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SeedCo targets 94 000t seed

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Seed manufacturing firm SeedCo Limited says it plans to increase its seed output to 94 000 tonnes from 65 000 in previous years and is also eyeing development markets in Nigeria and Ghana.

Speaking at an analysts’ briefing in Harare on Tuesday, group chief executive officer Morgan Nzwere said the output would be for all its seed varieties including cotton, soyabean, wheat and maize seed.

“We expect to sell 66% of this output as we have a large market share in the region. We are happy that we have addressed a big problem on our production side, ” Nzwere said.

“The group has successfully turned around its seed production capacity and for the first time in five years is able to have some carryover stocks on the balance sheet. All SBUs are now in a position to meet demand as well as take advantage of opportunities in the region.

“Successive drought in Kenya is expected to result in strong demand for seed.” The company currently operates in Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia and Malawi.
He said the company was eyeing developments markets in Nigeria and Ghana and marketing developments were already underway.

“Market development activities in West Africa are expected to bear fruit within the next couple of years and start contributing to the bottom line.”

The crop seed company recorded an increase of turnover to $97,8 million for the year ended March 31 2011 from $76,9 million last year indicating a 27% growth.

This has been attributed to the strong demand in maize and cotton seed.

The company’s group finance director, John Matorofa, said hybrid maize seed volumes rose by 6%, while cotton seed sales went up by 115%.

“Maize seed prices were also adjusted upwards to keep pace with market dictates. Cotton seed demand in all markets firmed up in response to the increased lint prices on the world market,” said Matorofa.

Profit after tax for the group rose by 30% to $17,4 million from $13,3 million.

Matorofa said the amount owed by the Malawi and Zambian governments was expected to be paid up by end of the first quarter of the new financial year.

In a statement accompanying its financial results SeedCo said inaugural seed production activities in Tanzania and Ethiopia have shown excellent prolificacy of the company’s new varieties in the new markets.

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