Seed Co records its biggest ever wheat and soya seed sales, but cautious on outlook

Wheat at Ivordale Farm. Bigger wheat hectarage helped Seed Co (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty)

Seed Co says record sales of wheat and soya seed helped lift volumes by 14% in the nine months to December and by 46% in the last quarter of 2022.

Zimbabwe last year increased wheat hectarage to 80,885ha from 60,000 in 2021, a boon for the country’s biggest seed producer.

“Volume increased by 14% over the past nine months compared to the same period prior year, and by 46% compared to the same quarter prior year, helped by ample stocks, exports, record local sales of wheat and soybeans as well as favourable rainfall projections towards the start of the main planting season,” Seed Co says in an update.

“In Zimbabwe the business is expected to experience volume growth as well as a notable increase in the contribution of hard currency revenue from encouraging export growth and a significant increase in domestic sales in USD.”

A record wheat harvest, estimated at over 370,000 tonnes, however masks delayed payments to growers and rising input costs.

Seed Co warns that global unrest and Zimbabwe’s own economic problems – such as power cuts, the currency crisis, high interest rates and rising inflation – make the outlook uncertain for the economy this year.

“Zimbabwe’s internal socio-economic issues were compounded by the continued global economic unrest to make the local business environment even more difficult and uncertain. Some of the major challenges the business is dealing with include the ongoing energy crisis, the lack of and high cost of fertilisers and agrochemicals, the loss in consumer purchasing power, and the shortage of liquidity in both local and hard currency,” says Seed Co.

A bigger wheat crop last year has allowed Zimbabwe to import less wheat. However, the country still has to import some wheat to blend with local grain for bread. Between January and November, Zimbabwe imported 186,000 tonnes of wheat products – which includes wheat grains, flours and other related goods – which was down 11% over the same period in 2021.

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