Seed Co

The origins of Seed Co Limited (Seed Co) date back to 1940, but it was officially founded by seed producers in 1983 as the Seed Co-operative Company of Zimbabwe. In 1996, it went public and was listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange. Groupe Limagrain currently holds a 30% stake in the company.

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Regional Index

Eastern Africa

Summary of results:

Seed Co has an average ranking in the Regional Index. The company has a large crop portfolio and is present in all 12 Index countries. It performs well on the breeding of improved varieties, especially for field crops, based on smallholder farmers’ preferences and has a quality assurance system that includes monitoring of seed quality throughout the distribution network. With regard to its policies and contracts with farmers, the company is encouraged to include exemptions for the use of farm-saved seeds by smallholder farmers in Index countries.

Operations in Scope
  • Countries in Scope
  • Company Presence
  • Production Locations
  • Breeding Station/R&D
Leading Practices

    Seed Co gathers information during on-farm visits and variety demonstrations to help determine its R&D focus and priorities for breeding improved varieties for smallholder farmers in all countries where it is active.

    It tracks the number of smallholder farmers it reaches through its education programs in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

    The company has contributed its own germplasm to collaborative projects for breeding and multiplication purposes in several countries, including Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It has also granted access to its germplasm for research trials.

    The company has a quality assurance system and ISO 17025 certification for its testing and calibration laboratories. The quality assurance system includes monitoring of seed quality throughout the distribution network. The company prevents seeds from being sold beyond their shelf life through follow-ups with seed distributors and by retaining unsold seeds. Additionally, it tackles counterfeit products by using company inspectors as well as symbols that are not easy to duplicate.

Index Crops in Portfolio
Sales Breeding Focus
BDI ETH KEN MDG MWI MOZ RWD SSD TZA UGA ZMB ZWE Broad
Adaptation
Hight
Altitude
Mid
Altitude
Low
Altitude
Global Field Crops
Barley
Beans, dry
Maize
Potato
Rice, paddy
Sorghum
Soybean
Wheat
Global Vegetable Crops
Cauliflower
Chili pepper
Cucumber
Eggplant
Garlic
Gherkins
Gourd
Green bean
Green pea
Leek
Lettuce
Melon
Okra
Onion
Pumpkin
Spinach
Squash
Sweet pepper
Tomato
Turnip
Watermelon
Local Field Crops
Cowpea
Lablab
Pigeon pea
Tef
Areas for Improvement

    Seed Co could improve its transparency by disclosing formal policies related to its programs for improving access to seeds.

    The company has blocked the use of farm-saved seed in countries where it is legally possible to do so. It is encouraged to make an exception for smallholder farmers by including exemptions for the use of farm-saved seeds in relevant contracts.

Notable Findings

    Seed Co has a formal commitment to improve access to seeds for smallholder farmers, in line with the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable  Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim Asset).

    The company reinvests 5% of its local sales in demonstration projects for smallholder farmers.

    The company has seed production activities in all of the Regional Index countries where it is active, and 25% of its seed production is carried out by smallholder farmers.