Sesame Seed: The Untapped Profitability for Women in the Nigerian Agricultural Sector
Sesame seed is a high value cash crop and an important source of vegetable oil. It is used in confectionery, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics industries worldwide. In Africa, Nigeria is the seventh largest producer of Sesame seed after Ethiopia and Sudan. Nigeria currently produces 300,000 tonnes of Sesame seed with the largest producing states being Jigawa, Nasarawa, Benue and Taraba States. About 26 states grow Sesame presently and the trade volume is increasing rapidly given the lucrative pricing for farmers and the increasing demand worldwide. Major destinations for Nigeria Sesame are China, Japan, India, Turkey and the Middle East thus, a need to meet global food safety standards and deliver international minimum product quality standard. Buyers want to purchase properly cleaned, washed, dried, colour-sorted, size-graded and impurity-free seeds packed according to international standards. Due to high cost of the machines that process these agricultural products of impurities, farmers are not always able to acquire them and even when acquired, the machines are never able to match the high international demand.
Training 100 rural women in the sesame seed belts of Nigeria (Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba, Gombe States) every 3 months with the expertise of cleaning and processing Sesame to meet global product quality standard will equip them with a new skill that is relevant and high on demand around their communities. They will be able to execute their tasks at their own pace and time and ultimately enjoy a boost in their income.
Women in these areas will learn hands-on knowledge and skills on how to remove a variety of impurities including stones, immature seeds, and other foreign matter with minimal loss of good seeds.
They will be shown the minimal product handling procedure ensuring a hygienic operation that meets international food safety standards.
They will be taught the in-depth technical know-how and practical procedure on cleaning, grading and sorting of the product.
Our target is to equip at least 100 rural women within 3 months, with relevant agricultural skills they need to earn a livelihood, experience growth in their endeavours, become economically empowered and stay relevant in their local communities.