The‌ ‌potential‌ ‌in‌ ‌a‌ ‌seed‌

Lindiwe Sithole, host of African Farming Season 2, is impressed with Free State farmer Nkosana Mtambo’s passion for agriculture and his community. It was his grandfather who planted the powerful seeds of knowledge in him from a young age. “He made time to show me around and teach me how various aspects of the farming business worked,” Mtambo says. “Words cannot express what his mentorship meant to me.” 

Selecting the right seed to plant each year is a challenge. Pannar has invested in seed technology for years to be able to sell farmers quality seed that produce great yields. Seed technology is one of the basic tools agribusinesses use to help farmers secure food supply.

It enables farmers to overcome serious challenges in their environment, and helps them to grow crops in less favourable production regions. Farmers should have access to a supply of quality seed in a timely manner and at a reasonable rate. 

“A seed is not just a seed – there are many different cultivars farmers can choose from,” Sithole says. This choice is one of the most crucial elements in the livelihoods of farmers. The cultivars you invest in for the season can make or break your yield.

A cultivar holds the genetic potential of the crop species and its varieties; and the continuous improvement of these cultivars through technology ensures food security and supply year after year.

Sithole invites Reggie Mchunu, Business Development Manager at Pannar, to share his knowledge on seed technology. “There lies many characteristics within the seed, all of which a farmer should consider carefully before investing in a cultivar for the season.” Mchunu explains.

He adds that farmers should understand their environment and soil before deciding on a cultivar. “It is important to speak to an advisor so that you can choose a cultivar that suits the environmental conditions on your farm.” 

Some cultivars have insect protection against stalk borers, others have tolerance to specific herbicides, and there are cultivars that have better leaf disease or drought tolerance – the list goes on, Mchunu says. “Farmers should take all of these aspects into account when selecting the right cultivar for their farm.”

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