Development of the seed industry
Havazvidi, Ephraim K.
Tattersfield, Rex J.
MetadataShow full item record
In the 1940s some farmers’ associations initiated seed production in Zimbabwe and since then the seed industry has been supported by research and plant breeding by government and statutory boards. By the end of the 1980s and in the early 1990s, industry contributed to the research effort and complemented the excellent government programmes. For most of the field crops grown in Zimbabwe, there are locally-bred, well-adapted varieties for particular ecological and farming conditions. Seed producers can obtain advice based on research to enable them to grow their seed crops efficiently. Various seed distribution systems have been used to ensure that seed of the right varieties was available when required, especially for the former large- scale farming sector but considerable strides have been made to enable smallholder farmers to obtain the seed they require too. Price controls and realistic pricing policies meant that good quality seed produced in Zimbabwe could be purchased at prices lower than in most countries in the world. The fast track resettlement programme that began in 2000 has resulted in a number of challenges within the seed industry. The increased demand for seed by newly resettled farmers and reduced seed production by white commercial farmers and seed houses has left the industry in disarray. The challenge after 2000 is how best to increase seed production by the newly resettled farmers in order to ensure that all types of farmers can access seed requirements on time. This chapter will discuss the development of the seed industry in Zimbabwe from the pre-colonial era until recent times. It will examine the organizational structure and the legislation issues of seed production and related issues such as plant breeding.