The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) in an effort to further aid the nation’s economic recovery through the non-oil export sector, has expressed government’s commitment to enhance technical skills of smallholder farmers for improved access to global markets.
According to the NEPC, the federal government remains committed to the development of the non-oil export sector as the last defence of the economy.
To this end, the NEPC donated improved seeds to sesame seed farmers in Kogi and Niger states as well as the Federal Capital Territory, hoping it will aid in sustaining the global market share of the product and gain the confidence of international buyers and consumers.
Indeed, the Council in its efforts at sustaining the impressive gains of sesame seed export, is collaborating with the National Sesame Seed Association of Nigeria (NSSAN) by organizing technical sessions for sesame seed value chain actors.
Themed ‘Expanding frontier of sesame seed value chain for increasing global market access’, the NEPC noted that the sessions are aimed at increasing the yield and grains quality of Sesame seed.
Already, similar sessions have been held in Makurdi (Benue State) and Doma (Nasarawa State).
In his keynote address, the Executive Director/CEO of NEPC. Olusegun Awolowo explained that the trainings are part of the Council’s efforts geared at repositioning non-oil export as the major driver of the nation’s economy, as well as enhancing global market access for Nigeria exportable products.
Awolowo noted that the 2019 Sesame Seed Convention in Istanbul, Turkey revealed the growing global demand for sesame seed, adding that Nigeria’s production is rising steadily and projected to be around 20% of global production.
According to him, Nigeria is currently ranked second leading producer worldwide (420,000 MT), largely due to NEPC and stakeholders’ efforts in the sesame seed sector.
Data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) indicated that sesame seed is the leading non-oil exportable product from Nigeria from 2018-2019, outperforming other crops, including cocoa.
Nigeria’s agricultural export rose to N152.3 billion in the first six months of 2019 (January – June).
Sesame Seed has been one of Nigeria’s agricultural export biggest earners in the past years. This trend continued in the first half of 2019 as N60.6 billion worth of sesame seeds were exported from Nigeria.
Also, sesame oil and its fraction also made the top 10 agricultural export with N928.1 million. The report also indicated that Japan, Turkey, China, Belgium, South Korea and Germany are Nigeria’s biggest markets for sesame seed.