Chairman Sokoto State Sesame Farmers Association, Alhaji Umaru Falke Tambuwal has churned out a warning notice about the looming shortage in supply of the ancient oil seed crop popularly known as ‘sesame’.
The agricultural product called ‘Sesame’ which is an ancient oil seed crop, has started experiencing a period of short supply in Sokoto with a resultant increase in price.
Though Tambuwal revealed that not until about the middle of the year sesame is going to be in short supply, 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 further noted that sesame seeds tend to be in high demand during its scarce periods in the market.
The marketers believe that 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.
A sesame seeds dealer, Malam Mohammed claims that the agro product 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.
At Sokoto Central Market where Sesame is in high demand,, 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.”