Organic sesame and avocado oil in Ethiopia

Project description

Title: Building an Avocado and Sesame Value Chain in Ethiopia (
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Ethiopia
Partner: Tradin Organic Agriculture B.V.
Overall term: 2018 to 2022


Ethiopia has traditionally been a country of agriculture and livestock breeding, with around 85 per cent of the population working in this sector. The Ethiopian Government is pushing cultivation in rural areas to feed the growing population and bring foreign currency into the country through exports.

The southwest region of Ethiopia is one of the five biggest producers of avocado in sub-Saharan Africa. Avocados are cultivated mainly as an integral component of coffee farmland and agroforestry systems. However, the avocado sector in Ethiopia is still in its infancy and most avocados are exported in an unprocessed form or sold on the local market, which generates little added value locally. Intervention is needed to increase avocado selling prices, generate income for farmers, and bring foreign currency into the country.

Ethiopia is the second largest exporter of sesame in the world behind India. Despite excellent cultivation conditions, insufficient knowledge regarding cultivation, harvesting and processing leads to harvest losses. And 95 per cent of sesame is exported in unprocessed form. As a result, the country fails to exploit its potentials for huge added value. What is more, Ethiopian producers often do not have access to premium markets as their crops fail to meet high international standards and food quality requirements. Rectifying this would allow them to generate the higher incomes that have eluded them so far.


Local value addition of the organic sesame and avocado sector in Ethiopia is increased.


Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is working together with the Netherlands-based international food company Tradin Organic Agriculture B.V. (Tradin) in a development partnership as part of the programme. Working with a local joint venture, the goal is to build a sustainable supply chain to produce organic avocado and sesame oil, from cultivation and processing, right through to export. Practical measures include establishing a local infrastructure for avocado and sesame oil production. Local people are to be trained in the skills required along the entire value chain, creating 300 new jobs in the process. 

The partners are implementing a ‘Farmer Business School’ approach to provide small scale farmers from cooperatives with training in sustainable harvesting and cultivation methods. By training trainers who can pass on their newly gained knowledge, the project hopes to reach up to 50,000 small scale farmers. In addition to training, practical assistance will be given in the form of avocado harvesting, treeclimbing and safety equipment. 

In line with its sustainable approach, the project is evaluating waste streams as an additional source of income. This includes a composting system as well as finding ways to reuse and market the pressed pulp, cores and skin from avocados.

Premium prices and stable market access, valuing the farmers' contribution to a biodiverse agroforestry system, are to be achieved by assisting them with organic and social certification and by securing fair purchase agreements. 

Since Ethiopia wishes to place production and value creation from avocados on a sound footing, the partners work with local institutes on research into and the introduction of improved varieties of avocado as well as on suitable production and harvesting techniques and are setting up avocado tree nurseries. 


The project has provided the following:

Trainings on all aspects of organic production and good agricultural practices. This has led to an improvement in farm management among smallholders. The introduction of Farmer Business Schools (FBS) to more than 8,200 farmers in the avocado value chain has boosted the avocado yield by more than 20 per cent and avocado sales per household by another 20 per cent.

240 beekeepers along with the target farmers and more than 100 farmers are trained in vermicompost technology to promote Good Agricultural Practices.

  • Safe harvesting/climbing methods have been taught and equipment from Germany distributed to enhance safety and improve harvest yields. This is the first time Ethiopia has this kind of safety training. 
  • In total, the project has created more than 295 Jobs including factory workers, extension workers, laboratory workers, collectors and climbers. 

Last update: February 2021