Despite the negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic in the global market, demand for black sesame seed produced in Nigeria is expected to be on the increase in the Asian market because of its medicinal value.
It was learnt that Nigeria, which accounts for 12.22 per cent of the global production and the second largest producer after Sudan in Africa, has the capacity to produce 550,000 metric tonnes valued at N465.3billion ($990million).
However, since the outbreak of COVID-19, some export containers are yet to be processed at Tincan and Lagos ports because of slow trade facilitation by government agencies.
In addition, some trucks laden with the seeds and other exports could not assess export terminals because of bottlenecks created by the presidential task force on port road decongestion.
The task force had cancelled movement of trucks at night in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus within the port environments.
Notwithstanding, statistics by Data Bridge Market Research (DBMR) revealed that black variety of the seed also had huge potential in the European market as the price of the seed has jumped from $1,200 to $1,800 per tonne within one year.
It was learnt that the increasing health awareness, especially in the Asian and European countries, would enable Nigeria to earn 15.36per cent from the global seed production.
Finding revealed that the seeds are used in cosmetic application to combat a variety of skin and hair diseases due to its high antioxidant properties.
In addition to being rich in antioxidants that capable of detoxifying the skin, black sesame is said to have anti-inflammatory properties, iron and vitamins B and E.
It was gathered that the production of the seed was being encouraged by government through its diversification programmes.
Last year, sesame farmers benefited from the N299.6billion Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s Anchor Borrowers’ Scheme to boost production and export.
According to the National Sesame Seed Association of Nigeria (NSSAN), the country has the capacity to produce about 800,000 tonnes annually from both the white and black sesame seed if well harnessed.
President of the association, Mr. Sheriff Balogun, said in Abuja that the seed was a commodity that will help the Federal Government achieve its diversification bid if the right policies and programmes are put in place.
Worldwide, there are over 4.5 million tonnes of the seeds produced yearly, with Myanmar being its largest producer. Nigeria is now the second largest African producer, behind Sudan and ranked 7th in the world.
It would be recalled that the Chairman of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Malam Nura Hassan, had said in Daura, Katina state, that the state chapter of the association had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with an Italian based company on production, procurement and market for the seeds.
According to him, five designated selling points had been selected in Daura for Italians to start buying the commodity directly from the farmers.
Hassan explained that the MoU was aimed at encouraging mass production of sesame and guaranteeing a stable market for the farmers to avoid unnecessary losses.