow protein molecules to be opened, thus allowing other agents to manipulate the protein, and for the very first time, to break down the cell wall of the protein molecule and reduce it to its basic elements,”said Sibanda .
Best farms is about to complete the construction of a warehouse and lab however, the unavailability of foreign currency is hampering their efforts to bring in concentrate to begin production and Sibanda believes there is need for government to actively support institutions that have potential to generate foreign currency.
Additionally Best Farms has entered into a number of agreements with farmers organizations to sell the products to their membership.
“We need support in the form of foreign currency and have made an application to our bank and nothing has come to date, clearly government should think of setting up a exporters bank that will assist firms with potential to export and earn the much needed foreign currency. Currently local trade is crowding out foreign trade in accessing bank loans. Once we get our patterned concentrate we will be able to commence production for the local and regional market”.
Sibanda also urged government to streamline and put clear policies on the licensing of Bio-Chemecials.