SEED Co Ltd (Seed Co) has embarked on intensive training programmes for its hybrid seed maize growers, particularly to help new seed producers. This is an effort to recover
previous production levels of high quality seeds that the company is renowned for.
Last year nearly 100 new growers were brought into hybrid seed maize production for the first time to replace experienced growers who were affected during the implementation of the land reform programme.
These new growers were needed to complement the few experienced growers remaining in hybrid seed maize production – some being third generation producers.
“Drought, lack of experience, resources and infrastructure by some of the new growers, among other reasons, contributed to the low production volumes experienced this past growing season,” said Seed Co acting general manager, Edworks Mhandu.
Last year’s new growers now have one season of experience, but there is a further new crop of producers coming into the business for the first time this year.
Mhandu said his company would never compromise on seed quality to ensure grain farmers received value for their money by purchasing genuine certified seed.
“Farmers should only buy certified seed that has the highest yield potential, coupled with disease tolerance characteristics,” he said.
The ongoing training programmes have already begun in earnest, and are being held around the country where seed is grown – bringing together both new and experienced producers to share knowledge and undertake practical exercises in each stage of maize seed production.
Among other issues, the training programmes are addressing topics such as crop establishment, rouging, detasselling, disease management, and seed processing.
Throughout the growing season, government-appointed seed inspectors will be rigorously checking that quality is not being compromised in any way.
Inspectors can make over 20 visits per farm in a season.
In addition to the training programmes, Mhandu said discussions were underway to put in place a team of consultants that will work with Seed Co’s production and agronomy services staff.