The Zimbabwe Sesame Growers Association which sponsored 25 000 farmers in semi-arid regions 4 and 5 has raised a red flag over side marketing of the crop by middleman to neighbouring Mozambique resulting in the loss on their investments.

A grouping of 25 000 farmers drawn from Chiredzi, Zaka, Mvuma, Sanyati, Binga, Bhoneni, and Mhondoro stand to lose significantly from the activities of middlemen.

This is a major stumbling block which according to Mr Donmore Gombe, the president of the association who was recently on a nationwide assessment tour is impacting negatively on their efforts to value add the crop and creating spin offs for the local farmer.

Mr Gombe said their operations are affected by this emerging trend as they are transacting through mobile money transfers paying US$600 per tonne while the middlemen are offering US$500 in cash, which has emerged the preferred mode of payment for most farmers.

As an association they are appealing for the intervention of the central bank for the provision of cash for sesame seed growers.

According to nutritionists, sesame seeds are an excellent source of copper, a good source of calcium, magnesium, iron and phosphorous and dietary fiber among other health benefits.