How To Start A Lucrative Sesame Seeds Production Business: The Complete Guide

How To Start Sesame Seed Business in Nigeria or Africa: Complete Guide
How To Start A Lucrative Sesame Seeds Production Business in Nigeria or Africa: Complete Guide | Image: Pixabay

Sesame is a high-value oilseed crop grown for its nutritious, health-promoting seeds. Globally, there are over 4.8 million tonnes of the seeds produced yearly, and Myanmar is its largest producer. India, China, Sudan and Tanzania are also vital producers, accounting for about 70% of the total production.

Nigeria is the second-largest producer in Africa after Sudan, and the third-largest in the world, with about 580,000 metric tonnes produced in 2017 alone. Sesame is one of the most sought-after cash crops in Nigeria, after cocoa. It also one of the crops that top the list of Nigeria’s leading agricultural exports. It was the most exported non-oil product in the first quarter of 2018, adding an estimate of 0.57% to the total export value and 36.39% total agricultural exports. Reports from the Bureau of Statistics show that total export value from 2016 to 2018 amounted to N6.46b representing about 39.4% of Agricultural exports on an average of one year.

In terms of generating export revenue, sesame presents enormous opportunities for Nigeria. Besides having numerous health and industrial benefits, and its extensive use for baking, medicine, cosmetics and animal feed, it also has a high oil content of around 44 to 60%. Thanks to its many health benefits, reports show the expectancy of the global commodity to reach a demand of 4.2% CAGR between 2018 and 2024.

Sesame seeds, popularly called “Benne”, might be strange to some Nigerians because they are mainly grown in the Northern region. Despite that, it is a flowering plant that has multiple varieties spread across Africa. The seed is an essential crop to the Nigerian agricultural sector in particular to Nigeria’s non-oil sector. Sesame seed is cultivated mainly in the Northern part of the country, in states like Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Jigawa, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Niger, Katsina, Kogi, Nassarawa, Kebbi, Plateau, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe and Abuja. More so, Jigawa state is considered the highest productive region, followed by Benue state. Nigeria’s sesame seeds hold value for exports and are currently in rapid demand worldwide because of the value of the seed oil. If you’re planning to start a lucrative sesame seeds production business in Nigeria, you will find all the business opportunities associated with it, and a detailed how-to guide to help you start effectively here.

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What is Sesame seed?

Sesame seed is the seed of the sesame plant, otherwise called sesamum indicum. The plant is an annual herb that emits foxglove-like flowers that hold the edible sesame seeds. When the seeds are mature, the pods burst open with a pop. The hulls are removed to eliminate the oxalic acid, which gives the source a bitter flavour. The sesame seed is known for its organic nutty flavour and can also be pressed for sesame oil. It can be used as a condiment or eaten raw.


What Is Sesame Seed Production?

Sesame seed production refers to all procedures involved in planting and processing sesame seeds. Sesame seeds are usually ready for harvest within 90 to 120 days after planting, depending on the variety. In general, non-branched varieties mature earlier, and harvesting starts when 75% of the pod/capsules are ripe. Timely collection and tacking are crucial for quality harvest.

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Business Opportunities In Sesame Seeds Production Business In Nigeria & Around The World

The opportunities available in the Nigerian market for the Sesame investor includes;

1). Source of Food:

Sesame seeds in several places across the world are a great source of food. They can sometimes be eaten without mixing with other meals, but they’re mainly eaten with baked products.

2). Vegetable Oil Source:

Sesame seeds are well known for their rich oil content, so they are often used to produce oil in many parts of the world, including Nigeria.

3). Pharmaceuticals:

Because of its unique antihypertensive and anti-oxidative benefits, sesame seeds are used for medicinal functions.

4). Cosmetics:

Sesame seed oils and their derivatives may be used to formulate a range of products including sunscreen products, moisturisers, skin cleansers, hair products, lipstick and other makeup products.


