Difficulties in marketing this year forced the freeze on the implementation of a new plant for processing improved maize seed in the municipality of Lubango, southern Huila Province.
Data from the Ministry of Agriculture indicate that to double production levels from an average of 1,000 kg per hectare, the country needs 70,000 tons of improved maize seed, each agricultural year, and massive distribution to producers.
In an interview with ANGOP, the director general of the Jardins de Yoba group, which owns the project, João Saraiva, said that this unit with guaranteed funding would be the company’s second, specialized in the multiplication and processing of improved seeds and would join na old one, with over 50 years od existence, which today
processes 20 tons/day.
The group’s new project, whose implementation had to be stopped, plans to process, according to the source, 20 tons per hour, and is planned for the Arimba commune. “We are going to invest more than five million dollars in this industrial unit at Arimba and we already have the financing, but we are afraid, because we need to be sure that the amount of seed to be processed will be sold, through a programme-contract with the government, before that we think that we’ll not take the step forward”, justified the businessman.
João Saraiva stated that when they entered the National Seed Programme, they decided to reach the figure of two thousand tons of improved seed in less than five years of activity, which can already be achieved through a contract with the state, to give greater security to the investment, as the goal is to reach five thousand tons in ten years.
He complained of a “slowdown” by the state in the acquisition of improved seeds, in a country where there is a need for 70 thousand tons/year. According to the interviewee, the group has, in terms of seed production, all the stages defined, the scale of production established, through its own fields, which allow it to reach two thousand tons/year and the identified partners that can act as facilitators to guarantee the desired production volume.
“In the case of improved maize seed, the country’s needs are 70,000 tons/year, because we still have a productivity of less than 1,000 kilograms per hectare, due to the poor use of improved seeds, when neighbouring countries such as Malawi and Zambia harvest more than two thousand kilograms per hectare and South Africa five thousand”, he argued.
The Ministry of Agriculture, according to the source, with the improved seed that it acquires distributes close to five thousand tons that serve only to cover five percent of the country’s total arable area and the remaining 95 percent is from agriculture made with the producer’s seed, with a very low degree of productivity.
To the entrepreneur, the difficulties in acquiring improved seeds in the national territory mean that average productivity is the lowest in relation to neighbouring countries, so it is necessary to look for a greater distribution of the improved product to farmers.
The company Jardins da Yoba owns four farms, namely Humpata, in the municipality with the same name, Maheque, Mucuma and Chaungo, in Chibia.
It also has partnerships with two others, Chivemba (Cunene Province) and Tandanda, in Matala (Huíla), all aimed at the production of improved seeds. It currently employs 300 workers, 30 of whom have recently graduated and joined the company in the last two years.
It also has a public-private partnership with the Agricultural Research Institute.