Thanks to our extensive origin and processing footprint, our breadth and depth means we can provide up-to-date market information, pricing and a stable supply. We drive international food safety standards across both farming and processing operations.
We produce natural sesame for use in oil crushing, sortex and sesame powder as well as hulled sesame for commercial baking and condiments. We source from small- and large-scale sesame farmers in all main producing countries, focusing on traceable tonnage. The seeds pass our stringent quality parameters before they are accepted into our system. We work directly with farmers to improve yields, quality and incomes.
In Nigeria and Turkey, we have state-of-the-art facilities where we process sesame and related products, such as tahini, in line with customer requirements. Our stringent standards mean we are a leading supplier to Japan, the most demanding market as regards food safety standards.
Together with offices in our sesame origins and processing facilities, we also maintain marketing offices in China, Dubai, Singapore, Rotterdam, India, Turkey and the USA, allowing us to deliver comprehensive service to our customers.
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 a huge range of collectors. Our network ensures that we are the most cost-effective and quality buyer, communicating directly with farmers to ensure good quality output. Through the Olam Livelihood Charter 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 in Burkina Faso, India, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. 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 means. 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 set up processing plants in the sesame-growing countries. The product from these plants are ready to be used as ingredients in kitchens and bakeries.
We have also established tailor-made training programmes for our technicians to conduct product testing in-house. We have an in-house Aflatoxin testing facility in Africa, which is a 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.”
An integrated model addressing food safety, livelihoods, and water consumption
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.
Tahini production in Turkey
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.