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The business of sesame: from small-scale farmer to entrepreneur

Photo: Farm Africa / Hilary Duff Photo: Farm Africa / Hilary Duff

A little sesame seed can go a long way

Meet Clara. She's a smart and determined mother and farmer who lives in northern Tanzania. She took part in Farm Africa's sesame project and since then, Clara has taken every new piece of knowledge she has learnt from her training and used it to become a highly successful businesswoman.

“Year to year Farm Africa changed my life. Before, I could not pay school and hospital bills. Because the price of maize was low, we had to sell lots of it, and it still wasn’t enough. Sometimes we would have to sell it all, so we would have nothing to eat ourselves.

"We had no knowledge of good techniques and were just throwing seeds around, causing over-crowding so crops couldn’t grow. Marketing was also a problem. I had no knowledge of how to do it. We would just sell to anyone driving by in trucks, asking to buy our produce.”

The sesame project not only helped farmers learn the best ways to plant and harvest their sesame, it's also helped them learn business skills, so they knew how to process and store their sesame, and sell it for the very best price.

Clara also learnt how to add value to her sesame by turning it into products to sell. She is now running a successful enterprise and her income has more than doubled. 

“I make composite flour and nutritious flour, I also make snacks and a sesame drink that is like coffee.”

Perhaps the most inspiring part of Clara’s story is that she hasn’t stopped there – Clara is determined to ensure not only her own success, but the success of those in her village. As part of the current phase of the sesame project, she has learnt how to share her knowledge and be a mentor to others.

“I got this success because I was fortunate to work with Farm Africa, so I am responsible to share what I can. I have formed a new sesame group by mobilising those who are interested – there are now 25 members! The group is called Mwangaza (which means light) because before this training we didn’t know, but now we see the light! I feel good training others because I have seen others suffering to provide for their families. I know if I help them, they will not have to suffer any more."


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