ZIMBABWE – Zimbabwe listed certified seed company, Seed Co has said that its farmer-focused productivity initiative, Eleven Tonne Plus Club Promotion has achieved significant yields since its inception.

The program which targets commercial farmers for soya bean, maize and other seeds aims to create a source of social capital, technical capital and to enhance a good competitive spirit among farmers.

It also seeks to grow farmer businesses and boost food security.

According to the Herald, over 50 farmers entered the competition and achieved between 11 and 22 tonnes of grain per hectare.

“Zimbabwe is capable of producing over 4 million tonnes of grain if we get our act together, that is why we started with the farmer because he or she is the one who produces.

The idea is improving grain output in Zimbabwe so that we can feed ourselves; not only that but to ensure import substitution.

We shouldn’t be seen importing grain from other countries because our farmers are capable of producing the requirements for Zimbabwe,” said Seed Co CEO Mr Denias Zaranyika.

Seed Co has also rolled out the Soya Bean Five Tonne Club targeting commercial farmers with at least 20 hectares of certified Seed Co soya bean varieties.

With such initiatives, the seed company is looking to encourage and enhance food grain productivity among commercial farmers.

The productivity enhancing initiatives are also geared towards import substitution as a result of raw materials shortage experienced in the recent past.

“Our major focus is now on rice because most of the rice that we consume in the country is imported.

We need to ensure that Africa produces its own rice, especially Southern Africa, and starting with Zimbabwe.

The other focus is on potatoes; a lot of potatoes are being imported.

Next is canola oil seeds, which will complement soya beans in terms of oil provisions,” added the CEO.

He noted that the company would contribute to increasing Zimbabwe’s exports of horticultural products into the region and internationally.

Canola oil many non-food uses and, like soya bean oil, is often used interchangeably with non-renewable petroleum-based oils in products, including industrial lubricants, biodiesel, candles, lipsticks, and newspaper inks, depending on the price on the spot market.

Seed Co, which develops and markets certified crop seeds: hybrid maize seed, wheat, soya bean, barley, sorghum and groundnut seeds, recently unbundled its operations to list its Seed Co International on the Botswana Stock Exchange.