NIGERIA – Nigeria’s sesame seed exports reached N247.75 billion (US$161M) in the first quarter of 2024, marking a 99% increase from the fourth quarter of 2023.

The total value for 2023 was N253.7 billion (US$165M), just 2% above the Q1 2024 figure, highlighting significant growth in demand.

According to the Nigerian Export Commodity Council, China, Japan, and Turkey are the primary markets for Nigeria’s sesame seeds.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reported that Nigeria produced 509,712 metric tonnes of sesame seeds in 2022, making it the fourth-largest producer globally. The crop is mainly cultivated in the northern states of Jigawa, Nasarawa, Gombe, and Sokoto.

Contribution to the Economy

Sesame seed exports contributed 1.3% to Nigeria’s total exports, while agriculture accounted for 5.4% of the N19.17 trillion (US$12.5B)  total exports during the review period.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), agricultural exports surged to N1.04 trillion, marking a significant increase from N463.97 billion in the fourth quarter of 2023. This represents an astounding 123 percent increase compared to the corresponding quarter in 2023.

The latest NBS foreign trade in goods statistics report highlights the agricultural sector’s robust performance, which saw a 270 percent year-on-year growth from N279.64 billion in Q1 2023.

This impressive rise was driven primarily by the heightened demand for sesame seeds and cocoa (standard and superior quality) in major markets across Asia, China, Europe, and Japan.

“Export of agricultural products was dominated by sesamum seeds valued at N247.75 billion, superior quality cocoa beans, with N230.85 billion and standard quality cocoa beans with N140.09 billion,” the NBS said.

The NBS report detailed that sesame seeds, superior-quality cocoa beans, and standard-quality cocoa beans were the dominant export products. Superior-quality cocoa beans and standard-quality cocoa beans contributed N230.85 billion and N140.09 billion, respectively.

The report further highlighted that sesame seeds worth N83.29 billion were exported to China and N58.04 billion to Japan.

Other notable agricultural exports in Q1 2024 included soya beans (seeds and excluding seeds) valued at N130.01 billion, cashew nuts (in shells/shelled) worth N86.75 billion, ginger (crushed and ground) at N4.49 billion, and various frozen shrimps and prawns amounting to N33.72 billion.

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