Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) has presented improved variety of sesame seeds to over 3000 farmers in Abaji, a suburb of the Federal Capita; Territory.
The scheme was designed to position the farmers for commercial production of the crop.
The council distributed large quantities of the crop, known for its high quality oil content, at the event.
In an address presented at the occasion, Director General, RMRDC, Dr. H.D. Ibrahim, remarked that his council had over the years been promoting strategic economic crops, one of which was sesame seed, known as beniseed.
Ibrahim said Nigeria remained the second largest producer of the seed and ranks seventh among nations that cultivate the crop.
Benue, Niger, Kogi, Kebbi, Bauchi, Plateau, Nasarawa, Ebonyi, Yobe, Borno and Cross River States are said to be actively involved in cultivation of the seed in Nigeria.
Rated one of the best in the world, Nigeria’s sesame seed, the RMRDC boss said, could be processed into vegetable oil, kuli-kuli or used in preparing local soup.
According to Ibrahim, Nigeria produces 120,000 metric tonnes of the crop every year, generating an average of $150,000 million yearly.
He revealed that a 10 kilogrammes hydraulic hand-pressing machine has been invented by the National Cereal Research Institute, Baddegi, to facilitate the processing of the crop.
He charged the Abaji farmers to deploy the best of their efforts in growing the seed to meet the raw material needs of Dantata Foods/Allied Products Limited which, he said, would be collaborating with his council to float a plant in Abaji for the processing of the crop.
Dignitaries at the event included Chairman of Abaji Area Council, Hon. Abdulrahman Ajiya, the National president, Sesame Seed Growers Association of Nigeria, Mr. Sheriff Balogun, and the Chairman, Abaji Farmers Association, Mr. Sa’adu Usman.
Presenting the crops to the farmers, Hon Ajiya expressed joy over the decision of the organisers to choose Abaji as venue of the event and urged the farmers to employ requisite techniques taught them to cultivate the crop so as to achieve the purpose of the scheme.
On his part, Mr. Balogun enjoined the farmers to be committed to the execution of the programme which he said would not only give them succour, but also contribute to the nation’s economic development.
Speaking to The Abuja Times, Sa’adu Usman thanked Hon. Ajiya and also the organisers of the programme for packaging “such a life-touching scheme” and promised them of his association’s backing in attainment of the goals