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DUAL-LISTED regional seed company Seed Co International has reported a 17% decline in maize seed sales in Nigeria and Kenya’s bimodal seasons as compared to the same period last year largely due to droughts in Kenya and floods in Nigeria, the company said in its August 2021 annual general meeting trading update.

Vegetable seed sales in Zambia, Tanzania, South Africa, Kenya and Malawi were also 15% below prior year figures due to excessive rains in southern Africa that slowed down vegetable planting.

The company, primarily listed in Botswana with a secondary-listing on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, said sales dropped in Kenya due to drought and lower repeat sales in Nigeria on the back of a very successful prior season and ongoing excessive rains or flooding which characterised most parts of west Africa.

“Volumes in Nigeria are expected to come down slightly on the back of an excellent last season and flooding at the beginning of the current season,” said the company.

The business, whose main trading activity is winter cereals in Zambia and maize seed in Kenya and Nigeria, registered 99% wheat volumes growth, all out of Zambia.

The performance in Zambia was off a low base since prior year sales were made in advance towards the close of the company’s financial year in 2020 due to COVID-19 pre-stocking.

Seed Co International promised to unveil several exciting new products which are in the pipeline and these include maize varieties SC419, SC555 and SC659 to be commercialised in Zambia and Tanzania.

Green mealie product SC733 was  launched in Zambia.

Cob rot and tip cover breeding projects have been initiated as the group responds to feedback from farmers while some Seed Co maize hybrids are undergoing registration in Cameroon.

The group said Comesa catalogue registration was at an advanced stage. Rice trials are also continuing across the markets while the vegetable seed business segment is continuing with the hybridisation agenda in all markets.

“The income contribution proportion of these high-value products is growing satisfactorily,” added the group in reference to the vegetable seed unit.

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