The 2018-19 agriculture season has received a major boost following the launch of new maize hybrid varieties which are drought tolerant in a development expected to enhance food security in the face of the El Nino induced drought this season.
The public private partnerships (PPPs) between an upcoming seed house K2 with government entities like Henderson Research Station and the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) to produce hybrid seed has paid dividends towards boosting the country drought resistant seed bank.
After setting base in Zimbabwe in 2013, the seed house has embarked on a five year extensive research and produced a variety of drought resistant hybrid maize and other crops like soya beans, wheat, sorghum, beans which were launched at a ceremony attended by scores of agriculture experts and farmers.
“Since we came here in 2013, we engaged into three PPPs, and we ventured into seed production and we have now come of age in producing both drought resistant crops and other hybrids. So our farmers can take advantage of some of our new drought tolerant seed especially in the face of the predicted drought this year,” said Mr John Makoni, K2 Country Managing Director.
The Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement, Cde Vangelis Haritatos, who stood in for the Minister Retired Air Chief Marshal Perrance Shiri said the coming on board of this new seed company into pasture seed development will boost the prospects of command agriculture which is now covering a variety of crops and livestock.
“With the government expanding the command agriculture initiative to other enterprises such as wheat, cotton, soya and livestock production, we hope to register increased production in these areas in the same manner we have done with maize, ultimately the target is to enable our agriculture to go beyond the breadbasket status of years,” he said.
The Meteorological Service Department has already predicted a drought this year.
It is against this background that farmers should go for drought resistant crops and stagger their planting in line with the government policy to mitigate against adverse effects of the anticipated El Nino.