SWISS based Syngenta has through its local agent Intaba trading introduced two hybrid maize seed varieties for the local market that are expected to boost yields, better withstand diseases and dry spells.
Intaba trading Operations and Sales manager Talk Chinoda said the two hybrid maize varieties will be produced locally through contracted farmers.
“We have four maize hybrids and two of them are new. On our early maturity we have the MRI514 and the new introduction for the market is the SY944. On the medium range varieties we have the MRI64 and the new one is the SY644.
The breeding was done by Syngenta Zambia and we do the production locally, the new hybrid will increase yields and have greater tolerance to diseases. For instance the new early maturing variety will give farmers an extra tonne while the medium will give them an extra two tonnes per hectare.
Syngenta is always trying to develop sustainable hybrids in light of the changing and shorter seasons we are now experiencing we expect to introduce a four series as we now have the five and six series ,” said Chinoda.
He said the market had received their products well as they provided integrated crop solutions to farmers.
Further the company has seen tremendous growth of seed uptake in the market since its inception in 2015 and was battling to meet market demand.
Inatba will this year supply its maize seed to the command and presidential inputs programme as its capacity grows.
“We started operating in 2015 and we sold 120 tons of metric tonnes of maize seed then in 2016 -17 we sold 420 mt of seed and last year we sold 600 mt but had the potential to sell 900mt. This year we shall sell 1 700mt and have put 350 hectares under maize seed and next season to have 500 hectares”.
Intaba which has invested about US$2.5m in operations since 2015 said it expected to be doing about 4 500 mt within the next three years.
Besides the maize seed arm the company is also into chemicals and hybrid vegetable seeds business.
“The chemicals and vegetable seed are purely an import business. Our Chemicals are imported mainly from Switzerland and some come from South Africa. Our vegetable seed also is imported because Zimbabwe does not have the climatic conditions to produce hybrid seeds so we bring them from South Africa and America,” said Chinoda.
He said the two businesses are battling to meet demand owing to the foreign currency shortages.