By Taurai Mazwi
Zimbabwe is expected to start the Sesame Seed Promotion and Production Programme in which the producers would be paid 50% foreign currency and 50% local currency, said Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Monica Mutsvangwa.
Minister Mutsvangwa said this while presenting the 15th Meeting Decision Matrix on Tuesday.
She said, “Following presentation by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement, Cabinet approved the Sesame Seed Production and Promotion Programme for the 2020/21 farming season.
Minister Mutsvangwa outlined how the programme is expected to run and the expected outcomes.
“The programme will cover 40 000 hectares and will produce 24 000 metric tonnes of sesame seed at a yield level of 0.6metric tonnes per hectare. The programme will provide seed, fertilizer and chemicals at a rate of ZW$4 000 per hectare, hence the 40 000 hectare programme is expected to cost ZW$160mil.
“The selling price of the seed will be pegged at US$875.00 per metric tonne, which will give farmers a return of 20%, so as to incentivise them to produce more. The sesame seed producers would be paid 50% in foreign currency and 50% in local currency,” she said.
The crop is drought tolerant, making it suitable for cultivation in drought-prone areas of Zimbabwe. The sesame seed is one of the oldest oil seed crops and is mainly produced in Asia and Africa, which together accounts for about 95% of global production.
Ethiopia, where sesame is the second most profitable export after coffee, is among the top producers of the seed in the world, with exports amounting to $388 million as reported in 2017. Other producers within the Southern African Development Community and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa region include Mozambique and Tanzania.
The seed is expected to bring in the much needed foreign currency in the country.