Sesame seeds are one of the crops that are in high demand in Nigeria. After Cocoa, Sesame seeds are the next export crop in terms of export value. Statistically, 90% of the sesame seeds produced in the country are export abroad. So why does Nigeria export such a high volume of this crop? This is due to its numerous health and industrial benefits. Also, when compared to other oilseed crops, sesame seed has a higher oil content.
The Oil extracts from the seed are used in the cosmetic industries in producing body lotions and creams. In order to produce canned sardines, corned beef, margarine, and soaps, oil extracted from sesame seed is used. It is also used in the bakeries, confectioneries, paint, and pharmaceutical industries.
For Health benefits, sesame seed oil contains little or no cholesterol oil. This oil extract is rich in vitamin E and pantothenic acid. The seed is a good source of amino acid, fatty acid, calcium, and phosphorus.
Nigeria has the capacity to produce 4.8 million tonnes yearly but produces just a little above 300, 000 tonnes annually. This makes Nigeria the second largest producer of sesame seed in the world and seventh in the world.
The crop is grown in 26 states of the federation; some of which includes Taraba, Delta, Jigawa, Ebonyi, and Nassarawa. The market for the crop is vast with China and Japan being the major buyers of the seed. Turkey, India, Poland and The Netherlands have also traded with Nigeria in the past.
The north will be the best destination as the crop thrives well in that region due to its drought resistant ability. It can also be grown in the South-South and South East of the country, however too much rainfall can affect its yield.
Just like any production process, it is important to monitor the planting process as the sesame plant is susceptible to disease and pest. Insects, fungi, bacteria, and weeds can have an adverse effect on the yield and quality of the harvest.
Constant weeding should be done every 25 days to prevent young seedlings to be choked from yet to germinate seeds. Thining which is another activity should be done three weeks after planting.
Sesame seed takes 4-5 months to reach maturity stage and the seeds are germinated when 50% of its capsules turn yellow.
The sesame seed market is a large one and you don’t have to worry about where your seed will be needed. Whilst Europe and Asia are the major importers of the seed, the Middle East is fast becoming a destination market.
The profit earned from Sesame seed cannot be overemphasized as it is more profitable compared to other crops using the same level of resources.
You can decide to experiment with this crop by investing a minimum amount and see how it performs.