Feb 16 , 2019

Krotaj Tahini Manufacturers Plc, a 4.5-million-dollar joint venture, has launched its tahini processing plant on the outskirts of the capital.

Krotaj Tahini Manufacturers Plc, a 4.5-million-dollar joint venture, has launched its tahini processing plant on the outskirts of the capital.

Formed between K. Mikedem of Ethiopia; RENEW Investment Strategies LLC of the United States; and the four-year-old Israeli firm, J & O, the new plant is located at Haile Garment in Nifas Silk, Laphto District.

Krotaj will produce tahini, a value-added product from Humera sesame seeds. The product is popular in international food markets and is used as snack or garnish in various middle eastern countries.

Production of tahini entails sifting and cleaning sesame seeds, hulling, misting, steam roasting, grinding and packaging, according to Daniel Adugna, chief operations officer at the factory.

Ethiopia is the fourth largest producer of sesame seeds, producing 350,000tn a year, and is the third largest sesame seed exporting country in the world, supplying 14pc of the global market.

Export earnings from sesame grew by 2.4pc from 2010 to 2014, according to the Agricultural Transformation Agency and USAID investment support program.

The company can produce 3,700tn of tahini annually, and exports to Israel alone will generate 10 million dollars, according to Mulugeta Kidanemariam (PhD), CEO of the company.

Krotaj has 12 permanent and more than 60 temporary employees, a number that may fluctuate depending on orders for the product.

Currently, the export is packaged in 18kg buckets. The value-added product generates up to 600 dollars a ton more than exporting sesame seeds the conventional way, according to Mulugeta.

Krotaj is the fourth company to export sesame seeds and the second company to produce tahini along with Ambasel Trading. Selit Hulling Plc and Olira Agro-Industry Plc export hulled sesame seeds as semi-processed sesame seeds, according to Habtamu Taye, director of oilseeds processing at the Food, Beverages & Pharmaceutical Products Industry Development Institute.

Oilseeds are the second largest export crop next to coffee in Ethiopia.

Among the different oil crops, sesame is the second most important agricultural commodity in terms of foreign exchange earnings, accounting for more than 449 million dollars.

Sesame seeds grow in  the Tigray, Amhara, Gambella, Benshangul Gumuz, Somalia, SNNP and Oromia regions in Ethiopia.

Mohammed Aman, assistant professor of agri-economics and agri-business at Haromaya University, is positive on the export of sesame products, as they are generating hard currency for the country.

"The value addition concept is more than that of export and generating hard currency," Mohammed said.

It should be clearly stipulated who the value chain actors are, how they have interlinked with each other, what activity each actor has in the process and  how do the actors share the benefit, he recommended.

PUBLISHED ON Feb 16,2019 [ VOL 19 , NO 981]

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