Nelson Gahadza Senior Business Reporter
SEED Co Limited says the US$13 million maize seed conditioning plant commissioned by President Mnangagwa yesterday will enhance the group’s seed maize supply capacity for both local and regional markets as the facility contributes to quick turnaround of production and productivity.
The seed maize plant, whose installation started in 2019, has the ability to double cropping per unit area as well as produce early ensuring harvest crop.
Mr David Long, the company’s chairman, said the seed maize conditioning plant would also result in a massive turnaround of agriculture in the country.
“The quality of seed maize has improved through elimination of pest challenges as seed maize harvesting can be done at 35 percent moisture content while the cost of producing seed will be reduced since other processes of harvesting are eliminated,” he said.
Mr Long said in 2019, Seed Co embarked on a project to install the drier plant, and the project would be done in four phases, the first of which would have the capacity for 5 000 tonnes of seed maize per season.
He said the technical commissioning of the plant was completed in June this year, and the project was completed for US$13 million with over 60 percent of the project cost benefiting local contractors and suppliers.
Mr Morgan Nzwere, the group’s chief executive officer, said the new plant would start to process seed that will be harvested in February 2022, as the company already had enough dried seed in stock.
“We have enough seeds for the upcoming season. This plant, because we had already dried all the seed, it will start to dry seed that we will harvest in February, 2022, because the seed we will start to sell in September is already dried,” he said.
He said the Government’s pro-agriculture policies had made the commissioning of the seed maize conditioning plant possible.
“Because of the country’s progressive agriculture policies, we ensured that this technology was introduced first in Zimbabwe before being rolled out into other countries,” he said.
He said the seed plant is a game changer for Seed Co, Farmers, and the country at large. Mr Nzwere noted that installation of the plant was financed by the group’s French Finance partners Proparco.
According to Mr Nzwere, Seed Co is the biggest seed company in Africa in terms of volume and is now serving over 20 countries and as a group and is a truly Pan African company whose roots are in Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa said the plant shows Seed Co’s commitment towards supporting government efforts in the implementation of the National Development Strategy 1 and the attainment of the country’s national vision.
“This investment is timely and opportune as it will consolidate the gains of the successful agriculture season, and the projected, equally successful 2021/2022 season,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said the agriculture sector and its stakeholders should continue to increase investments across the agriculture value chain, the net effect of which would see positive impacts on poverty eradication and the improvement in the quality of life of the people.
The plant also has capacity to open up land for double cropping, thereby ensuring increased crop range for farmers.