Although sesame is usually grown in Asian and Latin American countries, Africa accounts for about a third of the global sesame production and contributes about 70% to the global trade, a share that continues to grow.
We are based in all of the big sesame-producing areas where we buy seeds from small-scale and large-scale farmers, cooperatives and collectors. Our network ensures we are the most cost-effective and quality buyer, communicating directly with farmers to ensure good quality output.
Through our experience in sustainabiity programme management, and by establishing strategic partnership between stakeholders such as government agencies, NGOs, and the wider farming community, we help facilitate the flow of information, knowledge and technology to improve yields, quality and incomes.
We have procurement offices across Africa and in India. In addition, we also have representatives and agents in other origins including Ethiopia.
In most of the locations where we operate, sesame seeds are harvested manually and separated from their husks using traditional methods. Seeds produced this way can contain impurities, so we have set up primary cleaning centres.
This investment allows us to assure our buyers that they are guaranteed clean sesame for use in their applications. For applications that require a hulled or edible grade sesame, we have processing plants in the sesame-growing countries. The product from these factilities are ready to be used as ingredients in kitchens and bakeries.
We have also established product testing programmes in-house. We have an Aflatoxin testing facility in Africa, which is rare in the industry and offers further assurance to our customers through our rigorous safety and quality protocols.
“Between our sourcing and processing capabilities, along with a deep knowledge of our customer requirements, we are able to offer the most suitable sesame seeds for each customer’s specific use.”
In Nigeria we work with 2,200 sesame farmers under the Olam Livelihood Charter. Yields have increased by 100% in the last 5 years. Their crop is processed into hulled sesame as well as cleaned, sortexed natural sesame at our custom-designed processing plant at Sagamu which meets FSSC 22000 and OHSAS 18001-2007 certification. Advanced technology has decreased our water consumption by up to 95%. Dry hulling increases food safety as contaminated water is the source of most potential pathogens.
In 2017, we acquired Ahenk, a leading producer of tahini paste used in Asian, Middle Eastern and European cuisines. Ahenk has more than 50 years’ experience and operates out of Samsun in Turkey, a major port within the Black Sea region supporting easy movement to global consumer markets. We have invested heavily in highly advanced technology to upgrade this plant to produce ‘ultra-white’ sesame without the need for caustic soda. This means we can deliver high purity tahini production close to European consumption regions. The plant also provides aqua processing and mechanical processing.