The country could save millions of dollars in imports of groundnut seed after an international crop research institute partnered the local community in breeding top quality seed which is free from poisonous substances known as aflatoxins.

The new groundnut seed varieties that were successfully bred locally are chitale, CG seven and sinjiro.

The country representative of the Institute of Crop Research in the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) Dr Kizito Mazvimavi whose institution partnered communities in breeding the crop varieties says the development will save the country millions of dollars that were previously earmarked for importing groundnut seed.

Dr Mazvimavi says the country’s groundnut production will never be the same again as small scale farmers are also undergoing training in breeding seed that is aflatoxin free.

According to the Department of Agricultural Technical and Extension Services, at its peak, which was in 2005 and 2006, Zimbabwe planted 8 000 hectares of groundnuts countrywide but that dropped to 4 700 hectares around 2016.

The yields were also going down from a high of 0.67 tonnes per hectare in 2004 and 2005 to 0.23 tonnes per hectare in 2012, but all this is set to be reversed following the new measures to resuscitate groundnut cultivation in the country.