Since the inception of Unicorn Ingredients, the company has looked to work with and develop opportunities and avenues for sustainable business ventures in Africa.
Africa is one of the largest sesame seed producers in the world, supplying approximately seventy per cent of the world’s natural sesame seeds. This coupled with the increase in seed demand due to various factors, including globalisation, means Africa is becoming a very important region for Unicorn Ingredients.
The potential for Africa as a supplier of seeds is huge. It is an untapped market but the region needs investment in the factories, the infrastructure and in the supply chain to make it as reliable as suppliers in Europe.
Unicorn is currently looking to purchase seeds in larger quantities from the region. Due to quality issues sesame is the only significant seed Africa exports in bulk quantities. On occasions, smaller quantities of sunflower have come from South Africa but due to its quality it is only used for crushing. Uganda is starting to grow Chia, but the country’s poor infrastructure means it is not easy to transport out of the country.
The sesame seeds Unicorn sells are the hulled sesame which in itself is a niche market, and Africa as a continent struggles to provide hulled sesame due to the regions issues with food and water safety and hygiene in the factories.
Unicorn is looking to develop within the Africa and is currently in discussions with suppliers in Sudan and Ethiopia, as well as examining possibilities in Mozambique to develop the company’s reach and open up new opportunities wherever possible.
When looking for a new supplier Unicorn looks for growers with a good technical reputation, strong trade ethics, reliable service, financial stability, quality certificates, and commercial performance. Sustainable factories and the right business culture are of course critical too so the company can ensure its supply chain is operating in the most efficient and ethical manner.