In the images below we have Wendy Matashu Madzura, a young very motivated agronomist who is marketing and promoting Seedco hybrids.
In as much as we appreciate that Wendy is trying to make a living, while also trying to boost agricultural output in the country through the promotion of “technology”, unfortunately the hybrids she is promoting are a threat to our national security and food security.
The reason being, hybrids destroy our most precious and most valuable natural resource: national heirloom seeds stock, biodiversity and seed adaptation to climate change and disease. They are a Faustian Pact (deal with the devil) for the short term gain of the farmer and sales agents, in exchange for the future exploitation of the nation by the foreign biotech company making the hybrids.
It’s important to reiterate that seeds are the most precious resource on earth because without them (just like a nation without female ovary and male sperm) we have no life.
Even more concerning is the fact that the foreign company pushing these hybrids in Zimbabwe, is a French seed company by the name Limagrain, which owns Seedco International.
The threat to Zimbabwe comes from the fact that Seedco Zimbabwe has been delisted from the Zimbabwe stock exchange and will soon be merging with Seedco International Limited of Botswana. This entity will be listed primarily on the Botswana Stock Exchange with a secondary listing on the Victoriafalls Stock Exchange, were the shares will only be traded in foreign currency.
All of the intellectual property Seedco developed in Zimbabwe over the decades, such as their hybrids (Shumba, Tsuro, Nzou etc) and heirlooms, will be owned and controlled by Seedco International Limited, which as indicated before, is owned by French company Limagrain. The implication being that, these so called Zimbabwean trademarks, are likely registered in France, in the same way all National Brewery trademarks are registered in Belgium. As a consequence, Zimbabweans can be deprived of these seeds at anytime, in the same way other western brands were withdrawn from Zimbabwe when sanctions were imposed on the country.
The threat to our nation is demonstrated clearly in Europe, where seed companies like Limagrain eliminated European heirloom tomato seeds by promoting the use of hybrids. Once heirloom seeds disappeared from the market, Limagrain began to market its hybrid tomato seeds as the substitute [to a captive European market] for prices ranging from €60 000 per kg to as high as €400 000 per kg for yellow tomatoes. This is despite the fact that they produce the same seeds for a mere €210/kg in India, using child labor and workers who are paid wages well below European minimum wage. See video on You Tube https://youtu.be/ljthwaFUW1k.
As a result, Limagrain tomato seeds are more expensive than a kg of gold and can be as high as six times the price of gold. All this resulting from the Europeans losing their traditional seeds and capacity to reproduce tomatoes. Now they are dependent on buying hybrid seeds every season from biotech companies.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see how what was done with tomatos in Europe, could be done more effectively with a staple like maize and other seeds in Zimbabwe and Africa. The difference being, Zimbabweans are not as rich as Europeans, so the impact of this captivity will be more life threatening, as we are currently experiencing with the perennial food insecurity in the country over the years, which in many ways has been caused by the high cost of growing these hybrids.
Slowly, hybrids are destroying our food sovereignty and national interest, making us dependent on a company that comes from the same country which is still ruthlessly exploiting fourteen African colonies in what is dubbed, France Afrique (the continuation of colonialism pact).
Everytime someone like the ambitious lady in the images promotes hybrids, they are subliminally discouraging our uneducated and miseducated farmers from using, improving and adapting our own reproductive heirloom seeds, leading us into food dependency.
This is a crisis and we must address it as a nation, immediately. Yes, hybrid vigor gives anything from 15%-20% higher yield in one season, but what many forget is that seed derived from that yield, can not be replanted to achieve the same the following season. So in the medium term, the hybrid seed only produces once and it’s off-spring can not reproduce, thus, it is less productive because its seed is non-productive (ingomwa) compared to heirlooms that reproduce forever.
Not only do heirlooms reproduce forever, they can also be improved to be more productive or nutritious and adapted to environmental changes and disease, but hybrids can’t.
