With Zimbabwe being one of the countries feeling the effects of climate change, calls have been made for new innovations in the area of research and development to come up with seed varieties that can withstand extreme weather patterns being experienced in some parts of the country.

This comes after the country experienced an El-Nino induced drought last season, leading to a disastrous farming season.

The leader of government business in parliament, Cde Ziyambi Ziyambi told senators on Thursday that Zimbabwe is seeking to import at least 700 000 metric tonnes of maize to supplement stocks of 560 000 metric tonnes that remain in the country’s silos.

Speaking at a field day organised by a local seed company at Mr Sylvester Manyani’s homestead in Chitemerere village, ward 28 in Murewa, the guest of hounour and Minister of State for Mashonaland East Provincial Affairs, Cde Apollonia Munzverengwi, whose speech was read on her behalf by the Deputy Director in her office, Mr Kumbirai Chimusoro, said it is time for the country to seriously consider drought resistant varieties.

“As a country, we certainly experience drought after every three years. This means that we need seed varieties that tolerate prolonged dry spells. It is through this that we can improve our agricultural production as a country.

Syngenta Sales and Support Manager, Mr Moses Kudanga said it is the work of researchers to come up with varieties that are not only drought tolerant, but those that are not easily attacked by pests and diseases.

“Apart from seed varieties that can withstand prolonged dry spells especially in the face of climate change, we also need those that are not prone to weevils and others pests. Technology and research is the way to go if the country is to realise food security and sustainability,” he said.

The call for drought, disease and pest tolerant varieties comes as  a wake-up call for seed houses to start developing seed varieties that adapt to the unpredictability of the extreme weather patterns Zimbabwe as experience in recent years, particularly drought.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has consistently assured the nation that no one in the country will die because of hunger as the government has in place systems to ensure the nation is sufficiently fed.