By Sani Nahuche
Before venturing into Sesame seed farming especially as an economic activity, it is necessary to understand the value and statistics of this agricultural activity. The sesame seeds are mostly produced primary as a source of cooking oil. Sesame seeds are also roasted and taken solely, or mixed with groundnuts as a snack. The young leaves of sesame may be eaten in stews and its dried stem used as an ingredient in soap making.
Commercial, Sesame is used in a number of forms. It can be directly processing it into oil; used in pastes, meals, confectionery and bakery products; used as a good source of protein for animal feeds; its press is used for food enrichment of infant weaning; it is also used for medicinal purposes such as treatment of ulcers and burns.
Sesame is ranked second in terms of economic value in Nigeria with Cocoa being first. There are major companies that buy the harvested sesame seeds and export them. However, even with this being the case, the market is still predominantly traded by middlemen who tour the rural areas buying from the farmers. Sesame is then transported from the rural areas to towns; bulked up in stores and sold to agents of the major exporters.
Profitability is the end goal for any farmer looking at sesame farming as an economic activity. As a farmer, you have to ensure that you farm efficiently covering all direct and indirect costs and leaving a significant margin for profit. Entering the sesame farming is good enough but successfully remaining in the industry for long is even better.
Even with the demand of sesame increasing each year, farmers are still not fully reaping the benefits of their farming. Intermediaries eat a big chunk of the profit that is meant to be going to the farmers. To counter this, most countries are forming organizations and cooperatives to protect the interest of the farmers by helping them maximize profit and minimize costs.
Like any business, it is therefore crucial for you who is looking to join the farming industry for the long run, it is important to take account of all the fixed and variable costs that you will incur. This will help you determine the best prices for your produce that will meet your cost and leave a profit margin.