Egusi seed is widely grown in West Africa with Nigeria accounting for about 65% of total production. The areas of high melon seed production in the country include Enugu, Benue, Nasarawa, Taraba and Kogi state.
Melon seed (Colocynthis Citrullus lanatus) is rich in fat and protein and comes from the family of cucurbitaceous (gourd) together with watermelon, muskmelon, and others, it is small and flat, and has greyish white, green and yellow colour.
The fruit is mostly large with a hard skin which may or may not be edible and contains seeds, the seeds whether large like that of watermelon or not possess similar characteristics and uses.
Melon seeds grow in gourds and yields more in warm temperatures (sunny regions and well-drained soils).
It can be planted in a nursery and later transferred or directly planted, when mature, the gourds which contain the seed are harvested and left to ferment, after which the fermented flesh is washed off the seeds which seeds are then dried to make it easier for the light brown husks to be removed by hand or mechanically (using machines).
Uses of melon seed
The seed is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, fats, vitamins, and other nutrients, though it has no particular scent, it is nutty and has a sweet taste.