Sesame also known as Sesame indicum L. is an important export crop in Nigeria with over twenty-two states engaged in the production. The current output in Nigeria ranges from 200,000 – 280,000 metric tonnes per annum which generates between $240 – 340 million in revenue and over one million jobs.
In order to harness the huge potentials of the crop, the Council embarked on Sesame Value Chain development which commenced with a stakeholders forum tagged “Stakeholders Engagement: A Strategy for Sustainable Sesame Value Chain Development”. The objective of the forum was to develop strategies for the sustainable enhancement of sesame seed security, income and well-being of sesame value chain actors and the Nigerian economy.
The forum aimed to promote sustainable supply of sesame seed, investment and initiate policy support for the sesame value chain development, improvement in quality of processes along the value chain for increased competitiveness of products and earnings, as well as improved income and livelihoods of sesame value chain actors.
The forum was held in Lafia, Nasarawa State with more than one hundred and twenty participants drawn from government and non-governmental organizations (sesame farmers, traders, investors, processors, researchers, policy makers, etc).
Two papers were presented:
1. Unlocking the Potentials of Sesame Seed Value Chain for Economic Sustainability by Mr. Samson Enwerem, Secretary, Sesame Seed Association of Nigeria.
2. Mycotoxin Challenges in Sesame Value Chain: Viable Options and Opportunities by Dr. Anthony Negedu, President, Mycotoxicology Society of Nigeria (MSN).
The forum made the following observations:
• The need for purposeful and well-structured investment in Sesame Value Chain in the country.
• The need for Sesame Value Chain actors to urgently adopt Good Agricultural Practices for compliance with standards and regulations governing agricultural trade globally.
• The need for improved facilities for cleaning and storage of sesame seeds to mitigate biological and chemical contamination of sesame seeds.
• The need for improved planting materials for increased yield and improved quality.
• The need to raise awareness at all levels along the value chain on the negative impacts of the contamination of sesame seeds with mycotoxins and other contaminants.