The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Seed Co to Unveil New Seed Variety

LEADING seed house, Seed Co is set to unveil a new early maturing hybrid maize seed next year in a bid to boost yields in the country's driest ecological region. The 300 series hybrid will be known as Tsuro. Seed Co's group research manager Dr Ephrame Havazvidi told journalists during a luncheon hosted by the seed house on Friday that the new variety will matures in two and a half to three months and will be suitable for Natural Region five.

"We are currently working on some promotional quantities that will be made available next year.

"We are likely to call it Tsuro (Hare) because the new variety matures fast, just as the hare is fast," he said. Seed Co's best early maturing variety at the moment is the 400 series that is known as Tsoko which matures within three and a half to four months depending on altitude.

Dr Havazvidi said that apart from being suited for Natural Region 5 the 300 series can be used by farmers in other region that want to do two maize crops per year.

"For instance a farmer in Region 2 or 3 can start with their 600 and 500 series respectively first then plant the 300 series later as the season becomes drier because this variety is suited for such regions.

"Remember that seasons in these ecological regions which received high rainfall are also getting shorter due to climate change," he said.

Asked what Seed Co is doing to mitigate the effects of climate change at a time when Government through the Meteorological department is planning to come up with new ecological regions, Dr Havazvidi said that they were researching into more hybrid varieties.

"As Seed Co we have always been planning ahead since the early 1970s.

We are fully aware of the challenges posed by climate change and we are responding by unveiling new early maturing varieties that are heat and disease resistant," he said.

Speaking at the same occasion Seed Co managing director Mr Dennis Zaranyika and public relations and communications executive, Ms Marjorie Mutemererwa emphasised the need for farmers to buy the correct seed for their farming regions to optimise on their yields.

"We have dealt with the issue of seed shortages and now that we have sufficient seed as a country we should be dealing with aspects relating to plant husbandry," said Mr Zaranyika.

Seed Co distributes a wide variety of seeds for the different ecological regions.

In Natural Region 5 the best-suited variety is the 300 to 400 series known as Tsoko (monkey), in region four that include Zaka, the best variety is the 300, 400 and 500 series depending on altitude.

The variety suited for natural Region three such as Gutu and Bikita, the 500 and 600 series particularly Mbizi (zebra) and Shumba (lion), and in natural Region two the variety is the 600 highest yielding series Shumba or the 700 series known as Nzou (elephant).

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