Africa’s share of sesame production
- Production share. Out of the 3.6 million tonnes of sesame produced in the world, Asia and Africa account for 2.5 and 0.9 million tonnes, respectively.
- The crop’s importance. Sesame is an important oil seed crop that ranks sixth in the world among vegetable oil producers. Africa’s biggest producers. Nigeria is the third largest producer of sesame in Africa after Sudan and Uganda.
Uganda’s improving quality of sesame (simsim) continues to attract new markets, promising to uplift farmers’ incomes. The demand for the commodity is likely be elevated as Lebanon and Israel show interest in the country’s sesame due to its quality.
Other countries currently buying Uganda’s sesame include China, Turkey, S. Arabia, USA, Pakistan, and Belgium. Additionally Uganda has two production seasons unlike other countries, thus giving the country an edge in terms of sustainable supply.
Mr Abdul Kaddu, a sesame exporter, told Prosper that demand for the commodity has pushed up prices as new buyers enter the market. Currently a kilogramme of Sesame goes for Shs5,000 up from Shs2,600 at farm-gate price.
However the demand for the commodity still out weighs supply due to reliance on substance farmers.
Nevertheless, experts including Mr Kaddu, continue to have optimism as production for the crop shows signs of improvement. “We expect production to improve due to the fact that many farmers have moved in to tap into the crop’s growing prospects,” Kaddu said.
However, the commodity’s current demand does not guarantee it a place among government’s priority products. Dr Okasai Opolot, the ministry of Agriculture - director crop research, told Prosper that sesame was yet to make it to the list of government’s priority commodities.
Data obtained from the Ministry of Agriculture indicate that Uganda produced 93,563 metric tonnes of sesame in 2010. However, it should be noted that the commodity’s production continues to dwindle, earning the country $11.7 million in 2012 compared to $17.3 million in 2011.