Facts and Benefits of Sesame Seeds

  • Sesame seeds contain phytonutrients as well as phytosterols that help reduce the level of cholesterol in the body.
  • Sesame seeds promote weight loss.
  • Lignans which are nutrients found in most grains are present in sesame seeds, and they help to normalise blood pressure.
  • The magnesium contained in sesame seeds helps in the prevention of diabetics.
  • Sesame seeds are generally suitable for respiratory health because they prevent respiratory disorders such as asthma.
  • They help to prevent anaemia and other blood diseases.
  • Sesame seeds are good sources of dietary fibre which promotes good digestive health.
  • Myanmar, Sudan, India, China, and Tanzania contribute significantly to global production of sesame seeds.
  • The vitamins and calcium present in sesame seeds make help to maintain healthy bones and teeth.
  • Sesame seeds contain the right amount of zinc that generates the collagen necessary for improving the general appearance of the skin.
  • In Nigeria, Adamawa, Bauchi, Benue, Borno, Jigawa, Gombe, and Kaduna are some of the states where sesame seeds are grown.
  • The presence of methionine in sesame seeds helps in the active detoxification of the liver and improves its functions.
  • The presence of Omega-3 fatty acid in sesame seeds significantly enhances eyesight.
  • Sesame seeds were first seen in the United States in the 17th century
  • Sesame plants can grow as high as 2 to 9 feet.
  • Sesame seeds can be eaten with bread and pastries
  • In Japan, the most common part of sesame seeds is its oil, used for cooking.
  • Most Asian countries use sesame seeds in sushi meals.

See Also: How To Start A Lucrative Chia Seeds Farming Business in Nigeria: The Complete Guide


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Types of Sesame Seeds

The major varieties of sesame seeds include:

1). Brown Sesame Seeds:

Brown sesame seeds are known to have a high oil content of about 45 to 50%. The brown sesame seeds are useful for oil extraction.

2). White Seeds:

White seeds exported from India are known for their nutty flavour and are used for baking purposes. They are mostly sprinkled over buns and cakes.

3). Black Seeds:

Black sesame seeds are rich in flavour and are mostly used for salad seasoning, marinating meat and vegetables, and also for medicinal purposes.

4). Red Sesame Seeds:

Red seeds are rich in the aroma, so they are mainly used to enhance dishes.


How To Start Sesame Seeds Production Business In Nigeria: Step-By-Step Guide

1). Ripening of the Sesame Capsules:

The first step in the processing of sesame seeds begins with ripening the capsules. Sesame seeds are enclosed in a protective capsule that bursts open when the grain is ripe. The time of this burst, or “dehiscence,” tends to vary, so farmers cut down plants by hand and put them together in an upright position to continue maturing until all the capsules have opened.

2). Drying:

Since sesame is a small, flat seed, it is hard to dry after harvest because air cannot pass through easily. The seeds must, therefore, be harvested as dry as possible and stored at a moisture content of 6% or less. When the seed is too moist, it will heat up quickly and get rancid.

3). Cleaning process:

After harvesting, the seeds are usually cleaned and hulled in a machine. The shocks are inverted in the field over a cloth/canvases or plastic sheets. The bundles may be hit with a stick until all seeds fall off, depending on the amount of shattering. Clean until the seeds are isolated from the chaff and other inert matters by constantly winnowing.

4). Sorting:

In some countries, once the seeds are hulled, they are passed through an electronic colour-sorting machine that rejects any discoloured seeds to ensure perfect colour. This is a necessary step because consumers believe that sesame seeds with uniform appearance are of better quality and sell at a higher price. Immature or off-size seeds are removed and used for the production of sesame oil.

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Challenges Of Sesame Seeds Production Business In Nigeria

Challenges affecting the growth of the sesame seeds farming business in Nigeria include:

  • Sesame seed production is capital intensive.
  • Costs of production of sesame seeds may be high for small-scale agro-entrepreneurs
  • Most farmers in Nigeria are unable to obtain and utilise vital farm inputs.
  • Lack of adequate machinery for soil preparation.
  • Inefficient crop management techniques.
  • Lack of substantial investments in the sesame seeds production industry
  • Difficulties in controlling or preventing pest attacks and diseases.
  • Inadequate funding of sesame seeds farming research and development facilities.
  • Issues with harvesting processes and methods
  • Sesame seeds could shatter if not promptly collected after ripening
  • Fluctuation in prices of sesame seeds at the local and international markets
  • Unavailability of laboratory tools to test it local seeds meet international standards
  • Difficulty in accessing loans from financial bodies and institutions.

See Also: How To Start A Lucrative Soybean Meal Production Business: The Complete Guide


To Sum It Up

One key agricultural business driving large volume economic output from Nigeria is the sesame seeds farming business, but not many people are aware of this. Sesame farming is a lucratively profitable venture if professionally grown and exported to the right countries. The reason sesame seeds present a massive opportunity for Nigeria is primarily that about 37.33% of the land area is arable. Therefore, there is a solid foundation for the cultivation of the crop. The fact that sesame seeds are also drought-resistant and require little or no fertiliser makes them cheaper to cultivate.

The sesame seeds business in Nigeria can be a lucrative and profitable venture to start-up, due to its vast market demand and on your ability to build a wide supply chain network. If you’re looking for a supply chain business to venture into, the sesame seeds business in Nigeria is a great option to explore.


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