Seed plant: Milestone towards NDS1 goals

Capitalk Reporter |  10 months ago | local

Collaboration between the Government and the private sector will be strengthened to ensure increased production, productivity, profitability and the attainment of the National Development Strategy, President Mnangagwa said yesterday at the commissioning of the first phase of Seed Co’s new maize conditioning plant.

The new investment of US$13 million showed how companies complemented his administration’s focus and resolve to accelerate the attainment of the aspirations of NDS1.

“Today we are witnessing Seed Co’s commitment towards supporting Government efforts in the implementation of the NDS1 and attainment of our national vision.

This investment is timely and opportune as it will consolidate the gains of the successful agriculture season and the projected equallysuccessful 2021-2022 season,” said the President.

The plant was made possible through a loan facility from a French company, Proparco, which focusses on financing private sector development.

The plant will provide quick turnaround of production and productivity, reduce drying time for seed maize, enable early harvesting and payment to growers with grower traceability and open up land for double cropping thereby ensuring increased crop range for farmers.

It will also curb post-maturity losses, enhance seed viability and advance processed seed market readiness. The President urged the agriculture sector and its stakeholders to increase investments across the agriculture value chain, that will see positive impacts on poverty eradication and improvement on the quality of people’s lives.

He noted with encouragement that the investment was driven by local contractors in terms of consultancy, engineering and construction and commended the synergies and added that each country was built by its own people.

“This way, our industries will grow and strengthen each other through downstream and upstream linkages. This collaboration resulted in savings of the much needed foreign currency, creation of jobs and ultimately the empowerment of local communities. Each country is built by its people, brick upon brick, stone upon stone.

We have Zimbabweans who do not believe that Zimbabwe can be built by Zimbabweans, so wake up,” said President Mnangagwa.

“I challenge other companies to take a leaf from such practical initiatives and play their part in growing, modernising and diversifying the agriculture sector along other sectors of our economy.

On our part as Government we will continue to support and modernise agriculture through multi-pronged interventions,” said the President. He commended Seed Co and urged it to collaborate with institutions of higher learning to establish more agro-industrial parks.

“This plant is a welcome development as we seek to enhance our local skills, competencies and capabilities across all sectors of the economy,” he said Seed Co board chairperson, Mr Dave Long said the project will be done in four phases of which the first phase with a capacity of 5 000 tonnes of seed maize had been completed.

“It is important to note that there will not be any increase in the price of the seed maize to the consumers as a result of Seed Co’s investment in this project,” said Mr Long Vice President Constantino Chiwenga commended Seed Co for being able to establish a continental footprint in its market segment across Africa leveraging the power of its brand and superior seed products.

“The Second Republic’s engagement and reengagement mantra must give impetus to more investment in the county not only in the agriculture sector but in all sectors of the economy,” said VP Chiwenga.

He hailed Seed Co for vaccinating 99 percent of its employees, and donating 15 000 doses of vaccine to Agrictex and the local community around its major centre as part of social responsibility.

French ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Laurent Chevallier said the commissioning of the plant was a positive step in the economic relationship between Zimbabwe and France which was one of his priorities and mandate.

“Propacro focusses on financing businesses that are instrumental in creating decent jobs and those that supply essential services battling climate change,” he said.

Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister Anxious Masuka expressed hope that the cost efficiency created by the plant would not only be transmitted to growers and shareholders but other stakeholders such as customers who include the Government, through a notable reduction cost of seed.

“We urge seed companies such as Seed Co to continue supporting various Government initiatives to transform the agriculture sector through the Agriculture and Food System Transformation Strategy 2020 to 2025 which you launched Your Excellency on 26 August last year,” said Minister Masuka Defence and War Veterans Minister Oppah Muchiguri-Kashiri said the country was in need of more driers hence the plant had come at an opportune time when the country was registering good yields owing to good rains.

The event was attended by Cabinet Ministers, deputy ministers, legislators, captains of industry, traditional leaders and farmers