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Sesame production, processing to facilitate post-pandemic recovery – Study

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In pursuit of helping Nigeria’s economic recovery drive after the pandemic, the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) has taken a step to increase production and processing of sesame to boost the economy.

The agency said it is doing so after a study shows that Sesame is a diploid plant belonging to the family of pedaliaceae, a widely adopted as an early crop with ability to grow under hot and dry conditions. 

According to RMRDC, the programme is being in collaboration with National Cereal Research Institute (NCRI), Badeggi, Niger state because of the country’s desire to boost production of sesame through provision of improved sesame variety (2 tonnes of kenana 4 from Sudan) to Sasakawa Global 2000 and Sesame Seed Associations of Nasarawa, Niger, Kaduna, Kebbi and Jigawa States.

Explaining that there are two types of sesame seeds produced in Nigeria, the agency also said that these are the white/raw food-grade used in bakery industry which contains 98-100 per cent white grade seeds and the brown/mixed type primarily used for oil production.

It also said that currently there are 26 sesame-growing states in Nigeria namely: Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Nassarawa, Niger, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, and Abuja with Jigawa having highest area of production and total production in the country followed by Benue State.

It will be recalled that experts say Nigeria can produce up to 1.5 million tonnes per annum but regret lack of capacity to extract the sesame oil at industrial scale as most sesame farmers are only able to harvest, thresh, clean, and put in bags for sales, even though 60-70 per cent of sesame seed produced in the country is exported abroad.

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