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zimbabwe 2019/20 summer cropping season officially ended on March 31.
Maize seed waits on the conveyor belt in the seed processing plant at Bidasem, where it is being visually examined and manually sifted by workers, picking out material such as damaged or spoiled seed or pieces of cob. After initial cleaning and sorting, all seed that goes through the plant passes through quality control. If a sample from a batch is found to more have more than 2% impurities, they are either separated out by hand like this or using a gravity table. The batch is then resampled to ensure a clean bill of health to continue processing. Bidasem is a small seed company based in the central Mexican plains region known as the Bajío. It produces approximately 10,000 bags of maize seed a year, each holding 22.5kg, as well as producing wheat and oat seed and marketing seed of other crops. Despite their small size, Bidasem and similar companies play an important role in improving farmers’ livelihoods. “Our aim is to provide farmers with quality seed at accessible prices, that is adapted to the conditions we have here in the Bajío. It’s a great satisfaction, when farmers achieve the yields they need,” says director general María Esther Rivas. “Without CIMMYT, we couldn’t exist,” says Rivas. She sells four different maize hybrids, all formed from freely-available CIMMYT parent lines. “Really the most important thing is to produce your own hybrids, and for us it wouldn’t be possible if we didn’t have the germplasm from CIMMYT. What we’re currently producing is 100% CIMMYT.” The relationship between Bidasem and CIMMYT is now deepening through participation in the MasAgro initiative, which includes training courses for seed companies and collaborative trials to evaluate the best seed. Photo credit: X. Fonseca/CIMMYT. For more on seed production at Bidasem, and CIMMYT's role in providing the best seed, see CIMMYT's 2012 e-news story "The seed chain: producing better seed for small farmers," available online at: http://www.cimmyt.org/en/newsletter/598-2012/1398-the-seed-chain-producing-better-seed-for-small-farmers.
Crop production

zimbabwe 2019/20 summer cropping season officially ended on March 31. 

The Meteorological Services Department (MSD) yesterday announced that the 2019/20 summer cropping season officially ended on March 31.

Many farmers across the country had planted crops as late as February this year following a prolonged dry spell that characterised the first half (October to December 2019) of the season that saw early planted crops wilting, while pastures and livestock were also affected.

Livestock in southern parts of the country have been the worst affected, but conditions in northern areas is satisfactory.

MSD deputy director weather forecasting, Mrs Linia Mashawi-Gopo last night confirmed the official end of the summer cropping season although she acknowledged that some parts of the country had yesterday morning received some light showers.

“These are post rains and the series of high pressure systems that are continually influencing weather over Zimbabwe. The rains will pave the way for cooler conditions, as they bring cool and moist air into the country.

“Significant rainfalls were recorded in Guruve and Marondera, while the rest received light showers,” she said.

She urged farmers who expect to use rains for winter wheat cropping to seek advice from the Agritex officials from their respective areas.

“This depends on areas. For crops and other agricultural aspects farmers should liaise with their Agritex officers.

“Rains are not expected to continue and sunny conditions are expected by Friday this week,” she observed.

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