Nigeria’s sesame market lucrative but weighed down by many challenges

April 5, 2021

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Sesame seeds, or beni-seeds as they are locally known, are among the most commercially viable crop critical to the agricultural economy of Nigeria.

Despite the high viability of the crop, data from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) shows Nigeria’s production of sesame has been uneven compared to demand over the years.

The country’s best output was in 2012 when the country produced 994,800 tonnes. Thereafter, the output fell and picked up in 2015. It fell again in 2017.

Despite the fluctuation in output, Nigeria’s export of sesame has improved significantly. Although there was no continuous increase in export, data seen by PREMIUM TIMES shows that the country recorded the highest export of sesame in 2019.

Prior to this period, export fell from 2015 to 2018 before attaining the feat in 2019 which was the highest export value in the 10 years period.

Sudan is the highest producer of sesame in Africa. Its output in 2019 was 11.2 million tonnes. Sudan alone accounts for 45.8 percent of the total output of the top six African countries put together. Nigeria’s output makes up 18.2 percent of the total output. By implication, Nigeria is the second-largest producer of sesame in Africa.

Economic Potential

The use of the sesame seed is wide and varied and is dependent on the parts of the seed being processed. The sesame seed is used in confectionery, biscuits, and in bread making.

Also, oil extracts from sesame seeds have a wide range of applications. It is used for cooking, used in medicine for treating ulcers and burns, used in making aerosols, and in manufacturing margarine.

Also, low-grade oil of sesame is used locally in manufacturing soap paints, lubricants, and illuminants. The by-product from processing sesame seed is used in making animal feeds. Beyond these listed applications, sesame is also used in different countries for their local dishes and delicacies.



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