What you need to know:
There was a 91 per cent increase in demand for sesame by China.
Sesame (Simsim) farmers have been challenged to take advantage of the growing demand for the commodity in China by increasing their yields.
Latest market information from the Uganda Export Promotion Board (UEPB) indicates that between 2012 and 2013, there was a 91 per cent increase in demand for sesame from Uganda by China.
In 2013, Uganda’s global sesame exports saw the country earn $28.4 million (about Shs74.5 billion) and of these exports, China was the leading destination.
In an interview with Prosper magazine, Mr John Lwere, UEPB’s export promotion officer, said: “There is increasing demand for sesame in China which we think farmers can exploit.”
Mr Lwere said the other countries where Uganda’s sesame is demanded include Singapore, Kenya, Netherlands, Turkey, Germany, Denmark and Switzeland, respectively.
Experts say Uganda is ranked the 15th global producer by volume but if production is boosted, its rankings could go up. This can be translated into increased incomes for the farmers and more export earnings for the country.
Production Vegetable Oil Development Project (VODP) indicates that there has been increased production.
Statistics show that the country witnessed an increase in the production of Sesame with the latest for 2012 totalling up to 145,000 metric tonnes, up from 142,000 metric tonnes produced in 2011.
In 2010, another 119,000 metric tonnes were produced, up from 115,000 metric tonnes and 101,000 metric tonnes produced in 2009 and 2008, respectively.
VODP experts say they are supporting farmers’ access to quality seeds and developing market linkages in order to boost production.
This is being done in more than 50 districts across the country, which they intend to achieve by 2018.
Lira, Gulu, Mbale and Arua are some of the targeted districts VODP is working with to boost production.
Global Sesame demand was $2.6 billion (Shs6.8 trillion) in 2013.
Almost half of the world’s sesame comes from Africa, mostly east Africa, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation. Sesame has an international market and can boost rural economies that have been battered by high food prices.