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Market analysis of sesame seed

This paper investigates the current and future trends of the international sesame market and explores the market opportunities for Australian sesame producers. It provides a baseline assessment of the global industry based on currently available information and identifies areas for further research to address gaps in market information.Sesame is an oilseed crop which mainly grows in tropical and subtropical regions. The uses of sesame are diverse, from direct consumption as food to an ingredient in cosmetic and pharmaceutical products. The growing world’s population, changing consumption patterns and health awareness of consumers has led to recent growth in the sesame market. In 2017 the world production of sesame was approximately 5.5 million tonnes, and the major share of sesame was produced in Africa and Asia. In 2018 the global market value of sesame was estimated at US $6.5 billion. It is expected that by 2025 the global sesame seed market will reach US $17.77 billion. Global sesame production is forecast to reach 9.26 million tonnes by 2040, up from 5.53 million tonnes in 2017. The demand for sesame in China alone is expected to reach 2.56 million tonnes in 2040, up from 1.3 million tonnes in 2016. Australia has been importing sesame since 1966, with demand gradually increasing over time – in 2016, Australia imported about 6740 tonnes of sesame, and in the same period exported a very smallamount of sesame, with main export destination New Zealand. Current trends indicate ongoing growth of the domestic market which is forecast to reach 9800 tonnes by 2025. This strong and ongoing growth in demand, both domestically and internationally, represents an opportunity for Australian growers to enter into commercial production. Currently, only 525 hectares of land is being used to produce both white and black sesame in Australia, relative to global production on 9.9 million hectares. In international markets the average price of sesame seed was US $1229/tonne in 2018, with black sesame returns approximately 45% higher than those for white sesame. The price difference is due to the higher production costs of black sesame, along with additional demand created by its perceived health benefits. White sesame is used solely as a food condiment; black sesame is in demand as a food oil, cosmetic and a pharmaceutical ingredient. The opportunity for an Australian industry to expand production will be determined by a combination of several factors such as growing market demand, climatic conditions, geographic proximity to Asian markets, and availability of suitable land. Australia has free trade agreements in place with the major markets of China, Japan and Korea, giving Australia a potential competitive advantage over African exporters. However, high labour costs are a competitive disadvantage and a barrier to the growth of sesame cultivation in Australia. Technological innovation, adoption of high-quality sesame varieties, and the economies of scale of Australian production systems will be key to overcoming labour cost competitiveness. Together, these four factors – growing global demand, proximity to international markets, high crop prices, and access to suitable land and tolerance of Australian environmental stressors – place Australian agriculture in a strong position to establish a viable long-term sesame industry generating revenue through import replacement and export sales. Further research on value-adding, streamlining production and engagement with high-value markets is suggested to confirm the findings of current research.


Category 4 - CRC Research Income


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Central Queensland University

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Peer Reviewed

  • Yes

Open Access

  • Yes

Author Research Institute

  • Institute for Future Farming Systems

Era Eligible

  • Yes

Parent Title

A.2.1819045 Spicing up Northern Australia with high-value condiment crops