The price of certified maize seed in Zambia has gone up to K365 for a 10 kg bag from K300, while a 25 kg bag now fetches K820 from the earlier K760. This follows a surge in demand, as farmers prepare for the planting season.
Meanwhile, the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) advised farmers to be aware of unscrupulous traders selling sub-standard seed, using labels of high yielding brands.
Africanfarming.com’s survey of agro shops in Lusaka reveals that traders are doing roaring business with hybrid maize seed sales.
“Maize seed sales have been higher, especially after rain was reported in parts of Zambia,” said mr. Ahmed Moola. Trader Robby Sakala said over the last few weeks there has been a demand for higher yielding maize seed from farmers not on government’s Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP).
“We anticipate the numbers to increase when FISP distribution starts,” he said.
Zambia has dozens of maize seed varieties for early, medium and late maturity in the country’s three main agriculture zones. It includes single, double and three-way cross hybrids and open-pollinated varieties. With good management, the varieties have a potential harvest of between 10 and 20 tons.
This contributed to increasing maize production, which in the 2016/’17 season stood at 3.6 million tons.
However, unscrupulous dealers have taken advantage of the demand by selling fake seed to unsuspecting farmers at ridiculously low prices.
“When a farmer buys maize seed, he should ensure that the bag of seeds has the label from the Seed Certification Control Institute of Zambia,” ZABS advised farmers.
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