TANZANIA Agricultural Research Institute -Naliendele (TARI-Naliendele) has urged farmers to engage in cultivation of Sesame to guarantee food security and improve their livelihoods.
According to the institute, the move will also help increase domestic oil production because sesame seeds have highest oil contents among major oilseed crops.
National Coordinator for Oilseed research on sesame, Mr Joseph Nzunda made the call here recently, saying sesame, a cash crop, is a lucrative business which can support livelihoods of farmers and other players engaging in its production.
“Sesame is a high valued cash crop, if well and widely grown, for example in every one tonne of sesame seeds, one can reap up to 3m/-,” he said, insisting on the need for farmers especially smallholders to consider cultivating the sesame crop as an alternative cash crop to boost their livelihoods.
Mr Nzunda said there was high demand for sesame seeds in the globe, a move that is predicted to positively impact the sesame seed industry.
He said wide cultivation of sesame in the country will also help the country reduce the cost of importing edible oil into the country.
Mr Nzunda said TARI-Naliendele has developed and released new seed varieties for sesame which are grown to give farmers increased output.
“Increased production of sesame crop requires quality seed, for that matter, TARI has released seed varieties with higher output for growth,” he said.
He said farmers engaging in cultivation of the crop should acquire the improved seed varieties from the TARI Naliendele, including seeking information on correct technologies and good farming practices.
“We advise farmers to acquire quality seeds from TARI Naliendele where they would also be taught correct technologies and good farming practices towards boosting their production,” he said.
He said TARI-Naliendele has enough sesame quality seeds, noting that last year alone, the institute produced 35,000 tonnes of seeds and the amount is set to double as demand increases.
Currently, Tanzania produces only 205,000 tonnes of cooking oil a year while an annual demand stands at 570,000 tonnes. The country is thus compelled to spend over 443bn/- annually to import 365,000 tonnes of edible oil to cover the shortage.