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    Saturday, 20 July 2019

    SeedCo holds vegetable planting demos in Zaka


    ZAKA - SeedCo recently held a vegetable planting demo for farmers at Fuve Panganai (section D3) in a bid to improve the quality of their produce and make them more competitive when dealing with large customers like supermarkets.
    The demo which attracted hundreds of farmers from Ward 15 was told that there was a shortage of vegetables on the market in Masvingo hence the need to grow more and better crops.
    SeedCo Agronomist Bright Musakanda urged small farmers to grow hybrid vegetables like Rampant Rape, Broccoli (montop), cauliflower, and cabbages including corton and Dixit because they produce good yields.
    “Hybrid seeds are expensive but they yield a good harvest and have high returns after selling to big markets like supermarkets. Supermarkets in the city weigh the vegetables when buying and pay each product according to the size and weight which enables the farmer to earn a lot of money.
    “The competition is stiff as compared to vendors who sell at public places like Chitima because their market does not purchase in bulk and is limited. Selling to larger markets is more profitable,” said Musakanda.
    The planting demonstrations were led by SeedCo sales representative, Godfrey Magavu.
    The requirements for planting rampant rape are 1kg of compound C fertilizer, 10m2 bed, 30x20cm spacing, and the fertilizer is sprinkled and mixed with the soil before planting. Broccoli (Montop) requires 40 x 40cm spacing, shallow holes, and cup number 22 which is used to apply compound C fertilizer, said Magavu.
    Cauliflower needs 40 x 50cm spacing and the same amount of fertilizer used in planting Broccoli. After 10 days the farmers can apply Ammonium Nitrate (AN) 5cm away from the plant as it can burn plants and for rape it can be reapplied after 10 days.
    Magavu also shared information pertaining to the harvest time and life spans of the hybrid vegetables.
    “Rampant rape can be harvested after 21 days and the plants survive up to 4 months. Broccoli takes 2 months to develop the dome shaped head.The rot resistant, corton cabbage matures after 80 days when it has developed a green-grey colour and weighs from 5kgs upwards,” said Magavu.
    Musakanda urged farmers at the irrigation scheme to prioritize horticulture by growing large amounts of vegetables and to have a broad market and supply system. He advised farmers to be consistent in their supplies.
    A farmer at the irrigation scheme, Clemence Mahoya said that he supplied vegetables to Jerera, Chiredzi and Masvingo but most buyers were exploiting them as they would want to buy the product at unreasonably low prices.
    “I am a small scale farmer and I grow tomatoes, rape, covo and butternuts. I supply butternuts to Chitima market in Masvingo but the buyers always negotiate to pay less than the charged price and as a result I run loses,” said Mahoya.
    Other hybrid vegetables that were recommended for small scale farmers were Chibli, Nash tomatoes which are small in size when harvested and Daisy tomatoes which are slightly bigger.#Masvingo Mirror#
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