How To Start A Lucrative Sesame Seeds Farming Business In Nigeria: The Complete Guide

How To Start A Lucrative Sesame Seeds Farming Business In Nigeria: The Complete Guide

Hundreds of entrepreneurs venture into the agricultural industry every month, with most focusing on the cultivation of the crops, others focus on the processing, and a very few focusing only on the international trade of the commodity. This mass agropreneurship movement grows the industry and contributes to the reduction of unemployment, while in the process facilitating economic growth.

One key agro-business that drives large volume economic output from Nigeria but is less known to the masses is the sesame seeds farming business in Nigeria; a lucratively profitable venture if cultivated professionally and exported to the right countries after adding some value to the crop.

Currently, there are about 26 sesame seeds growing states in Nigeria; some of which include Ebonyi, Delta, Jigawa, Bauchi, Nassarawa, Benue, Bauchi, Maiduguri, Katsina, Taraba, and much more.

The international market for sesame seeds is also quite vast in Asia and Europe with Japan and China accounting for the bulk of the Asian imports of sesame seeds from Nigeria and European countries like Turkey, India, Poland, and the Netherlands also been a great export destination for people looking to venture in the sesame seeds farming business in Nigeria.

Studies have also shown that sesame seeds were Nigeria’s leading export in the first quarter of the year 2018. It is Nigerian’s second most demanded cash crop, only second to cocoa. And currently, Nigeria is ranked second in Africa and 7th in the world in terms of sesame seeds production.

The vast worldwide demand and prospective income that can be generated from sesame seeds farming in Nigeria place it as a key agricultural business for new and existing entrepreneurs to venture into.

If you’re looking for how to start sesame seeds farming in Nigeria, this article goes in-depth on what to do:

See Also: How To Start The Lucrative Export Of Sesame Seeds From Nigeria To International Buyers


What Are Sesame Seeds?

Sesame seeds (Sesamum indicum), also known as benne seeds, are a flowering plant in the genus Sesamum. These plants are very attractive with dark-green leaves and have tubular flowers that can be of white or pale pink colour. The mature plants can grow between 3 and 6 feet tall (depending on the variety).

The sesames are grown widely in tropical regions around the world and is cultivated for its edible seeds, which grow in pods or buns. These tiny seeds are used on a large scale for their aroma, oil, and the health benefits they offer.

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Types Of Sesame Seeds

On average, the world consumes about 3 million tons of sesame seeds yearly, with Nigeria being the 7th highest producer and exporter of these seeds worldwide. 

There are three types of sesame seeds which can be categorized as:

1). White Sesame Seeds:

These are the most easily accessible sesame seeds in the market and are used in making bakery products and oils. They can be consumed without processing.

2). Black Sesame Seeds:

These seeds are known for their high medicinal qualities as they have 60% more calcium than other types.

3). Brown Sesame Seeds:

These seeds are rich in phosphorus, calcium, iron, and protein. These seeds are also richer in oil than the other types and are popularly used for oil extraction. They are extensively used in candies, baked items, cereals, and more.

Sesame seeds are beneficial for the health as they contain several vital nutrients and minerals which are necessary for the normal functioning of the body.


The two types of sesame seeds commonly grown in Nigeria are the white and brown sesame seeds.

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Business Opportunities In Sesame Seeds Farming In Nigeria

1). Source of Food:

Sesame seeds are a great source of food in many places around the world as they can sometimes be eaten without mixing with another mean. But they’re largely eaten with baked products.

2). Source of Vegetable Oil:

Sesame seeds are well known for their rich oil contents, and so, they mostly used for oil production in many places around the world, including Nigeria.

3). Pharmaceuticals:

Sesame seeds are used for pharmaceutical purposes because of its specific antihypertensive effect, anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidative activity.

4). Cosmetics:

Sesame seeds oils and their derivatives can be used in the formulation of a variety of products including moisturizers, sunscreen products, skin cleansers, hair products, lipstick and other makeup products.

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Facts And Benefits Of Sesame Seeds Farming In Nigeria

  • Sesame seeds are a great source of fibre
  • Sesame seeds may help lower cholesterol
  • Sesame seeds are a great source of plant protein
  • Sesame seeds may help lower blood pressure
  • Sesame seeds help support healthy bones
  • Sesame seeds help reduce inflammation
  • Sesame seeds farming creates job opportunities in rural and urban communities
  • Sesame seeds do not require much fertilizer or irrigation
  • Sesame seeds are not expensive to cultivate
  • Sesame seeds yield per hectare is about 1-1.5 tonnes every year.


How To Start Sesame Seeds Farming In Nigeria: Step By Step Guide

1). Select a Good Location

The first step in start sesame seeds farming in Nigeria or any other part of the world is to choose a great environment for growing the crop; although this is a lot easier for Nigerians as the Nigerian climate favours the crop in many parts of the country and also as a result of its drought-resistant ability (in the case of Northern Nigeria).

Choosing a great location is good for so many reasons like drought resistance, waterlogging threats, and much more. But when a great location with adequate sunlight, drought-resistant soil, and absence of a waterlogging threat is considered, farming operations can thrive.

2). Choose The Right Seeds

Your choice of seeds is very important, as only two types of sesame seeds grow well in Nigeria. These are the White and the Brown sesame seeds, and it may also interest you to know that these are the two most demanded sesame seeds in the world.

3). Site Preparation, Planting, and Care:

The preparation for planting sesame seeds starts with clearing the site of weeds, stumps, and anything that can stunt the growth of the crop.

Then ridges are made with a row spacing of 60 cm by 10 cm. You can also plant them on plain lands that are well tilled. Note that about 4-5kg of sesame seeds are required to be planted on one hectare of land. You should also know that sesame seeds yield per hectare is about 1-1.5 tonnes every year.

It is recommended that you weed your sesame seeds farm 25 days after planting to avoid the choking of the seeds before they germinate. While planting, try maintaining 2 sesame plants per roll to avoid unhealthy competition for nutrients.

4). Harvesting Your Sesame Seeds

It takes around 5 months for sesame seeds to reach full maturity after you have planted them.

You can also know they are ready for harvest when about 50% of the capsules have turned yellow. It is critical that you do not delay harvest, as it can adversely affect the yield. You should also use sickles to cut the stems while harvesting.

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Challenges Of Sesame Seeds Farming In Nigeria

Some challenges affecting the growth of the sesame seeds farming business in Nigeria are:

  • Production costs and initial capital for sesame seeds farming can be high for small-scale agropreneurs if they don’t have thorough information.
  • Most farmers in Nigeria are unable to obtain and utilize vital farm inputs.
  • Lack of the right machinery for soil preparation.
  • Inefficient crop management techniques.
  • Lack of substantial investments and loans for sesame seeds production.
  • Difficulties in controlling or preventing disastrous sesame seeds diseases or pests.
  • Inadequate funding of sesame seeds farming research and development facilities.
  • Issues with harvesting processes and methods



Globally, over 4.8 million tonnes of sesame seeds are produced annually. While Nigeria could be able to meet a substantial percentage of this global production rate, the country only produces just a little over 300,000 tonnes annually.

Sesame seeds are one of the top food/cash crops that can ensure a steady profit through local supplies and majorly exportation for agropreneurs while boosting the revenues generated by the agricultural sector. For that reason, individuals in search of a great and globally-inclined agribusiness can invest in the sesame seeds farming and production business after acquiring an in-depth knowledge of cultivation, crop management, harvesting techniques, and international trading skills.

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