Upgrading the Sudanese Sesame seeds value chain

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Upgrading the Sudanese Sesame seeds value chain

The main objective of this project is to increase the revenue of stakeholders of the sesame seeds value chain in Sudan, with a focus on small-scale farmers from the states of North Kordofan and Al Qatarif. This will be achieved by enhancing the competitiveness of their value chain to gain and maintain international markets. The project will contribute to the export diversification by increasing revenue from non-oil industry while improving the quality and safety of sesame seeds. Enhancing Sudan's capacity to comply with food safety and quality requirements will facilitate access to high-end markets such as Japan, Korea and the EU.

UNIDO facilitates business linkages for Sudan with international market 20 January 2022

The agricultural sector is essential to the diversification of the Sudanese economy, as it remains the main source of income for its population, employing up to 80% of Sudanese households and making up a third of the economic sector. Sesame seeds are one of the most important agricultural export products of Sudan, valued at US$ 233 million or 8% of its total exports.

However, the export destinations are limited to countries in the region (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan) and China. Sudan has difficulties in accessing high-end markets such as Japan, Korea and EU. This extensive market opportunity loss is caused by the lack of compliance to SPS measures, in particular relating to pests, microbiological contamination, mycotoxins-producing fungi and non-compliant pesticide residues in the final product. More specifically, aflatoxins, salmonella, and a restricted agricultural chemical use such as carbaryl are the major reasons why the product is rejected at the border of importing countries, consequently decreasing export opportunities.

The project is designed to reduce SPS deficiencies by enhancing stakeholder capacity while also strengthening testing services and upgrading laboratory capabilities. This will increase Sudan’s ability to supply safe and high-quality sesame seeds to various export markets.
Expected Results 
Improved capacity of farmers to comply with SPS measures and implement Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)

At least 200 farmers will be targeted to improve their awareness and understanding on the importance of implementing GAP to both comply with SPS measures and to increase yields and revenue. The project will organize farmer cooperatives and will subsequently develop and conduct trainer of trainers' programmes to build the technical and outreach capacities of sector associations to provide advice to farmers. The trainings will build knowledge and skills on GAP, pest and diseases control, usage of quality production inputs (seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides), and harvest and post-harvest practices. 

Improved quality and hygiene conditions in the supply chain

An assessment of the quality and safety-related issues impacting the sector will be performed at different levels of the value chain (farm, storage, distribution, export). Legislation will also be reviewed to identify gaps with an aim towards reforming the institutional framework around SPS measures.

Traceability is pre-requisite for ensuring the integrity of the supply chain. Therefore, the project will design a paper-based transaction record form and coding system. The staff of the competent authorities responsible for implementation of the export approval system will be trained to use this system. The project will also design an export certification scheme, which will integrate requirements at each level of the export supply chain (farmer, trader, auction, and exporter).

The capacity for testing and analysis related to the export of sesame will be assessed, gaps will be identified and a strategy and action plans will be formulated. This will be done by upgrading laboratory capabilities and equipment to provide chemical testing for food safety requirements in order to comply with international markets.

Development of new business linkages to the international market

This project will improve public-private cooperation, networking and market linkages along the sesame-seed value chain, especially with trading partners of high value markets. Lastly, the project aims to organize a buyer’s mission for importers of high-end markets to visit Sudan. The project also intends to hold a business networking event.
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Project Value (US$) 
STDF Contribution (US$)  
Implementing Entities 
United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MOAF), Sudan
Ministry of Industry (MI), Sudan