Zambian seed industry best in COMESA
Zambia has the best developing seed industry in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) region due to the private sector participation.
Eastern Africa Farmers Federation (EAFF) programme officer, Norbert Tuyishime said the Zambian seed industry was more advanced compared to other countries in the COMESA region.
Mr Tuyishime who was a delegation leader spoke after touring the seed companies' stands at the just-ended 2016 Agritech Expo in Chisamba on Thursday.
"Zambia's seed industry is at an advanced stage compared to other countries in the COMESA region," he said.
Mr Tuyishime observed that a number of farmers were willing to access improved and certified seed which was why it was necessary that companies offered the seed at an affordable price.
He encouraged companies to produce more seed which would help fight food insecurity because there would be more yields.
Mr Tuyishime further said the delegation was impressed with the certification of seed by the Seed Control and Certification Institute (SCCI) from the time it started operations.
He also said the COMESA seed harmonisation programme was very important as it introduced the availability of seed in the region.
East Africa farmer's representatives were in the country for a two-day COMESA seed farmer exchange programme.
In a related development Seedco Zambia has urged farmers in the region to adhere to planting specifications for respective seed varieties to obtain high yields.
Company plant breeder Herbert Masole said most farmers had the challenge of planting population and the time to plant which seed variety, a situation which had affected their yields.
Mr Masole said there was need for farmers to know which seed variety to plant at a particular time as some varieties where not good in some areas.
He said this when the delegation toured the Seedco plant at the weekend.
Mr Masole said Seedco would continue sensitising farmers on how to differentiate between fake and genuine seeds.
The company would continue using extension staff dotted across the country to encourage farmers to embrace good farming practices which would give them high yields.
He said there was need for farmers to embrace good agronomic practices to increase yields.