Pannar Africa maize breeder Evan Brateseth says Malawian farmers are losing a lot of money due to delays by government to release new hybrid seeds on the market.
Brateseth said this in Lilongwe on Wednesday on the sidelines of a day-long open day aimed at sensitising farmers on the processes undertaken to come up with quality seeds.
He said some of the seeds that have not yet been introduced in the country by Pannar Africa are doing well in Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya and Mozambique.
But deputy director of Agriculture Research Services, Dr Wilson Makumba defended government, saying they cannot just allow any kind of seed on the market without proper scrutiny as one way of protecting farmers from using bad seeds.
“There is need for thorough assessment when new seeds are brought by companies because one mistake can negatively affect millions of farmers in the country,” said Makumba.
He said for any brand of seed to be accepted on the market research must take about three years to see how the seed can perform in different climate patterns.
But Brateseth said: “As a company, we are spending thousands of dollars which when converted to kwacha it should be millions.
“If the seeds are introduced in the country then farmers are the ones who are going to benefit more and the country will be able to save forex in that way.”