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South Africa importer buying tonnes of sesame (simsim) seeds from Kenyan growers

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Farmers producing sesame seeds, locally known as simsim now have a chance to sell the oil-rich seeds to a South African firm,  Protech Consulting Limited which is seeking to buy and import 40 tonnes per month from Kenya to meet growing demand in the country.

According to Bryan Kwena, the company’s Business Development Manager (East Africa), Protech Consulting has been importing 20 tonnes per month from Kenya given there are not many farmers who are growing the crop.

“Currently, we are looking for between 40 and 80 tonnes of sesame per month from local producers who now have the opportunity to increase their income from the oldest commercial oil seeds,” said Kwena.

Currently, sesame seeds are a ‘hot cake’ among other oil seeds due to their oil content of 48-55 per cent which is the highest of any oil. Its protein content ranges from 44 to 48 per cent according to Infonet-Biovision, an organization which provides agricultural database.

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How to work with Protech

First, farmers needed have to be ready to grow the crop for constant produce supply.

They are then supposed to have land and all the other resources needed for production followed by a contract signing between the company and the farmers.

Reference information details such as farmer’s contact, identification, and bank details will also be required to fast-track communication and payments.

“We would like to know the growers with their respective locations of production for ease of tracing them and collection of the seeds,” said Kwena.

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Conditions required for growing sesame

Good harvests of sesame can be expected during rainfall of 300-600mm given the plant is highly susceptible to water-logging, and can therefore only thrive during a moderate rainfall. It is also highly resistant to drought and can provide good harvests when soil moisture is adequate.

The crop which takes only 120-140 days to mature also do well in well-drained sandy soil with a pH value between 5.4 and 6.75.

Sesame requires a temperature of between 26-30degC to blossom making it well adapted to East Africa’s warm climate.

In Kenya for instance Sesame can be grown in Kwale, Kilifi, and Lamu districts along the coast, Busia, Bungoma, and Kakamega in the Western region and Meru, and Mandera in the Eastern and North Eastern regions respectively.


This depends on the variety of sesame a farmer grows. KS-S6 variety of sesame gives an average yield of 2.5-3.0 tons per acre and has a high poding ability making it tolerant to rust and shoot fly.

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Possible returns

In Kenya, the cost of sesame seeds is expensive because only a few farmers grow the crop on a small scale mostly for family consumption.

For instance, Ardhi Industries in Karen, Nairobi which presses 150 kilograms of sesame seeds a day buys one kilogram of sesame at Sh750 – 850.

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Other crops in demand

Besides sesame, Protech Consulting is also looking for linseeds, sunflower kernel, pumpkin kernel, blue poppy seed, and quinoa seeds among others.

Kwena can be reached +254702148381/+254777148381

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