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Zimbabwe: Move to Boost Sesame Production

22 June 2020


Zimbabwe is targeting 100 000 tonnes of sesame crop during the 2020/21 summer farming season as it moves to boost production of export crops to increase foreign currency earnings.The growing of sesame is also being promoted to increase feedstock for cooking oil production and as an import substitution strategy.Production of the crop is being targeted at cotton growers and spearheaded by Cottco.Sesame is a climate smart crop that can produce significant yields even in the dryer-most parts of the country.The crop is grown for its seeds, which are used in food flavouring and from which a prized oil is extracted.


In Zimbabwe farmers had been producing sesame using their own resources and exporting to Mozambique and other neighbouring countries.According to the Second Crop and Livestock Assessment report, farmers planted 17 860 hectares during the 2019/20 season and are now harvesting.Mashonaland Central, Manicaland and Masvingo have been the major chief producers of the crop.Government will from this coming summer cropping season step in with inputs and also secure lucrative markets for the crop.Cottco acting managing director, Mr Pious Manamike said this season Cottco will also assist in buying the crop from farmers but starting next season will assist farmers with inputs."This season we are diversifying to sesame targeting 100 000 hectares. We are targeting all cotton farmers and we will support farmers with two hectare inputs for sesame and one hectare for cotton. Currently farmers are harvesting the previous season crop and we will soon come up with a producer price. We are not discouraging farmers to grow cotton but we want them to expand into other high value crops for better returns," he said.


Lands, Agriculture, Water and Irrigation Ministry secretary Dr John Basera confirmed the programme and said Zimbabwe was going to boost foreign currency earnings through sesame production."Ethiopia is producing 300 000 tonnes and exporting 70 percent to China, earning over US$400 million per year. Sesame is another white gold and our farmers have the capacity to grow it," he said.Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri said last week Government will this season be promoting production of sesame.He said the programme will be outlined soon."We will be promoting sesame production because it is a viable crop and details will soon be availed to farmers," he said.



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