Production of sesame seed

Global production of sesame seed is estimated by FAO at 3.15 mn tonnes per year (2001) having risen from 1.4 mn tonnes in the early 1960s. However, only a small proportion of the global sesame harvest enters international trade. For the most part, the oil is expressed locally and used locally for cooking or the seeds themselves are eaten, particularly after being fried.

Sesame is grown in many parts of the world on over 5 million acres (20,000 km2). The largest producer of the crop in 2007 was India, China, Myanmar, Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Nigeria. Seventy percent of the world’s sesame crop is grown in Asia, with Africa growing 26% (Hansen, 2011)

The largest producers are China and India, each with an annual harvest around 750,000 tonnes followed by Myanmar (425,000 tonnes) and Sudan (300,000 tonnes). These figures are only rough estimates of the situation as sesame is a smallholder crop and much of the harvest is consumed locally, without a record of the internal trade and domestic processing (Figure 1). Nigeria has a great market potential for sesame seed production for domestic and export markets noting that the production figures of the commodity has been on a steady increase since 1980, reaching 67000 MT by 1997 and was estimated to reach 139, 000 MT by the year 2010, according to the federal ministry of agriculture and natural resources (Joseph, 2009). This is an agreement with the 2008 annual report of the Central Bank of Nigeria which states there has been a rise in production of sesame seed from 98,000,000 to 152,000,000 kg from 2003 to 2007 (CBN, 2009).

Out of the estimated 3.5million hectares of Nigeria’s arable land suitable for the growth of sesame seed, only 300,000 is currently used for the crop. However average yield of the crop is about 300kg/ha which is 4 times lower than the average yield of other seed crops eg groundnut and soybeans. In major production zones in the country, it is used in traditional food recipes and snacks rather than for export purposes (NAERLS, 2010). Nigeria was the largest supplier to the Japanese market, the world’s largest import market for sesame (Chemonics, 2002). Thus, the potentials for beniseed production in Nigeria is high since Japan, as well as Taiwan and Korea, generate global demand and offer the opportunity for Nigerian growers. Nigeria has a 6% share of the $600 million global markets for sesame seed (Nigeria’s Harvest, 2009).

Top 5 Sesame Seeds Producing Countries

Sesame seed is a familiar ingredient in the Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine. Having a unique nutty flavor, it is also the main ingredient of the world famous Tahini dressing. Apart from its taste, sesame seeds are known for their high nutritional value. They are loaded with health-promoting components such as dietary fiber, carbohydrates, proteins, and magnesium. So where do these powerful seeds grow around the world? Below are the top 5 sesame seeds supplying countries around the word.

  1. India– India ranks first in the production of sesame seeds. With the help of its tropical climate, India is one of the best sesame seeds manufacturers which supply high-quality seeds. It produces hulled, natural, black, and roasted sesame seeds.
  2. China– After India, it’s China that produces a lot of sesame seeds. Being in the second place, China also produces black sesame seeds along with other South Eastern nations of Asia.
  3. Nigeria– Ranking third on the list, Nigeria is a major producer of sesame seeds across the globe. It has experienced a drastic change in the production of sesame seeds from sixth to third.
  4. Myanmar– Myanmar comes fourth on the list of top five sesame producers in the world. It was once the top sesame seeds producer, but due to the recent and subsequent drought, it suffered losses.

5.   Tanzania – Ranked at number five, Tanzania produced 0.42 tons per hectare in 2013. It maintains the fifth position as the sesame seeds manufacturer across the globe.