The price of sesame cultivated under Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) is currently K10,000 higher per bag (45 viss) on account of strong demand from Japan and China, allowing growers to earn a healthy profit.
According to traders, regular sesame seeds are priced at K260,000 per bag, while sesame produced under GAP is fetching K272,000 per bag at present.
“Over 59,800 acres of monsoon sesame was cultivated this year, with over 4,855 acres of farms in 26 villages in Aunglan Township growing sesame using Good Agricultural Practices. One acre can yield 12 baskets of sesame (Samone variety),” according to the township’s Agriculture Department.
To meet GAP standards, the Agriculture Department has joined hands with Japanese agriculturists for survey and research. Awareness-raising campaigns have also helped reap fruitful results.
“A growth in the sesame seed acreage combined with GAP has helped increase exports. Farmers who used GAP in farming have reaped benefits,” said exporters.
Myanmar exported 90,000 tons of various sesame seeds, worth US$147 million, between 1 October, 2018 and 12 July, 2019, according to the Ministry of Commerce. Myanmar shipped the sesame seeds to markets in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Greece, and Poland among the EU countries. The EU markets prefer organically farmed sesame seeds from Myanmar, said an official from the Trade Promotion Department.
Japan prefers Myanmar’s black sesame seeds, cultivated under GAP, and purchases them after a quality assessment. Black sesame seeds from Myanmar are also exported to South Korea and Japan. Meanwhile, China purchases various coloured sesame seeds from the country.
Sesame is cultivated throughout the year in the country. Magway Region, which is gaining a reputation as the oil pot of Myanmar, is the main producer of sesame seeds, and it was also the first region to adopt the GAP system for sesame farming.
The area under sesame cultivation is also growing in Mandalay and Sagaing regions. Of the edible oil crops grown in Myanmar, the acreage under sesame is the highest, accounting for 51.3 per cent of the overall oil crop plantation.
The volume of sesame exports was registered at over 96,000 tons, worth $130 million, in the 2015-2016 fiscal year; $100,000 tons, worth $145 million, in the 2016-2017FY; and, 120,000 tons, worth $147 million, in the 2017-2018 FY.—Thein Lwin/Ko Khant
(Translated by Ei Myat Mon)