You are on page 1of 5


Patrick Aboje
The article for this week is on special oil, with quality for those that are
interested and can afford the processing. This oil holds so much because of
its importance, well acknowledged globally. You are welcome to this special
oil from Sesame seed found to be medicinal and used locally in preparation
of soups. We shall examine the prospect of Sesame seed oil export and its
relevance for a country like Nigeria that is endowed with large production of
Sesame seed. It is important to note that adding value to enhance export
products is good for the economy of Nigeria. Although sesame seed is
reputed to be the highest commodity export foreign exchange earner in
Nigeria, the numbers of exporters of sesame seed oil are not encouraging
considering the volume of demand for this commodity in the international
market. Perhaps lack of adequate information or ignorance on the demand of
Sesame seed oil in the international market could be responsible to the few
processing companies in Nigeria. The product is unique and special for those
that wants to make good money, either locally or in the international market.
Oil content of the seed is between 50- 59 percent, ideal as a vegetable oil but
contains (43 percent oleic and 43 percent linoleic acid.). For those that want
to take advantage of this information on how to process sesame seed into oil
for export, this is an investment opportunity.

Sesame seed (sesamum indicum L.) Is an oil seed of
international importance? The seed has always being an
export crops of Nigeria uphill the 1970s till date. It is called
“sesame” internationally, while it is called “benniseed” in
West Africa; “simsim” in East Africa and “Till” in India.
Within Nigeria it is called different names in different
localities. It is generally called “ridi” in the Northern States.
The Igalas, Idomas and Tivs of Benue State call it “Igogo”,
“Ocha” and “Ishwa” respectively. The Ibos call it “isasa” and
Yorubas call it “Ekuku” or “Eeku” in parts of Ogun, Ondo and
Oyo states and Ilorin in Kwara State.

The plant is an annual herbaceous mucilaginous erect plant

which belongs to the family, Pedeliaceae characterized by
well-shaped flowers height of 0.6 to 0.8m. The fruits are
dehiscent axial capsules about 3 to 4cm long, containing 4
segments with each segment housing 20 to 25 small seeds.
However, this article is not about the seed, but the oil and
without describing the seed our audience may find it difficult
to understand the source of the raw material.
Sesame seed has about 50 to 59% of valuable high grade
stable oil which is specialty oil often referred to as the
“Queen of oils”. Specialty oil reported to serve a particular
market it has unique properties and cannot be replaced by
oil solely on price. The oil is used as a substitute for olive oil
in cooking and in medicine. The oil possesses a unique and
special property as semi- drying oil. This special property
that is unique confers on sesame seed oil, the suitability for
use in resin production. Nutritionist insists sesame seed oil is
an ideal vegetable oil because of its free cholesterol level
and high polyunsaturated fatty acid content (about 43
percent oleic and 43 percent linoleic acid). Beside the high
oil content, it is found to be a veritable source of protein. In
addition, after processing sesame seed into oil, the by
product which is cake has been found to contain high protein
level close to that of soybeans. In other words, you have two
exportable products from processing raw sesame seed,
which makes an economic sense for return on investment. It
is relatively alright for medium scale investment, as the
export market is there for those that understand what
quality is all about.

The seed is utilized for the production of high quality, odorless oil. The oil
is used in the manufacture of compound cooking fats, margarine and salad
oils. It is also used as a fixture in the perfumery industry, in various
cosmetics as a carrier for fat soluble substance, in pharmaceutical such as
penicillin and in insecticides. The oil cake can be used as poultry and
livestock feed and as fertilizer. The cake contains about 35% protein. In
Israel, it is used to prepare full meals. Sesame seed oil is used locally in
Nigeria within the areas of production, for cooking. It has been shown that
sesame seed can grow well virtually all states in Nigeria

Market Potential
An estimated 70% of world production of sesame seeds is
processed into oil and meal. The food industry is the
principal market segment in most of the importing countries.
Japan is practically the only importer which uses most of the
imported sesame for oil extraction. The economic
importance is well known and acknowledge globally. Sesame
seed by product has found uses in bakery and does not
change the colour of baked products after baking. In the
Middle East, sesame has long been used for traditional food
and such specialties as tahine and halvah. There are market
for sesame seed oil in most European countries, including
Greece, Italy and Germany where imports increased
considerably in the last few years. There are other markets
for sesame seed oil in the Middle East countries, Saudi
Arabia, Jordan etc.

Market Access
With a few exceptions, there are neither quantitative
restrictions nor customs duties on imports of sesame
products into major markets. Sanitary regulations are
applied in some countries. Imported sesame products must
conform to the importer/end-users’ requirements in the
various markets. Specifications for sesame used for the food
industry generally concentrate on color, cleanliness and
dryness; whereas oil content is the major purchasing
criterion for oil extraction.
Sesame seed products are considered a natural health food
in Japan where it is widely used for cooking. Local
production is negligible and is for domestic consumption
only. Out of total annual consumption, about 65% is used for
oil extraction and 35% for food.

Sources of Raw Sesame seeds

The raw materials required for the production of sesame seed oil, is good
quality sesame seeds. Various species of sesame seeds are cultivated in the
North Central states and can grow throughout the country. The areas in
particular are Igbira, Dorma Tiv and Ilorin. Other substantial parts of the
Northern states grow sesame seed. There are in commercial quantity for
processing and export. The processing of sesame seed oil is quite interesting
and it involves the following; cleaning, dehulling and oil extraction.
The Market Analysis
This is the most important research to be conducted, of course not in
exclusion of others. This is because a thorough and successful market
research determines from the onset the success of the business. The best and
most reliable source of research information is from experienced exporters
who are actively exporting your kind of product. More useful information
can also be obtained from the export consultant, commercial departments of
embassies, trade associations like chambers of commerce, libraries of
foreign countries international departments of commercial banks, magazines
and trade journals, shipping companies and trade directories of other
countries especially those of your interest, federal office of statistics, export
institutions and associations. All of these will access you to unquantifiable
information about your intended product market.

You’re Company
Here, the strength, weakness, opportunities and threat (SWOT) analysis have
to be done to determine the company’s ability to go into export business.
The financial strength, and skilled personnel, required to handle any
difficulty, which may arise from the business transactions. The transport
means to be adopted and how to guarantee quality of product; ability to
deliver as and when required; and the promotion of the products. With these
obvious complexities, a skilled person has to be in charge of a company’s
export desk.

The enabling environment has been created, with banning of vegetable oil
importation and export incentive by the Federal government, to encourage
those that want to venture into the international market. All you need do is to
“take the bull by the horn” and build capacity to take advantage of the huge
export potentials available in international business.
We are available to assist you in a bankable feasibility for the establishment
of a small processing plant.

50 Bode Thomas Street, suru-lere, Lagos.

Tel. 080-33006211, 01-4047711.