As part of measures towards revamping the nation’s economic fortunes accruable from its non-oil export commodities and introducing a sustainably viable increment in then local capacities for agricultural research for improved agricultural cropping for industrial sustainability, the raw Materials research and development Council (RMRDC) has organized a training seminar for Sesame Farmers at Doma, Nasarawa State.
Speaking at a one day sensitization seminar, the RMRDC DG, Professor Hussaini Doko Ibrahim said the seminar tagged: “Post-harvest Guidelines in Sesame Production and Processing: bedrock for profitability”, was organized by the Council to build capacity of sesame seed farmers in Nasarawa State on agronomic best practices. This is with the aim of promoting the development of sesame as well as ensuring that the quality and standard of Nigeria sesame meet local and export requirements.
The RMRDC DG who was represented at the workshop by the Deputy Director, raw materials Cluster Development Division (RCDD) Mrs. Osagie Giwa, said it was important for local sesame farmers in Nigeria to embrace standard agronomic practices in the cultivation and harvesting of the crop in order to meet international standard requirements. He said sesame is the largest contributor of foreign exchange among agricultural products to Nigeria’s economy with about 500,000 tons/annum.
“Sesame seeds, or beniseeds as they are locally known, are among the most commercially viable crop critical to the agricultural economy of Nigeria. Despite the high viability of the crop, data from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) shows Nigeria’s production of sesame has been uneven compared to demand over the years. The Country’s best output was in 2912 when the country produced 994,800 tons. Thereafter, the output fell and picked up in 2015. It fell again in 2017.” The RMRDC DG SAID.
Professor Ibrahim also traced the rejection of commodities from Nigeria by International Communities, the European Union (EU) to the non-adherence of local farmers to standard agronomic practices and post-harvest handling. He enjoined the relevant Ministries, Agencies and Research Institutions that have the mandates in crop production collaborate to intervene urgently to improve the situation.
The RMRDC Chief Helmsman also said the Council has adopted the concept of value chain development as a vital component of the overall strategy for competitive transform of raw materials as industrial inputs, post-harvest losses and food security.
He further gave details of Council’s commitment towards the strategic development of sesame as an industrial raw material as varietal development of crops for high yielding, earliness, pesticides/disease resistance; distribution of improved seeds to farmers, and Capacity building for farmers. Others include Training of extension staff and farmers, ensuring quality control at primary (farm) level, and strengthening the management information system in the commodities, among others.
Speaking earlier, the Nasarawa State Commissioner for Trade Industry and Investment, represented by the State Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Ibrahim Alkassim, thanked the Council for the capacity building workshop to train sesame farmers in Nasarawa State. He said Nasarawa State was one of the leading states in the cultivation of sesame which He said the training has equally exposed sesame farmers in the state to modern agronomic practices and trends which can launch the state to limelight in terms of volume of production of the crop which provides basic raw materials to a lot of industries, including the beverage and confectionery industries in Nigeria.