JOHANNESBURG - US agriculture company Corteva Agriscience, which supplies crop protection as well as seeds to farmers, officially launched in Zambia this week with a pledge to support the southern African country in its drive to become a regional hub for agricultural innovation.
In a statement after the launch, the company said it had reiterated its commitment to backing government efforts to ensure national food security and laid out its vision to extend that goal to the wider regional eastern and southern Africa region.
Corteva Agriscience signed a memorandum of understanding with the Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) under which farmers will be trained on agricultural best practices, while Corteva will provide access to high-quality hybrid seeds, crop protection products and digital farming solutions.
"The production landscape in Zambia is dynamic, as farmers constantly strive to survive and respond to many factors such as dealing with the effects of climate change, enhancing productivity and embracing diversification," ZNFU president Jervis Zimba said.
"There is an abundant desire for seed technologies among the farmers and we are excited with the efforts being made by big companies such as Corteva Agriscience.”
Zambia's government has highlighted the need for significant change in agriculture to meet rising food demand.
Corteva Agriscience East Africa commercial unit leader Joseph Anampiu said a productive, high-performance agricultural sector would deliver significant improvements for Zambia’s gross domestic product, contributing to employment and broadening the tax base.
"Considering that the agriculture sector in Zambia employs almost half of the population, it is important that we support institutions vital to the growth and development of the sector," he said.
"Corteva’s presence in Zambia is to ultimately provide support to Zambian farmers – using their strong value proposition of an integrated seed, crop protection and technology offering to enhance operations and improve farming productivity for the benefit of Zambian society."
Corteva Agriscience said Zambia was a strategically important market for the company as it was the home of a key food production hub into East Africa, making a significant contribution to the food security of that region.
The country's average maize yield (kg per hectare) is 2.4 metric tonnes, above the African average of 2.0 metric tonnes.
Zambia is home to the Corteva plant breeding research and development team which conducts testing activities to identify and deliver products for the local maize market and the broader east and south sentral African region.
This is in addition to a R100 million investment in research capacity at the Delmas research hub in South Africa.
- African News Agency (ANA)