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Hybrid maize seeds attract high patronage

The Chief Executive Officer of M & B Seeds, Mr Ben Kemetse, says the company has increased its hybrid seed production in maize from 150 tonnes in 2018 to 260 tonness in 2019.

The increase, he said, was due to the high patronage of farmers who cultivated their seeds and recorded bumper harvest within the last three farming seasons.

According to Mr. Kemetse, because of the quality they attached to their seed production, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture bought 80 tonnes of their subsidised hybrid maize seeds in 2018 and 115 tonnes in 2019 under the government’s flagship “Planting for Food and   programme and distributed to farmers across the country.

Mr Ben Kemetse who took journalists round his production site last Thursday in Adaklu Kodzobi in the Adaklu District noted that the hybrid maize variety introduced to farmers has high protein content.

He indicated that he has over 80 outgrower farmers who feed the factory and also distributed their seeds to agro chemical shops for farmers to buy.

Mr Kemetse said prior to the start of the project in 2011, a community analysis programme was carried out during which researchers interacted with the farmers and identified some of the challenges facing farming in selected communities in the area.

The challenges, he said, ranged from pest disease to erratic rainfall, which all contributed to low yields, adding that lack of access to improved seeds was also identified as a disincentive to farming.

The good news was that the intervention to promote drought tolerant crops was yielding result and farmers benefitting from their toil, he added.

Mr Ben Kemetse explained that the hybrid maize seed introduced to farmers was timely, since maize was fast catching up in the Ho Municipality and Adaklu District as a staple.

He, however, bemoaned the cost of producing the seeds and suggested that farmers could come together, pool resources and purchase the seeds, since they stood to benefit in the long run.

Mr Kemetse said their major challenge “is funds to expand” and appealed for government’s support.

He was optimistic that as a farmer-centred company, they would continue to support smallholder farmers in its operation as has been amply demonstrated over the past years through several interventions aimed at increasing farmer knowledge, productivity and farmer profitability through M & B Seeds.

FROM KAFUI GATI, ADAKLU KODZOBI

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