The ASEAN pact negotiations, the new common market, will be a threat to the Ethiopian sesame export.
Currently, negotiations are taking place between Middle East and Asian countries to form a new common market in order to export tax free. The negotiations are expected to conclude this fiscal year and would affect Ethiopia's sesame exports to China, the major buyer of the seed
India, the largest sesame seed producer and exporter, is one of the members of the new common market group.
Ethiopia is one of the top four sesame seed producing countries. The commodity is the country's second largest export following coffee. It has been sold under the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange since last May.
Ethiopia has an attractive portfolio of high value, specialty sesame seeds for the export market, according to different studies. The new Asian countries' pact is expected to increase the price of seeds exported to China and other Asian countries, according to sector traders.
"The government will support the sector aggressively through its embassies to expand new markets, before a crisis comes," said Mussie Yackob(PhD), president of the Ethiopian Pulses, Oilseeds and Spices Processors Exporters Association (EPOSPEA).
EPOSPEA celebrated exporters' day in the presence of government officials and members of the association at the Hilton Hotel last Monday. About 90% of oilseeds, pulses and spices are exported by the members of this association which has around 80 active members.
Ethiopia exported about 4.4 million quintals of oilseeds, pulses and spices in the last budget year, which is 493% higher than five years ago.
During the same year, the country earned 446 million dollar from the export sector, which was a record for the country. According to the sector experts, this growth is 20% higher than exports from the previous year. The experts admit that the international financial crisis has influenced most of the country's exports.