Senior Agriculture Reporters
THE use of genetically modified seeds is not an answer to the problem of poor yields farmers are currently producing, Seed Co group chief executive, Mr Morgan Nzwere said yesterday. Addressing journalists in Harare, Mr Nzwere said although GMOs had advantages over
conventional seed, they were not the sole answer to low yields.
“Agronomic practices are one of the most important factors to consider when we talk about yields and the performance of crop varieties.
“Even the genetically modified seeds do not perform any better if they do not receive the proper agronomic requirements.
“I think we need to look at the varieties that we are using locally that are free from GMOs but are performing very well.
“Our emphasis is on the right methods of propagation and care,” he said.
He said GMOs were usually a trait introduced into an already existing variety so that it performed better.
Mr Nzwere gave an example of BT cotton that was designed to deal with the problem of bollworm.
“Planting time, weeding and general crop management are very critical in the successful production of any crop.
“We produce our seed in line with Government policy, which clearly stipulates that GMOs are not welcome in Zimbabwe at the moment,” he said.
Seed Co Zimbabwe managing director, Mr Denias Zaranyika, said it was critical that farmers have access to affordable inputs timely to get high yields.
“We are breaking our business operations into the smallest possible units that will be readily available even at village level so that farmers can easily access services
“This has also seen us penetrating regional markets that include Malawi, Zambia and Kenya to name a few,” he said.
Seed Co is currently operating in 15 countries on the African continent and has engaged growers from those countries to produce seed and adopt a local flavour.