Olam Nigeria Limited, one of Nigeria’s leading non oil exporters with export of products in 2011 valued at over $444 million is further complementing Nigeria’s non-oil export drive by investing N3 billion on business expansions for the processing and exportation of sesame seed.
The company which has been playing in the export business for years, told officials of Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) led by its chairman, Grace Clark who were on a facility tour of the company on Monday that it has already acquired over 25 hectares of land in Sagamu, Ogun State for a new state of the art plant which will be ready in 2014.
“We have seen the competition and trend in the international market, and we said to ourselves there is need for us to start investing hugely in Nigeria. Today we have decided to put a facility that will occupy about 25 hectares of land in Sagamu. It will have a warehouse and a factory and can handle up to 75,000 metric tons of processing value and 200 people working on site,” the management of the company led by Makul Mathur told the visiting NEPC officials
It is expected that when the new plant commences operation, it will further boost Nigeria’s non oil export currently valued at about N500 billion annually.
Taking the NEPC official through the Olam business, Mathur said its sesame seed procurement operations come from the North of Nigeria. “We pioneered the export of processed sesame seed from Nigeria. In 2007, Nigeria had an output of 80,000 tones, and this has grown tremendously to 190,000 tones as at 2012.”
In the presentation, the Olam management said the growth is a function of the acceptance of Nigeria’s sesame seed in countries like Japan, Turkey and China, North America, and Europe because of is sweet taste.
“Between 2010 and 2011, we had close to 140,000 tons exported and in 2012, we sold 172,000 tons. This shows that with increased growth in terms of production, and cultivation, there is a ready market for it.”
The increase in exportation of the product has equally led to an increase in farmers cultivating the seed.
The number of farmers has, grown from 90,000 in 2006 to 325,000 in 2012 with a total of 514,000 hectares of land for cultivation from 200.000.
Olam also said in the presentation that Japan alone
imports about 150,000 tones of sesame seed annually and Nigeria accounts for about 40,000 tones of the imports stating that Turkey has also been a very committed customer to Olam.
The Olam management listed challenges to the exports of the product to include competition and better incentives offered by other exporting countries such as Ethiopia, Sudan and Tanzania