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Peacock dangles drought tolerant seeds for Malawian farmers

August 26, 2022 / Joseph Mizimbe

Peacock Seed officials assert that they will continue producing drought tolerant maize (DTM) seed varieties to reduce the impact of climate change.

The officials said, they use technologies that increase the availability of maize grain, even in times of drought. The seed producer officials claimed that the technology they have adopted in seed production has led to income stability among small scale farmers, thus driving the agricultural economy base.

Speaking in an interview withthis reporter, the company’s General Manager Matthews Sikwese, said smallholder farmers are the primary target for Peacock Seed whose aim is complementing government’s efforts of promoting subsidy through Agricultural Wide Sector Approach (ASWaP).

Sikwese said commercial and large scale farmers have currently shown growing interest for Peacock products in various regions of the country and they are doing everything possible to ensure that their products reach most areas. Non-governmental and private organizations dealing in agricultural value chains contribute to their customer base.

“Our purpose is to promote the adoption and use of DTMs to rescue farmers from hunger. We promote our technologies through demonstration plots and field days, mainly targeted at showing the productivity and performance of these products locally,” he explained.

Peacock Seeds certified brands include MH 30 which matures within 110-120 days and produces a slender cob suitable for green consumption. MH 31’s yield potential is up to 10 tons per hectare. The grain is also drought tolerant and resistant to diseases such as Gray Leaf Spot (GLS) and Maize Streak Virus (MSV) and adapts to various attitudes.

“CAP 9001 is another variety the company produces which matures within 110-120 days. The yield potential for the crop is up to 14 tons per hectare. The crop is high drought tolerant, high resistant to diseases such as GLS and MSV and adaptable to various attitudes,” he said.

Another brand the seed manufacturer produces is Peacock 10 which matures between 110-120 days. This variety is sweet when roasted, and its yield potential is up to 240 bags of 50 Kgs per hectare. It’s also high drought tolerant and good for Dambo farming, and high resistant to diseases such as GLS and MVS. 

Kholophethe and Naganga beans, CG7 groundnuts, Cow peas and pigeon peas, Kilombero and Faya rice are the other seed varieties the company manufacturers.

Felix Jumbe, the company’s Managing Director, said they create consumer awareness on their products through Education and Communication materials such as, brochures, fliers, leaflets and banners. 

Jumbe said there has been an increase in demand for their seeds, leading to the company’s sales drastically growing from zero to 54 percent, which he attributed to winter farming most farmers have lately embraced in the country. Peacock Seeds, which received an award in 2015 for being the best producer of improved seed varieties in conjunction with the maize commodity team at National Research Institute, is currently producing and promoting the use of drought tolerant hybrid maize seeds.

Peacock Seeds has for the past five years been producing and marketing the seeds within Malawi.

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