SEED Co says it has managed to double the number of its seed out-growers because of continued financial support from the central bank and corporate sector.
“In the first year we provided training to over 150 seed growers. This grew to 250 in the second year and is currently at 300,” said Seed Co spokesperson, Marjorie Mutemererwa.
Mutemererwa said this number of seed out-growers would grow further this year if the central bank continued to help with concessional funds like the Agricultural Sector Productivity Enhancement Fund.
She said assistance from the corporate sector could also help improve production from the out-growers.
Mutemererwa said the seed producer managed to sustain its out-grower scheme from corporate and the central bank funds even though a shortage of inputs continued to dampen the company’s productivity.
“Among the challenges for seed growers are the need for timely and adequate availability of such inputs, such as fertiliser and chemicals and capital finance,” said Mutemererwa in the statement.
“It is hoped that Aspef and other agro-financing schemes will continue to assist in these regards and help speed up the achievement of increased production at every stage,” further reads the statement.
Seed Co said while it partnered with commercial and subsistent farmers involved in growing seed, the number of affiliate seed growers being trained and equipped by the company steadily grew over years. However, this alone was not enough to turn around the agricultural sector.
“Whilst initially yields obtained by new seed maize growers were on the low side of two tonnes per hectare, most growers are now achieving between three to five tonnes per hectare,” said Mutemererwa. The current size of productivity represents 60% of the required grain per hectare.
Seed Co’s appeal to get more institutional support comes at a time when the government is projecting a phenomenal harvest.