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Processors pivot to more economical high-oil-content sunflower varieties

Sunflower processors are shifting to new high-oil content sunflower varieties that are more economical to process.

Previously, Kenyan farmers almost exclusively grew Kenya Fedha sunflowers. Readily available in agro-shops, this variety contains 38 per cent oil content. In comparison, Hysun 33, H8998, and Rekord sunflowers have 42-48 per cent oil content.

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“We prefer to source from farmers growing the newer varieties in the market not only because they have higher oil content– which makes it cheaper for a manufacturer to produce the same amount of oil with fewer resources– their coating is also softer. This means it is less labour/ mechanically intensive and therefore cheaper to dehull,” explained Rafikipay Ltd’s founder Joshua Gitonga.

The Meru-based company has a 60-ton daily dehulling capacity and is among Kenya’s leading sunflower processors. 

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These sunflower varieties also produce more sunflower oil cake– a by-product of sunflower seed oil extraction rich in protein and fat crucial in feed making.

Hysun 33, H8998, and Rekord are distributed through Advanta Seeds in Kenya.

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