With the support of USAID’s Southern Africa Trade Hub, a new hybrid maize seed well-suited to Swaziland’s farming community was introduced into the country in September 2015, demonstrating the progress that Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Member States have made harmonizing and modernizing their seed sectors.
A pilot conducted by the Trade Hub helped test the effectiveness and workability of the SADC Harmonised Seed Regulations protocols and resulted in the launch of the SADC Maize Varieties List.
During the week of January 4, 2016, Mbovane Marketing from Swaziland reported that it has already sold 50% of the introduced drought-tolerant maize seed variety MRI514.
Thanks to Trade Hub support, a relationship was forged between two seed companies in Swaziland and Zambia, enabling the transaction that brought MR1 514 to Swaziland. Seed trials in Swaziland with eight variety samples were conducted in preparation for the selection, transportation, storage, handling, inspection and certification services for the delivery of MRI 514 maize hybrid seed from MRI/Syngenta in Zambia.
The drought-tolerant variety is designed to improve yields and is expected to benefit Swaziland and Zambia, their private businesses, farmers, traders and consumers.
Photo: The MR1 514 hybrid maize seed is an early-maturing, drought-tolerant variety with a potential yield of ten metric tons per hectare. Adoption of this variety could significantly increase the average smallholder’s yield, currently less than two metric tons per hectare.