78 years is a lifetime and a welldeserved age for a company. With a strong presence in Sub Sahara Africa, Seedco can be regarded as an advanced and senior seed company with enough experience to lead in the market.
The company started in 1940 in Zimbabwe as a cooperative and spread to other African countries like South Africa, Botswana, Kenya, Rwanda, Angola, the DRC, Nigeria, Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania, and Zambia. “Basically we are a Pan African business with a strong focus on research and breeding of high-end seed varieties,” Brian Mhango, Market Development Manager of Seedco, says. “Besides maize, we also offer wheat, soya beans, barley, sorghum and vegetable seed in our portfolio.”
In Zambia, Seedco has an unbeatable footprint and a distribution channel of over 800 agro dealers. They also have their own depot outlets to ensure even better visibility and service.“Seedco is the market leader in terms of seed solutions in Zambia and we want to sustain that foothold. We are not only giving farmers high-end products, but also access to agronomic information and practices that will increase their productivity. We have invested a great deal in extension support services to ensure that farmers have full access to first rate practices to get the best value out of our seed,”
Brian says. “We have over 30 agronomists spread across the country and they give agronomical support free of charge. We want informed farmers, because a farmer armed with knowledge is a productive and successful farmer.”
The average yield for maize in Zambia is two to three tonnes per hectare, but Seedco offers maize hybrid solutions that can yield 14 tonnes per hectare. According to Brian, the missing link is access to information. “We are trying to breach that technology gap with the help of our agronomists. They teach farmers the correct crop practices to ensure that their full potential and top productivity is reached. Land preparation, seed selection, planting dates, fertiliser application, pest mitigation and also the post-harvest issues they have to deal with, are included in our training programmes. That is significant extra value from our seed. There are over 2 million small-scale farmers in Zambia, and Seedco made sure that every one of them knows about their successful products. “We have over 2 000 demonstration plots in every corner and all over the country. These sites are fully managed by local farmers, says Brian.”
With the aid of these plots, Seedco presents field and farmer days where company and clients can meet and exchange information, knowledge and experience. One of Seedco’s famous trademarks are the animals on their maize packaging to represent a certain maturing period.
This season they have excellent performers in their varieties:
Rabbit/hare – Ultra early maturing varieties like SC303
Monkey – Very early maturing varieties like SC403
Zebra – Early maturing varieties like SC513 and SC525
Lion – Medium maturing varieties like SC637, SC647 and SC633
Elephant – Late maturing varieties like SC719 and SC727
“For farmers to get the best value for their money, we offer the unbeatable SC637, SC647 and SC719. SC513 and SC403 are also unmatched in their performance,” Brian says.
On the soya beans, Seedco has two exceptional varieties, Spike and Safari, which offer excellent yield and grain quality and very high oil content for the oil processors. “On the wheat side we have Nduna, an excellent performer, and especially commercial farmers claim that nothing beats the Nduna wheat variety,” Brian says.