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Seed companies have started exporting seed maize to other countries following an increase in production, Zimbabwe Seed Traders Association president Mr Walter Chigodora, has said. Government suspended maize seed exports in recent years after production could not meet local demand. “The seed industry could not export when we could not meet the demand of the material on the local market.

“Government has lifted the ban and we have since exported over 50 000 tonnes of seed maize to other countries. Zimbabwe requires between 35 000 and 40 000 tonnes of seed maize per year.

“We export our seed to Tanzania, Angola and Nigeria. We produce hybrid seed varieties and these perform very well. Seed-Co started in Zimbabwe and spread to other countries, Agri Seeds has just been bought by a regional company because of the best material it produces. Pioneer and Panner Seeds have also made significant inroads on the world market,” he said.

Mr Chigodora said regional and international companies were interested in merging with seed companies in Zimbabwe as the country was endowed with skilled manpower and quality seed varieties.

“Zimbabwe is a hub in terms of technology. We have done very well in seed production. Zimbabwe is one of the countries that have always had effective seed systems on the continent,” he said.

Some seed companies had scaled down on seed maize production as they could not export it due to the Government ban.

Storage of the excess seed increased costs, reducing viability of the business.

Production of maize seed increased during the past few years as many farmers realised it was more lucrative to produce seed maize compared to commercial maize.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe is expected to host over 500 regional and international delegates at the African Seed Traders Association Congress in Victoria Falls next month.

Source : The Herald