In many areas of Northwest Ethiopia, the 2017 sesame production season seemed to go very well, except the occurrence of some pests, wind, hail and unexpected rain during hilla stacking in some places such as May-kadra, Selferedi, Hagereselam etc. Although these challenges affect some farmers sesame produce, by and large, many sesame farmers in Northwest Ethiopia experienced a normal production season and due to this production and productivity is relatively better than the previous years. It is estimated that the sesame produce of Ethiopia reaches 3,500,000 quintal which shows a 15% increase from last year. This figure puts the country in the second place in Africa, next to Sudan.
Along with the production and productivity, though not as such exciting for producer farmers, this year’s sesame market is also way better than the previous year. In comparison with last year, sesame market starts with fair and reasonable price. Last year, in most spot markets the price for the new produce sesame started around 1,500 ETB per quintal. This year’s market price, however, starts with 2,800 ETB per quintal which is nearly double.
The quality of the new sesame produce is also relatively better. Both farmers and traders appreciate the quality of sesame this year. Some say the reason for the improved quality is because of the fact that farmers are employing improved sesame production technologies. While others said the quality is improved as a result of the good weather. They said in many places, there were no heavy rain and water logging problems in the production and harvesting seasons and this contributes to the better quality.
Mr. Hadushe Gueshe, who has been working as a trader in Adebay spot market for the last four years, bought about 700 quintals sesame in one and half month. He said this year’s sesame market price is very good for farmers. It was very good in October but not now (beginning of November). He added: “I think farmers paid their credit and that is why it is reducing now. The price starts way better than last year. Last year, it started in 1,500 ETB but this year it starts in 2,800 ETB.” He thinks that farmers benefited from the sesame business this year. He said he and his fellow traders are not as such benefited compared to what they used to have last year. He said we were thinking that the market price at the ECX market in Addis will increase but no significant change has been observed thus far. He thinks that there might have not been many buyers in Addis Ababa.
Mr. Hadushe sells his sesame in Humera at the ECX market. He said: “at present I am not profiting much; in the current price it is only about 50 ETB profit from a quintal. There are some activities that I perform here before I load and take it to the ECX market.” Considering the costs that he makes in his spot market shop this is not a benefit. But he thinks if he does not loose he consider it as profit. He supplied his sesame in the ESX warehouse and he said there is a 45-day waiting time in ECX and he is hoping that the price will increase in the near future.
Mr. Hadushe is impressed with the quality of sesame this year. He said: “The quality is very nice this year. I took what I have bought four times to the ECX market and all the time it has been given grade 2.” Asked about the reason, he said that farmers are improving their practice. He also added that the production season was very good. There was no water logging problem, not too much rain – this contributed for the quality of the sesame.”
Mrs Alemitu Ambaw, a woman sesame farmer who produced sesame in five hectares in 2017. She said as a woman it was difficult to handle all the farm activity by herself. Due to this she worked with another farmer and will share the produce for two at the end of the production season. She said from the five hectares she got 20 quintals. 17 quintals from the two hectare which she planted earlier in the season. However, from the other three hectares she did not get much because she planted late, in July 19. From the 20 quintal she has got 10 for herself. She took part during planting and harvesting.
She supplied three quintals to her cooperative with 2,880 ETB per quintal. She is planning to sell the remaining seven quintals later. She said: “I was not profitable last year but thanks to God I am good this year. This year both production and marketing are relatively good. Labour and other production costs were not as such higher. The quality of the sesame is also good. I am expecting higher prices than the existing price.” She added: in May-kadra area some farmers sesame has been affected by heavy wind but the market price may help them. She is very happy that she is profitable this year. She is expecting that the good market price will support those who have been affected by the win.