LOCAL seed producer KLEIN KAROO (K2) will within the year launch a high yield hybrid maize seed variety for the local market with potential output of 22 tonnes per hectare.
According to K2 head of research Andrew Anderson the variety will double yield per hectare but the seed requires enhanced management.
“This is a high pollination maize it won’t be planted using the conventional method of 44 thousand plants per hectare but 88-90 thousand per hectare and the fertilization is also double but it is cost effective in that you won’t have to do a lot of tilling and spraying so there are a lot of savings to be made. However management is very critical and this variety need high fertilizer and water. So it’s double the yield and triple the management variety”.
He said currently testing was now on large areas of between 1-20 hectares with expectation that the variety will be available for commercial farmers with high management skills within the next two years at the most.
Since entering the local market five years ago K2 has become a reputable seed producer with its varieties becoming synonymous with high yields and tolerance to droughts.
During the period the company has witnessed it market share growing to over 13 percent while it has contributed to government initiatives such as the command agriculture. In 2017 government accounted for 56% of sales recorded by K2 with 2 500 mt of maize seed absorbed by the command programme.
This year K2 has to date sold about 1 800 mt of maize seed to the command programme.
Meanwhile K2 has introduced a guarantee for small scale farmers who buy maize seed from their Village Based Agents (VBAs) and the seed fails to germinate because of drought.
The guarantee is offered in conjunction with insurance giant Old Mutual.
“Small holder farmers who buy maize seed from K2 VBAs and that seed doesn’t germinate within 21 days because of drought then we will refund them at no extra cost with another seed bag and this is targeting the small farmers,” said Old Mutual Agronomist Nyasha Mutuva.