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Seed Co working on new products

By Taurai Mangudhla

LISTED seed manufacturer, Seed Co International has projected a 15% growth maize seed production yield to 36,600 metric tonnes (mt) in the current season.

The group, in an annual general meeting trading update, said total stocks were forecast at 50 000 mt after ongoing processing. The total stocks, Seed Co International said, were adequate to satisfy forecast demand in the upcoming selling season, while the  36 600 mt of maize would also replenish stocks and satisfy anticipated demand.

“The intake of seed from our growers and own farms for processing is now at about 40% for maize and about 80% for soya,” the company said.

Going forward, the company said it was focused on consolidating the growth trajectory, leveraging the strong brand, skills and distribution channels in both existing and new markets whilst mitigating Covid-19 headwinds.

The company also believes it is well positioned to defend the growth registered last season anchored on early rainfalls, above normal rainfall in Southern Africa as well as continued government and development partner support.

The group plans to unveil several new products, which are in the pipeline, including maize varieties SC419, SC555 and SC659 to be commercialised in Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya.

Green mealie product SC733 was launched in Zambia. Cob rot and tip cover breeding projects have been initiated as the group responds to feedback from farmers while some Seed Co maize hybrids are undergoing registration in Cameroon.

According to the trading update, Seed Co International, however, reported a 17% fall in maize seed sales in Nigeria and Kenya on account of droughts in Kenya and floods in Nigeria.

Vegetable seed sales in Zambia, Tanzania, South Africa, Kenya and Malawi were also 15% below prior year figures due to excessive rains in Southern Africa that slowed down vegetable plantings.

Sales slowed down in Kenya due to second season commencement drought while lower repeat sales in Nigeria were on the back of a very successful prior season and ongoing excessive rains or flooding which characterised most parts of West Africa.

“Volumes in Nigeria are expected to come down slightly on the back of an excellent last season and flooding at the beginning of the current season,” the company said.

The business, whose main trading activity is winter cereals in Zambia and maize seed in Kenya and Nigeria, registered 99% wheat volume growth, all out of Zambia. The performance in Zambia was of a low base since prior year sales were made in advance towards the close of the company’s financial year in 2020 due to Covid-19 pre-stocking.

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