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Friday, March 31, 2023

Up to 46 new seed varieties produced in Zimbabwe since 2019

By John Nhandara

The African Seed Access Index has concluded a report on its evaluation of Zimbabwe’s formal seed industry for 2022, with indications that up to 46 new seed varieties have been produced in Zimbabwe since 2019.

The report also comes as researchers continue to search for varieties that carry desirable traits such as climate stress resilience.

According to the report, Zimbabwe’s seed production is on an upward trajectory with 46 new seed varieties that carry desirable traits such as climate stress resilience having been produced between 2019 and 2021.

Professor Edward Mabaya, the Chief Scientist Advisor at TASAI African Seed Access Index explained, “There are more seed companies joining the sector, more products offered more varieties being offered. The volume of seed has gone up in the years. The new varieties comprise of 30 maize varieties, six bean varieties, four soya bean varieties and six sorghum varieties. Most seed companies are now serving other countries in the region.”

“The seed sector is doing well in releasing climate-smart and drought-tolerant varieties. The varieties have some attributes good for nutrition like the high iron beans,” noted Mrs Patience Nyakanda, Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Seed Association.

Despite these milestones, the existence of counterfeit seeds on the market continues to be a major cause for concern, amid revelations that the country does not have a seed policy.

Chief Director of Research, Innovation and Development – Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Dr Dumisani Kutyayo said, “Of interest is that Zimbabwe does not have a seed policy to guide developments in the seed sector. So, the government will be putting priority on the development of the seed policy. The policy will enforce regulation and monitor seed quality especially now that there are reports of fake seed.”

Continued research in the agricultural sector is key towards guaranteeing food security globally in the wake of climate change.

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