Zaka Super Seeds, which produces hybrid maize and cowpeas seed for both the local and the export markets, has embarked on a massive expansion drive that will see over 2 000 indigenous farmers from around the country venturing into commercial seed production through irrigation.
Currently, about 750 small-holder farmers are involved in hybrid seed production at Fuve Panganai Irrigation Scheme in Nhema communal lands in Zaka.
Hybrid seed production at the Fuve-Panganai plant is, however, set to increase after the Swiss Development Corporation recently injected $6 million to incorporate more small-holder farmers in the programme.
The programme has since spread its tentacles to cover Gutu and Masvingo districts ahead of making it national.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation
Development responsible for Cropping Cde Davis Marapira, recently said hybrid seed production by Zaka Super Seeds had this year shot up to 360 tonnes.
He said Government wanted more rural small-holder farmers to venture into commercial seed production under Zaka Super Seeds.
“About 230 hectares are currently under hybrid maize, cow-peas and beans and each of the 750 farmers under the programme is getting a profit of $400 per season, which is a good starting point,” he said.
“We want to expand hybrid seed production by Zaka Super Seeds to cover an initial five districts before covering the whole country so that we can adequately supply the local market,” he added.
Deputy Minister Marapira said that Government was assisting small-holder farmers involved in hybrid seed production through provision of extension services and seed certification.
He expressed optimism that Zaka Super Seeds output of hybrid seed would shoot up to over 1 000 tonnes over the next few years, earning the country hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Since its establishment in 2010, Zaka Super Seeds has already exported hybrid seed to countries such as Zambia, Swaziland and Lesotho and plans are in the place to cover the whole Sadc region.