It is my great pleasure and honour to welcome and thank you all for coming to our Annual Commercial Farmers Field Day here at Rattray Arnold Research Station, that was established more than 40 years ago in 1977. As you have already witnessed, we are once again showcasing the results of our Research and Breeding A-Team. We now have research teams across Africa to ensure that our genetics are well adapted to various ecologies. This special day in our cal- endar allows us to celebrate the special relationship we have with farmers. Without a vibrant farming stakeholder community, demanding the best from us, there can be no vigorous re- search efforts. When you demand the best in life you get the best possible.
We also extend a special warm Zimbabwean welcome to all our friends from Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania. The Seed Co story started nearly 80 years ago, in 1940, and we produced the first hybrid variety in 1949. Since then we are operating in 16 Countries and continuing our visionary growth journey.
Guest of Honour, Honorable Minister Shiri,
We wish to thank you for gracing this special occasion and honouring our invitation. As the Seed Co family we congratulate you on your appointment as Minister Of Lands, Agriculture And Rural Resettlement. This is a fitting appointment given your commitment to our Agricul- tural renaissance; Your championing of the Command Agriculture Programme as a frontline of National Security.
In you we see a True Patriot, and Man of Action, who is ready to lead the charge to redeem our National Farming Heritage. With your leadership we are confident that we will once again be able to feed ourselves as a nation, export agricultural produce, generating forex.
Agriculture is the backbone of the Zimbabwe Economy and vital to national well-being:
- Agriculture underpins the Economic, and livelihoods of more than 80% of our people.
- Agriculture contributes 18% of our GDP;
- Over 40% of our Export Earnings are due to Agricultural Activities.
- Agriculture supplies more than 60% of Raw Materials required by various Agro-Allied Manufacturers.
Clearly as we buttress Agriculture we put Zimbabwe on the path to recovery.
Seed Co is what it is because of you the farmers. You are the engine of our success. You have faithfully used our Maize, Wheat, Soya-Bean, Sugar Beans, And Sorghum Seed Varieties and you have Stories of Success as both Seed Growers and Crop Producers.
Your loyal support gives us the fuel to do more in our Research efforts. We have invested heavily in World-class Laboratories, that now have capabilities to undertake Molecular and other highly sophisticated breeding techniques.
The foundation of our work as Seed Co is a deeply rooted belief and conviction in dignity of the farmer. Zimbabwe’s engine for development is a vibrant farming community that is put- ting our rich heritage of land, Seed Co’s superior genetics and the farmers’ hard-work to prof- itable use.
These following FOUR Beliefs guide and strengthen our convictions:
1. Zimbabwean farmers have big dreams
As Seed Co Zimbabwe we give Farmers high performing seeds they value, and trust. Our breeding efforts are geared at improving harvests, addressing the needs of farmers and making farming ventures profitable.
2. Zimbabwean farmers make good seed buying decisions
Farming is an important business and hardwork that is fraught with risk. Using fake or un- certified seed leaves farmers vulnerable to getting poor harvests. As Seed Co we only sell quality best of breed certified seed.
/Zimbabwean Farmers deserve…
3. Zimbabwean farmers deserve respect
Our farmers and customers deserve our highest respect. We strive to listen genuinely and seek out farmer feedback. We are challenged to make it easy for farmers to do business with us, find and afford our seed. We can only learn when we listen. We urge you our valued farm- ers to let us know your concerns and on-farm challenges and what we can do to be your true partners in successful farming.
4. Zimbabwean farmers work really hard
Our farmers are known for their work ethic and therefore deserve Value for Money. Our products stand for value in your hands, and soils. The crops you saw today are evidence of our commitment to innovation, continuous improvement, better seeds and breeding to suit to the eco- logical and weather conditions at your farms. We are seized with efforts to help farmers deal with pests and diseases and new threats such as the Fall Army Worm, MNLD and Climate Change that work against farmer efforts.
This is why we have made special arrangements to have an expert from SeedCare South Afri- ca, to address you today on this burning subject.
We are aware of the ever rising costs of inputs and we are hard at work to produce varieties that have better nitrogen efficiency, meaning that you can use less fertilizers but get better yields. Our pledge is never be found wanting on our side of the farmer’s Success Equation.
We would like to commend your Ministry for its efforts in supporting Agricultural Development in Zimbabwe and tirelessly working to address the bottlenecks that have affected the Agricul- ture Sector in the past. In particular we applaud Government’s efforts to address the issue of irrigation and draught power by releasing $100 Million dollars for Dam construction and the retooling of DDF’s tillage fleet. The efforts of Government through the expanded Command Agriculture pro- gramme are commendable and requires all of us to play a role in supporting these initiatives.
For agriculture to be productive the starting point is productive seed delivered by an efficient seed industry that partners Government. As Seed Co we lead the way in adopting technology, innovation and fit for purpose seed breeding and enthusiastically supporting Government in- put and development programmes. We are supporting our Seed Growers with Irrigation and other equipment to ensure that Seed Supply to the nation is assured and not vulnerable to the risks of drought.
/ We have also expanded…
We have also expanded our scope beyond our mainstay seed basket and have now extended our Seed breeding expertise into Horticultural Produce by establishing PrimeSeed Co as a joint venture with a Top 5 World Leader in Vegetable Genetics, H.M. Clause.
We are also raising the bar and complementing Government’s production efforts by encour- aging farmers through the 11t Maize Club, Soya 5t and the Wheat 10t Club promotions.
Our Seed Growers require special mention. Theirs is a task that requires rigorous management to ensure that our high quality standards are met.
Let me conclude my speech by once again thanking you all for your unwavering, loyal and enthusiastic support for Seed Co. Your presence demonstrates your appreciation and respect for our work we do and your commitment to successful farming in Zimbabwe. With your sup- port, the future of Seed Co is brighter; and the plight of the grower and farmer is better. This is a progressive step forward in the war to regain food security.
We wish you all a safe journey home.
To our brothers and sisters who came from our neighbouring countries we have been in- spired by your presence here. Farmers everywhere are kindred souls. We are confident that you have some good stories about Zimbabwe that you are going to share with others back home.
We move forward then, taking extreme ownership of successful farming, pushing the limits of farm productivity and partnering the Government in Agriculture-led development efforts. Once we get Agriculture right, we are on the right path to getting all other things right. What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us are tiny matters compared to the potential that lies within you our farmers and our pride. Let us all remain focused and committed to profit- able farming and promoting the Zimbabwe farming brand.
Grow the seed you know, Grow Seed Co Seed.