Black sesame farmers get high prices amidst growing demand from Japan, China

Farmers harvest sesame in Magway.  Photo: Zeyatu (Magway)
Farmers harvest sesame in Magway.  Photo: Zeyatu (Magway)

The growing demand for black sesame, which is grown with Good Agricultural Practice (GAP), from Japan and China has driven the price up in the domestic market, according to Mandalay Commodity Depot.
“Japan buys a large quantity of black sesame this year. China and Japan are competing for offers to buy them. The price dropped during the first outbreak of Covid-19 in December. Now, the price jumps as Japan buys about 30 per cent of sesame produced in Magway Region, while China constitutes 70 per cent of its production”, said an official with Magway Commodity Depot.
At present, the stocks of sesame seeds have become smaller in the market. GAP sesame fetched K215,000 per bag. The price increases by K15,000 compared with last month’s price, he added.
Besides exporters, local millers are also highly purchasing the sesame seeds. The growers are also holding the stocks, lessening the supply to the market.
The sesame seeds are now priced K120,000-215,000 per bag for various sesame seeds depending on the quality.
The number of sesame acreages has increased in the country and this year’s yield rate is higher than the previous years.
China is the main buyer of Myanmar’s sesame, which is also shipped to markets in Japan, South Korea, China (Taipei), UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Greece, and Poland among the EU countries.
The EU markets prefer organic-farming sesame seeds from Myanmar, said an official from the Trade Promotion Department.
Japan prefers Myanmar’s black sesame seeds, cultivated under good agricultural practices (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 in the country throughout the year. Magway Region, which has gained a reputation as the oil pot of Myanmar, is the main producer of sesame seeds. The seeds are also grown in Mandalay and Sagaing regions.
Of the cooking 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 2016-2017 FY; and, 120,000 tons, worth $147 million, in the 2017-2018 FY.—GNLM (Translated by Ei Myat Mon)

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