HARARE, September 28 (The Source) – Regional seed producer, SeedCo expects its sales and earnings to grow this year on positive weather forecasts and continuation of government’s farmer support programme.
Chief executive Morgan Nzwere on Thursday told shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting that winter cereal seed sales grew 257 percent in the first quarter, largely driven by the command agriculture scheme in Zimbabwe
“We expect earnings to grow, the weather forecast is quite positive, with the weatherman indicating normal to above normal rainfall. In Zimbabwe the command agriculture scheme is continuing and indications are that volumes will actually increase compared to last year,” Nzwere said.
Volumes for the Zimbabwe operation went up by 358 percent although margins came down.
In Zambia wheat seed sales increased by 97 percent, benefiting from improved water and electricity supply.
Nzwere said SeedCo had registered 18 seed varieties on the COMESA variety catalogue which will allow the company to grow its market reach.
SeedCo is in a process of partially unbundling its external operations which will be listed on a regional stock exchange to raise capital for expansion
“We are waiting for regulatory approvals and the strategy is to basically be able to protect our external markets , which we have developed over the years.We believe we need to be stronger externally, so that we can defend our market share from the giants in the seed industry,” he said.
The group recovered $24 million in debt since year end. Finance director, John Matorofa told The Source on the sidelines of the annual general meeting that 50 percent of the $16,7 million owed by different governments has been paid.