Export of sesame seeds to China hits record

Pakistan’s export to Beijing increased 68.9% in 2021

February 06, 2022
Pakistan is collaborating in agriculture sector with China. Specialists from Beijing are also guiding local farmers on how to grow sesame. photo: REUTERS


Bilateral trade between China and Pakistan was significantly higher last year and Islamabad’s export of sesamum seeds to China reached a historical figure of $120.44 million in 2021.

China imported 92,516.55 tons in 2021 and it was one of the main destinations for local sesamum seed exports from Pakistan compared to 2020’s volume of only 38,000 kilogrammes, according to official data of the General Administration of Customs of China.

Niger, with 297,255 tons, was the country with the largest volume of sesamum seeds exported to China, followed by Togo and Sudan in terms of volume and value.

Pakistan ranked sixth in terms of volume and held a share of around 3.3% of total exports to China in 2021.

It is worth mentioning that Pakistan’s export to China increased 68.9% in 2021.

Commercial Counsellor of Pakistan in China Badaruz Zaman said that normally there is a trend of cultivating traditional crops like wheat and rice but now Pakistani farmers are also getting knowledge of the high-end and high-priced products like sesamum seed.

The seed is also available in Pakistan, so hopefully it is going to be the top exporter of sesamum seeds to China in the coming years.

“After the signing of phase-II of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), we got access to sesamum seeds in the Chinese market,” Badar mentioned.

“Our exporters are very active. Many new exporters have been added to the General Administration of Customs of China list, which increased the scale, but still we have huge potential and Pakistani farmers also understand the varieties and types of sesame seeds that are popular in China.”

He said that Pakistan was collaborating in the agriculture sector with China. Specialists from China are also guiding the local farmers on how to grow this crop.

Similarly, many suppliers of agricultural machinery are also providing high-end technical machines like sorting machines to the processors of sesamum seeds and the packaging has also improved.

Rakesh Pal Khamuani from Kanwal Trading Company (Pvt) Limited (Pakistan) said that the trade of sesame seeds had become very important for Pakistan recently.

On average, Pakistan produces 100,000 tons of sesame seeds, from which 85% is exported and the rest is used during winters by bakeries and sweetshops in the local areas of the country.

Khamuani said that unfortunately the two bordering countries do not have lofty sesame seed trade. Pakistan should be the first priority for China in terms of sesame seed import because of quick transit time, he added.

He further said that when the new FTA was launched, it brought an opportunity for both countries to add sesame seeds to the list of 313 items and that helped reduce its duty from 10% previously to zero at present.

“Previously, Pakistan mainly exported to countries like Vietnam, South Korea, Japan, European states and the US,” he revealed. “After the waiver of duty in China on Pakistan-origin sesame seeds over the last two years, China became the biggest importer.”

Year 2020-21 recorded the highest exports in numbers from Pakistan, of which 54% went to China.



Published in The Express Tribune, February 6th, 2022.

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