Sesame price rises in Sokoto as supply dips
Mar 31 Friday, 2019

Sesame, an ancient oil seed crop, has started experiencing a period of short supply in Sokoto with a resultant increase in price. “Not until about the middle of the year, sesame is going to be in short supply,” chairman Sokoto State Sesame Farmers Association, Alhaji Umaru Falke Tambuwal, said. He said the crop, which usually undergoes three harvest seasons – July to September, October to November and January to March – is already facing shortage in the state especially for exporters and those who need it for industrial purposes.

“Even with over 4,000 sesame farmers and major producing local government areas such as Sabon Birni, Isa, Wurno, Dange Shuni, Tureta, Goronyo and Tambuwal, we still cannot satisfy the demand of people who need the seed for various purposes,” he said. He said the sesame seeds tend to be in high demand at a time it is scarce in the market. A sack which cost N25,000 to N30,000 during harvest, goes as high as N40,000-N50,000 when it is in high demand, the marketers said. Alhaji Falke lamented lack of local industries to serve as off-takers. He also said if they had the kind of intervention rice farmers are enjoying, it would have gone a long way in boosting the sesame business.

A sesame seeds dealer, Malam Mohammed, said sesame, which is a rich source of natural oil, vitamins and minerals among others, is in high demand for its nutritional value as well as industrial use. He noted that sesame, can last for over a year when stored in a conducive place. At Sokoto Central Market’s sesame depot, some of the dealers said they now get the commodity from Gujungu and Maigatari markets in Jigawa State and Makarfi as well as Giwa in Kaduna and Talata Mafara in Zamfara State, in addition to markets in Dange Shuni and Wurno areas of Sokoto.

A sack of sesame now costs N34,000-N40,000 while a measure goes for N900. According to Alhaji Umaru, a sesame seller at the depot, “Every week, I travel to those places but the crop is costly now. With N300,000 I can’t get 10 sacks.” He noted also that “Sesame seed is highly sought after because of its industrial value. “Places such as China and India make good use of it for biscuit and other confectionaries.” On problems, he said: “We do encounter half-filled sacks after making bulk purchase, while other times, we find that chaff constitute half of the sack.”

A buyer, Fadimatu Mamman, 40, from Gyarabshi village said she makes oil from sesame. “We fry, grind and continue mixing until the oil is out,” she explained, adding that some people consume it, others applied it on their skin, and also make use of it as hair relaxer. A measure of sesame seed purchased at N800-N900 could yield N200-N300 gain when properly locally processed, she stated. A popular sesame seller at the central market, Alhaji Umaru, however pointed out that merchants were not usually involved when there are off takers. “We know where we can get the commodity, we know the farmers, it is just that they don’t involve us.”

“When we experience glut in Sokoto, we transport the commodity to Talata Mafara where there are big time dealers who are willing and ready to buy from us. That is what keeps us safe from losing much from glut,” Umaru said. He solicited government’s support, especially on access of soft loans to boost sesame seeds trade.