Farmers learn about sesame crops

Ellanie Smit
Sesame is an oilseed crop with a high value for use in refined edible products and a global market value of over N$97.5 billion.

According to the Namibian Agronomic Board (NAB), the global demand for high-quality seed oils continues to grow, and this has led to the prices of cooking oil and related products increasing in Namibia and globally.

"Currently there are no sesame production activities in Namibia, thus the local market depends on sesame imports from neighbouring countries."

It is against this background that the NAB and the University of Namibia (Unam) embarked on the first-ever sesame research trial in Namibia to identify well-adapted and high-yielding varieties for commercial production purposes and to determine the exact production cost in the Namibian context.



Looking into it

As part of the collaboration, the two institutions procured four sesame varieties from the National Cereals Research Institute, an international seed supplier in Nigeria, and planted them at four farmer-managed research sites in the central and Karst production zones for trial purposes.

According to NAB, the aim is to identify the best performing varieties to be recommended to Namibian farmers for commercial production after the second and third trials through relevant authorities regulating the industry.

It said that sesame is a high-value export crop, and once commercialised, it will significantly contribute to socio-economic development.



Collaboration

During the second quarter of the 2022/2023 financial year, the NAB together with Unam, hosted sesame research information days.

The days were held at Hochfeld and Grootfontein, respectively.

According to NAB, these days are aimed at providing a platform for farmers and other stakeholders to observe the performance of the different sesame varieties planted in the trials while conducting visual varietal screening evaluations on the agronomic scores of each variety.