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AU Dream Farm receives donation from Seedco Zimbabwe for 2019/20 Agricultural season

20 November 2019
Story by
Jeanette Dadzie
Marketing and Public Affairs Officer, Office of Advancement and Public Affairs

The Africa University Dream Farm received a donation from Seedco Zimbabwe of maize seed to the value of ZWL$ 40 169 that will see the farm poised to reap a bumper harvest in the 2019/20 agricultural year. The seed donated can produce about 280 tonnes of maize upon harvesting valued at ZWL$588 000.00 at the current Grain Marketing Board of Zimbabwe stipulated price.

 

The partnership that exists between Seedco Zimbabwe and Africa University is one that stretches as far back as 2005 with the institution being selected by the seed giant to become one of its key research and development stations for the development of seed varieties that offer farmers better yields.  This feeds into safeguarding the food security of the nation through rigorous trials, experimentation and hybrid seed development to create crops that thrive under increasingly extreme weather conditions especially in the age of climate change.


Senior lecturer in the College of Health, Agriculture and Natural Sciences’ Agriculture Department Dr. Chiteka who is also a member of the technical committee of the Seedco Board, appreciated the value of the relationship that the University has nurtured with Seedco.

“Seedco has been an integral partner in our development as the Department of Agriculture. This has been through the taking in of students who are on work- related learning programmes from AU to Seedco to learn first-hand of the seed industry and the huge role it plays in ensuring sustainability and viability of the food production sector. Further to this, the research that our students embark on at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels is informed by the current problems faced by the seed industry that are learnt of and solved through a collaborative learning and research process with that company. This is a practical and contextually relevant model of learning that through interrogation and scientific inquiry has benefitted both the partners and the learners immensely.”


Dr. Chiteka went on the emphasize that Africa University graduates form the Agribusiness, Crop Sciences and Livestock Production programmes are highly sought after and land top jobs within the agricultural sector due to an intentional focus on producing, “Fit for Purpose” graduates who are highly skilled and practically trained within their craft.


Through the advancement efforts of the  Vice Chancellor Professor Munashe Furusa, the  AU department of Agriculture has partnerships with a number of other organizations in various sectors from the tobacco industry, dairy, poultry, corporate and NGO’s that are driven by value addition and beneficiation of agricultural products thereby complementing the continental efforts of Agenda 2063 for the industrialization of African economies, as well as encouraging knowledge generation and innovation in a marriage between industry and higher education geared towards problem solving  and leveraging technology for development.


Prof. Furusa said,

“This important donation comes at a time the university is strengthening its relationships and collaboration with industry so as to ensure a direct contribution to the socio-economic transformation of our beautiful nation and continent. This impactful donation is testament to our longstanding relationship that has seen Seed-Co supporting us on various occasions, enabling our farm to contribute significantly towards the nations’ food security as well overall sustainability in the University through business enterprise initiatives.”


Seedco Zimbabwe is part of the Seedco Group that operates in much of Southern Africa, through to Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Ghana. Its mandate is to breed, produce, process and market hybrid crop seeds. Co products are the end result of a long term scientific breeding programme