Zimbabwe’s Seed Co invests US $10m in the development of seed-drying facilities


Zimbabwe’s Seed Co Limited is investing US $10m towards the development of seed-drying facilities. This, according to a statement from the company, will go towards the acceleration of delivery of seed to the market and reduce losses.

According to media reports, the seed-drying technology is to be piloted in Zimbabwe first before being introduced in Seed Co’s other regional markets. It is also expected to be commissioned by 2020. Seed Co said there has been some delays in dry down of maize seed and an increase in diseases due to late start of the rains as a result of climate change.

As such, the state-of-the-art drying facilities will come in handy in the speeding up of the process. It will also should speed up the process and reduce time for dry down by 50%. The company’s Group chief executive office Morgan Nzwere said that the late rains are to blame for the issues in the drying down of maize.

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He said that it has since resulted in lateness when it comes to seed supply into the market. Hopefully, he said, the driers will help speed up the process. Mr. Nzwere also pointed out cases of increased diseases as a result of the changes in climate.

To further mitigate the effects of climate change, Mr Nzwere said the company was working on strategies such as introduction of early maturing varieties. Through research, the group approved for internal release and advancement of 11 new maize hybrids across maturity profiles focusing on yield performance, cob rot resistance and green mealie native traits.

In South Africa, where development of a research centre nears completion for instance, four new maize seed hybrids were also approved for internal release. Mr. Nzwere said that these new seed varieties could very well tackle the current challenges as they require less rain and mature earlier. He also mentioned an increased focus on small grains, but was quick to decry their slow uptake.