From: Femi Oyelola, Kaduna
National President, of National Sesame Seed Association of Nigeria (NSSAN) Sheriff Balogun, has said the country earned $123.3million United States dollars from export of sesame seed, saying the potential was between $500 million dollars to one billion dollars.
He stated this in Kaduna on yesterday during a Consultative Forum on the Development of Sesame Value Chain in Nigeria.
He added that the current annual production of sesame seeds stands at 450,000 tonnes and 80 per cent of the agricultural produce are exported.
According to him, farmers need about N60, 000 to N70, 000 to cultivate a hectare of sesame seed, with guarantee of N200, 000 returns on investment.
Balogun said that if fully tapped, sesame seed production had the potential of providing huge employment opportunities along the value chain.
“Sesame seed contains 50.5 per cent oil and 25 per cent protein and in high demand by pharmaceuticals, industries for making soap, shampoo, lubricant, paints, cosmetics and oil among others.
“All one needs is N60, 000 to N70, 000 to cultivate a hectare of sesame seed, with guarantee of N200, 000 returns on investment.
“In 2016, the country earned $123.3million United State dollars from export of sesame seed, but the potential was between $500 million dollars to one billion dollars with value addition,’’ Balogun added.
He identified multiple taxation, poor transportation network and insufficient processing plants as major challenges affecting sesame production in the country.
In his remarks, Director-General, The Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) Dr Hussaini Ibrahim said the Council is mobilising relevant stakeholders across the country to promote the development of sesame value chain in the country.
Ibrahim was represented at the occasion by the council’s Director, Technical Development, Dr Muhammed Buga.
He explained that the effort was to tap from the potential of sesame in revenue generation, employment creation, self-reliance and poverty reduction among others.
He said that engaging the stakeholders was necessary to boost sesame seed production and to ensure the competitiveness of its value added products.
According to him, the consultative forum was organised to strengthen and deepen collaboration that would facilitate sustainable development across the sesame value chain.
“As part of effort to boost sesame production, RMRDC has procured and distributed improved sesame seeds to farmers in different parts of the country.
“Also, the council, in collaboration with indigenous private company, is making plans to establish sesame processing plant for the production of sesame oil for domestic use and export.
“The council will continue to engage relevant stakeholders along the sesame value chain to articulate integrated strategy for its development.”
On his part, Hope Yongo, Head, Specialised Business Department, Nigeria Export-Import Bank, said that farmers are not accessing finance from banks because they are usually not organised.
He, therefore, advised farmers to organise themselves into cooperatives, with focus on value addition, such as processing and production of sesame oil.
Earlier, the Kaduna State Commissioner for Agriculture and Forestry, Prof. Kabiru Mato, said the ministry would partner with RMRDC to boost the production of sesame in the state.
Represented by Alhaji Ya’u Kasimu, Director Agricultural Services, Kaduna State Agricultural Development Agency, the commissioner said that the ministry would carry out massive awareness campaign to stimulate the interest of farmers.