LWR and USDA Launch 5-Year, $24 Million Sesame Initiative in Burkina Faso

Lutheran World Relief, with funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture/Foreign Agricultural Service’s Food for Progress program, is launching a five-year effort to reduce poverty by increasing the incomes of poor rural farm families in Burkina Faso through enhancing the production, marketing and export of sesame.

The Sesame Marketing and Exports (SESAME) project will assist more than 500,000 people directly and indirectly by working with farmers, agricultural cooperatives, buyers and others to improve the quality of sesame to meet the high standards of the lucrative export market and to enhance marketing efforts.

“This is an exciting opportunity to have a real impact in improving the lives of half a million people in Burkina Faso by partnering with the United States Department of Agriculture,” said Ambassador Daniel V. Speckhard, LWR’s president & CEO. “With its market-oriented approach and engagement with the entire sesame value chain, it is a great fit with LWR’s strategic approach to sustainable, agricultural development and poverty alleviation.”

Despite a 1,500 percent increase in sesame production over the last decade, those involved in producing and marketing sesame in this West African nation are not benefitting from the lucrative international market. Poor farmers cultivating small plots of land face several challenges that limit the volume of high quality sesame, resulting in low incomes. Farmer cooperatives have limited ability to help sesame farmers address those challenges. Government departments, sesame processors and traders are not coordinated around ensuring that they are working together to meet the standards that international buyers are seeking.

The SESAME project aims to address these challenges by improving agricultural practices and strengthening farmer cooperatives. It will also stimulate the local processing and marketing of sesame for export to take advantage of increased production of the commodity.

Read more about the SESAME project.