Improving and adapting seeds, is actually what the science of farming is all about, and by our farmers losing this skill, we are losing our ability to reproduce food, and becoming captive to the same nations that enslaved, colonized, gave us debt and put us under sanctions.
More critically, hybrids have been tested and proved to sometimes have over 70% less nutrition and more starch as nature’s compromise to the hybrid vigor. As a consequence, this makes them a landmine of diabetes, obesity, malnutrition, immunity suppression and the plants themselves are more susceptible to disease.
When this is coupled with the necessity of protecting these plants with pesticides because of their susceptibility and non-adaptability to diseases, they become biological weapons upon a nation and its ecosystem.
Sadly, it is these same hybrids that have been set as the standard specification for the grain that GMB prefers. This means our national grain production strategy is founded on low nutrition, disease prone, non-reproducing, foreign hybrid grains that discourage our farmers from using, improving, adapting and saving heirloom seeds. It’s a counter intuitive strategy in a nation where people cry about the Chinese take over, yet our food (the most essential resource) is controlled by French Limagrain, Swiss Sygenta, German Bayer and US DuPont.
What is even more frightening, is our own government gives these unproductive, low nutrition, disease prone seeds to their own rural farmers, to ensure that they can’t reproduce food without seed handouts from government every season. An imperialist type practice of incapacitating our rural farmers’ productivity and in effect imposing sanctions on them to capture their vote. This system must stop!
The issue of foreign companies controlling our seeds is a national security threat being created by a self-centered, short-sighted breed of farmer, agronomist, politician and bureaucrat, who lacks national interest.
Our Permanent Secretary for Agriculture, John Basera, as the former CEO of Seedco, spent a greater part of his career destroying our national heirloom seeds stock and indoctrinating our farmers to use these foreign seeds of destruction. Now, this same colonial administrator is expected to regulate biotech companies like Seedco and advance our national interest. This is a clear conflict of interest, in some books its blatant criminal insider trading through the fascist revolving door and a clear threat to our national security, that must be addressed.
By putting the power of seeds in the hands of foreign companies, biotech company proxies like Basera; shortsighted, profit orientated farmers and young ambitious sales people like Wendy. We have taken the nation back to the Rudd Concession and asked these self-serving people to sign away our nation’s most precious resource, for paper money. And this time, they are not even being promised gun boats, but mere papers and they are selling the country down the river, for these papers.
It’s only a matter of time before our ability to reproduce staple food is attenuated and Limagrain (Seedco) begins to ask for a pound of gold for a pound of maize, sunflower or peanut seeds as they did in Europe. This same thing happened to Portugal and Spain when they were the richest countries in Europe, but they lost all their gold and silver from their South American colonies to Dutch, French and Italian industrial innovations in the 1800s. Today these two countries are the poorest nations in Europe due to becoming captive to asymmetric trade.
If we as a nation, do not make better decisions with our seeds today. The great nation of Mutapa, this two thousand year old civilization, will hurtle towards extinction because we put our future in the hands of a few vultures.
We urge opinion makers, thought leaders and those in our parliament, to raise awareness of this issue as a matter of urgency. We also urge people to start buying and planting heirloom seeds to maintain a national heirloom seed stock.
Two years ago, we as #ZimbabweansUniteAgainstUSWarSanctions wrote an anti-sanctions proposal that spoke to this issue and sent it to all major government departments in Zimbabwe. It is this proposal that promoted the use of the US Logan Act and US PATRIOTIC Act, to create legislation that will punish those calling for sanctions in Zimbabwe.
We need more pressure from all patriots of this nation to save our seeds. It’s a national emergency that surpasses the threat of a war resulting from sanctions.
No nation was ever built by depending on other nations for food, worse still seed. Let us also never forget that, Germany was dragged into the Second World War after the allies refused to buy their manufactures and stopped selling them food.
By Rutendo Bereza Matinyarare of ZUAUWS.