ZIMBABWE – Seed Co Zimbabwe has unveiled the Eleven Tonne Plus Club Promotion, a programme targeting commercial farmers for soybean, maize and other seeds in a bid to boost food security.

The programme is set to benefit farmers with at least 10 hectares of the firm’s seed varieties grown during the 2017/18 season.

Along with it, Seed Co is rolling out the Soyabean Five Tonne Club targeting commercial farmers with at least 20 hectares of certified Seed Co soyabean varieties.

These are some of the productivity enhancing initiatives the company is undertaking through a yield contest set to close between August and September this year.

It is an extension tool aimed at encouraging and enhancing food grain productivity among commercial farmers.

The company has started a yield assessment process among the farmers, a move that has attracted high levels of participation.

“The contest will demonstrate the high yielding thrust and genetic yield potential of Seed Co maize varieties phenomenon called Genetic Gains.

“Excellent genetics (seed varieties) coupled with the religious adoption of good agronomic practices, are fundamental pillars in increasing productivity at farm level. It is the ‘golden couple’ to improving grain productivity,” said Mr John Basera, Seed Co Agronomy and Extensions Services manager.

The assessment process which takes place at harvesting, was done in collaboration with representatives from Agritex, Zimbabwe’s agricultural extension service.

Also, Seed Co is working with four farmer unions to ensure a transparent selection that is, Zimbabwe National Farmers Union (ZNFU), Commercial Farmers Union (CFU), Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU) and Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU).

Their roles include randomly sampling out and measuring a hectare using a GPS, digital or balancing scales to reach the best commercial farmers who will be rewarded and granted an adoption of GAPs (Good Agronomic Practises) in maize and soyabean production.

“The assessment team will rank the farmers according to their yields per assessed one hectare blocks and the top three farmers will be announced between September and October 2018 at a prize giving ceremony.

“All farmers who register and surpass the 11 tonne threshold/hectare qualify to 11 tonnes plus club participants.

“All participants will walk away with consolation prizes and certificates,” he added.