PRIME Seed Co, a subsidiary of Seed Co Limited, is targeting to produce at least 38 400 tonnes of commercial orange maize this cropping season.
Prime Seed Co, along with the Zimbabwe Super Seeds was licensed to lead the commercialisation of bio-fortified maize and bean seed varieties.
Biological fortification, commonly referred to as bio-fortification, is defined as the process of increasing the nutritional value of staple crops through improving breeding techniques.
The British government injected $70 million to boost the agricultural sector in Zimbabwe that will be used for technical assistance and technology multiplication for the next four years under the Livelihoods and Food Security Programme.
Under the programme, the Department for International Development is funding the development and multiplication of orange maize seed as well as iron and zinc fortified beans by Prime Seeds.
Prime Seed Co sales and marketing manager Masimba Kanyepi said the programme was going on very well, in fact at an “accelerated” rate, which the company was not expecting.
“At least 120 tonnes of ZS242 targeting almost 4 800 hectares have been put on to the market so far and we are projecting a total yield return of 38 400 tonnes of commercial orange maize.
“So far we have identified three provinces to start with, namely Manicaland, Mashonaland Central and Midlands and in essence we are targeting a total of 43 districts,” he said.
“Now that the generality of the population is now health conscious, the opportunity for bio-fortified maize is bright and is very much capable of snatching a reasonable market share from the already existing maize seed varieties.”
Earlier this year Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa announced that the Government was drafting a Statutory Instrument to make industrial fortification of food mandatory.
Maize harvest in the past season declined to around 750 000 tonnes, prompting the Government to import about 800 000 tonnes to cover the deficit. – New Ziana