ZIMBABWE – Seed Co Limited said it is considering venturing into rice and potato seed production as it seeks to help the country reduce its huge import bill arising from the crops, reports The Herald.

Despite having potential of local rice production and a ready market, Zimbabwe imports over 95% of the crop it consumes valued at nearly $100 million annually.

The demand of the crop has been steadily rising over the past years with china, india, Malawi and Indonesia being the major sources of the commodity.

Seed Co Chief Executive Officer Denias Zaranyika, said his organisation was working on rice seed varieties compatible with the local climate.

“We are busy working on some rice varieties, they are now under trial and we are trying to make sure that they perform under this environment,” he said.

According to Mr Zaraniyika, the new rice varieties are aimed to bosting local production of the crop with an overall goal to curb the importation of rice especially at a time when the country is battling foreign currency crisis.

“This is so that we either reduce or stop rice imports because almost every grain of rice save for what is produced in the communal areas is imported.

You have always heard us saying we are slowly getting into rice, reason being lot of imports that are coming into the country are dominated by Asia,” said Mr Zaranyika.

Seed Co is also working on developing potato varieties that will thrive under the contry’s environment conditions as it remains committed to improving Zimbabwe’s economy through effective and competitive agricultural practices.

“We are also working on potatoes seed (varieties), we must make sure that we have the right varieties for our country.

Agriculture is one of the main key drivers in the economic recovery process for Zimbabwe.

Mr Zaraniyika also expressed the company’s commitment in collaborating with the government and farmers for the benefit of the country’s economy.

“Our organisation is determined to ensure that we put our best foot forward and do everything necessary to ensure we work with the Government and the farmers to prop up Zimbabwe’s economic environment,” said Mr Zaraniyika.