Pakistani sesame exports reach $1.5bln, officials emphasise growth potential

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FAISALABAD, May 23 (APP):Director General (DG) of Agriculture Research Punjab Dr. Sajid-ur-Rehman has announced that Pakistan has garnered $1.5 billion from sesame exports this year.

Speaking at a seminar held at the Ayub Agriculture Research Institute (AARI) on Thursday, Dr. Sajid stressed the importance of promoting sesame cultivation to bolster exports and bolster the country’s foreign exchange reserves.

Highlighting sesame as a lucrative cash crop with significant market value, Dr. Sajid urged agricultural scientists to address challenges faced by farmers while introducing new varieties to enhance per-acre production. Despite sesame being cultivated across 1 million acres of land in Pakistan, farmers often struggle to maximise its potential due to inadequate management practices and value addition.

Dr. Amir Rasool, DG Agriculture Pest Warning Punjab, revealed that Pakistan’s overall exports of sesame, fruits, vegetables, rice, and other agricultural commodities have surpassed $7 billion this year. He noted a remarkable 277 per cent increase in sesame cultivation acreage and a 300 per cent surge in production compared to the previous year.

Encouraging farmers to adopt appropriate pesticide and herbicide usage under expert guidance, Dr. Rasool emphasised that the adoption of modern technology could potentially triple sesame exports to $3 billion within the next few years.

Chief Scientist of Oil-seed Crops at AARI Dr. Ehsan Mohiy-ud-Din underscored the nutritional benefits of sesame seeds, containing essential minerals like calcium, iron, and copper, which contribute to bone health. He highlighted sesame’s widespread utilisation across various industries, including fast food, bakery, and pharmaceuticals, emphasising its significance in manufacturing medicines, soaps, perfumes, and carbon papers.

Muhammad Rafiq, Senior Executive at the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), announced a substantial allocation of Rs. 280 billion in loans for small farmers at a low markup rate of 5 to 7 per cent over 3 to 5 years. Rafiq urged the farming community to leverage this financial support to further develop sesame cultivation.

The seminar also featured addresses by City Police Officer Kamran Adil, renowned agricultural scientist Dr. Salsabeel Rauf, oil-seed expert Hafiz Saad bin Mustafa, and other prominent figures. The event aimed to foster collaboration and knowledge-sharing among stakeholders to maximise the potential of sesame cultivation and enhance Pakistan’s agricultural exports.