SOME 300 farmers are benefiting from the sesame project being implemented by Fambidzanai Permaculture in Mbire, under the strategic partnership agreement 2 (SPA2) being funded by ActionAid Zimbabwe.
The project is aimed at improving the economic and social well-being of smallholder farmers in the area.
The initiative focuses on promoting the cultivation of sesame as a cash crop among young rural farmers in Mbire.
Fambidzanai Permaculture community development programmes team leader Mr Jerry Kudakwashe said the project was targeting the youth, especially young women.
Most of the participants selected were young men and women aged between 18 and 35 years.
“There are 300 farmers participating in this project, with an average of 60 farmers from each of the five wards that we are operating in (Ward three, five, six, eight and nine). Eighty per cent of the farmers selected are young women who have been implementing different micro-projects in their respective communities,” he said.
Sesame was included into the starter pack as a cash crop since it is easy to grow and has a readily available and viable market which is within every farmer’s access.
The organisation provided farmers with training and technical support on best practices for sesame cultivation, as well as access to inputs such as seeds and fertilisers.
“The seed was distributed to the 300 beneficiaries during the start of the rainy season. The average seed given was between one kilogramme and one and a half kilogrammes which was enough to plant between 0.3 and 0.5 hectares depending on seeding methods,” he said.
The producer price ranges between US$1 and US$1,50 per kilogramme, depending on the customer and the quality of the grain.
Participating farmers were being assisted with seed packages, production and marketing knowledge, as well as business literacy to take smallholder farming as a viable business.
“Farmers can now learn and appreciate how to tackle gender-based violence (GBV) and other domestic disputes which usually emanate from household food and income shortages by improving their food and income status through sustainable agriculture,” said Mr Kudakwashe.
Sesame seed is currently in high demand in Mbire.
“Local businesses and individuals have established a number of accessible sesame trading points throughout the district. Farmers with this in-demand crop can readily sell their sesame grain at trading locations,” he said.
Fambidzanai believes in collaborations in their community-based work
“Since our project is targeting the youth, especially young women, we are collaborating with ministries of Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation, Women’s Affairs and Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development in all our activities,” he said.
Adapted from The Herald Zimbabwe newspaper publication by Monalisa Chikwengo on 27 June 2023