LOCAL firm, Cashbox Financial Services (CFS), has injected US$25 million to finance production of olive oil seed crop, sesame seeds, in the 2020/2021 season under a contract farming scheme.
Group chief executive Benjamin Chimutengo, said the company will distribute inputs to 30 000 farmers across the country, but mostly in the dry to semi-arid regions where the crop thrives the most.
Rolled out under CFS Agro, it is expected the sesame seed out-growers programme will enable smallholder farmers to earn foreign currency for their produce and improve their livelihoods.
CFS Agro began distributing seed on 4 December 2020 to farmers in Lusulu in Matabeleland North. The scheme will run till the harvesting season in August and will be an annual programme.
Areas targeted include Tsholotsho, Lusulu, Binga, Gwayi, Checheche, Muzarabani, Mushumbi and rest of the lowveld, mostly arid to semi arid places, because the crop requires little rainfall.
The initial buying scheme started in 2020 and saw CFS Agro purchasing seed from smallholder farmers in many regions.
About 73 percent of the farmers were from female headed families.
While this year the firm bought sesame seed from growers who used their own resources, this year it will use lead farmers to guide others on best practice techniques of growing the crop.
“We have already recruited 345 lead farmers around the country and those are the ones leading the land preparation because we have already started distributing sesame seed,” he said
CFS has committed to provision of all technical support services for production of sesame, a low cost drought resistant crop, for which the private company offers a pre-planting price.
Its entry into the sesame seed space compliments efforts by the Government, which has also rolled out a support scheme for production of the crop under the Presidential free inputs programme.
Mr Chimutengo said the programme targeted arid places with deprived communities that can produce a cash crop that has high global demand and generate foreign currency for the country.
“Sesame seed globally is a US$7,5 billion industry in its raw state but when we come up and start beneficiating when producing cooking oil and sesame for confectionery, we can add 25 percent to
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