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October 24, 2011

Zimbabwe in seed maize surplus, export ban lifted

 The Zimbabwean government has lifted a ban on seed maize exports after manufacturers produced a massive surplus this year. However, seed companies are failing to take advantage of this export window because they opened branches in other countries in a bid to circumvent the ban.

Agriculture, Permanent Secretary Cde Ngoni Masoka said government lifted the suspension following clear indications that seed producers could meet local demand.

He said his ministry had invited the producers to apply for export permits, but none had come forward.
“I think the seed houses failed to come forward because they realised that they had already flooded their produce in other countries after opening branches there,” he said. The target markets are already flooded with their products.”

Government suspended maize seed exports five years ago after high demand for the product resulted in shortages. Some seed houses then opened branches in countries such as Zambia, Malawi, Kenya and Tanzania ostensibly to circumvent the measures.

However, seed output shot up to 70 000 tonnes this season against a demand of 55 000 tonnes.
Seed Co managing director Mr Dennis Zaranyika said his company alone had produced 45 000 tonnes. He said Seed Co welcomed the lifting of the ban, saying had so far supplied 750 tonnes of the seed to the Mozambican market.

“We have managed to reach the country’s targeted requirement of seed with surplus piled up in our warehouses. We hope to export this consignment once we get export permits,’’ he said.

Pioneer Hi-Breed Zimbabwe regional agronomist Mr Simba Gotosa said his company produced more than 10 000 tonnes of seed. He said it would soon apply for an export permit.


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