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Saturday, December 1, 2012

SeletHulling, leading the Sesame way in ACP countries

Mike, CTA Director

For the ordinary visitor to the compound housing the SeletHulling Plc little will you know what is within; a company that has reserved itself to anything Sesame.
General Manager, SeletHulling Plc, located at the Legetafo axis of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Mr. Ben Van Ampting told over 20 participants of the just concluded Making the Connection: Value Chains for transforming smallholder agriculture, who were at the company on facility tour that ‘Selet’ in Amharic language, as meaning Sesame.
Established in year 2007, he said, Selet Hulling Plc is a joint venture between Kaleb Service Farmers House, and The Organic Cooperation (TOC) B.V.
While Kaleb is an Ethiopian company that specializes in the export of different agricultural food products, including oil seeds, coffee and different types of Ethiopian spices and the import of different agricultural machineries into Ethiopia, the TOC is a Dutch-based holding company for Tradin Organic Agriculture B.V.; Trabocca B.V.; Holland Business Winged-Ox and Internamtrade B.V. TOC’s companies are specialized in the international sourcing and supply of certified organic ingredients for the world food and bakery industry.
TOC, he noted, develops sustainable agricultural projects around the world and sources over 80 per cent of its raw materials out of own companies and projects, citing an instance with Ethiopia, Serbia, China, Thailand, Mexico, Ghana, Bulgaria, Philippines, Vietnam. TOC is owned by the Canadian SunOpta Inc. group.
In a presentation that began with a video of the corporate profile that lasted for about 10 minutes, followed by a powerpoint, Mr. van Ampting, said the Sesame industry currently provides huge income for the government of Ethiopia, as the company pays taxes adequately, which has earned them the Golden award by the Customs Authority.
Defined as a tall annual herbaceous plant, Sesamum indicum is of the family Pedaliaceae of tropical and subtropical areas. Sesame is a flowering plant in the genus Sesamum. Numerous wild relatives occur in Africa and a smaller number in India.
As part of the value chain experiment, Mr. van Ampting said they provide farmers financial advances to enable them focus on cultivating Sesame through two cooperative groups, even though they are not obligatory to sell to his company.
SeletHunling’s main course, he said, consists of setting up a top-of-the–range quality HACCP operated, organic certified hulling factory, using the dry cum mechanical hulling method, with the capacity to produce 1,500 – 1,700 kg per hour of organic hulled sesame seeds.
He explained that initiating the internationally certified organic production of sesame, cotton, soya beans and mung beans on Selet’s own farm, with an out growers’ scheme composed of about 3000 farming families within the vicinity of the farm in the very remote area of Humera district in the Tigray Region, that is, in the North West of Ethiopia, on the border with Sudan and Eritrea.
Emphasising that Selet Hulling mission is to be the world food and bakery industry’s premier supplier of top quality, competitively priced, certified organic hulled sesame seeds for a healthier living.
Main strategy, he said is to directly source from the farmers so as to increase product quality control and the ability of the company to organize its own processing and sales with already established sales and marketing force.
The out grower farmers in Humera, he said are involved in the growing of the raw material for hulling and train-the-trainer approach is being deployed as well as the factory workers, where the sesame will undergo processing, equally benefit from this strategy.
The impact of this establishment, he said has been a positive impact on the livelihoods of many Ethiopians and on the economy as a whole in some aspects not limited to higher incomes for the families of the targeted 1500 farmers.
Also, he said, creation of employment to about 50 permanently and predominantly female employees who work in the factory and at least 3,000 seasonal workers at the farming level in Humera, as sesame growing is labour intensive,
According to him, the introduction of the new technology for dry hulling in Ethiopia has made Selet the pioneer of dry hulling organic sesame in the country, thereby ensuring local value-addition, which is very beneficial for the economy as a whole,
Worthy of mention, he said, is that the project is very environmentally friendly and has no negative health effects on project participants thanks to the nature of the products that are organic, for which the production processes are centered on promoting the environment and ensure no exposure to hazardous materials.
As part of the company’s corporate social responsibility, he said they gave capacity building through training at both the factory and farming levels, even as the project supports local health and educational initiatives, which culminated in building of a secondary school at Humera.
After the tour, question and answer session to explain so grey areas to the participants, both in Engligh and French, with the assistance of Mr. Patrice Annequin from IFDC Ghana, a project cordinator of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture in Nigeria, Mr I.M. Arabi was appointed to give the vote of thanks to the management and staff of SeletHunling for their kindness in accepting to host some of their participants on facility tour, as well as the CTA for the opportunity.
The official tour guard is Mr. Siasy Gizachew from SNV Ethiopia, while every participating visitors each got an organic certified packaged hulled sesame seeds and a value chain diagram as souvenir.

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