Sesame production is on the rise, worldwide. Despite the market being dominated by China, India, and Africa, Latin America has become a major player in the sesame industry due to its lucrative and available seasonal production window. Paraguay exports approximately 25,000 MT of sesame per year and is the largest sesame exporter in South America; it is also slowly growing to become one of the highest-rated organic sesame exporters.

The triple bottom line approach to sesame

Bioexport S.A. (Bioexport) is the country’s third largest exporter with a market share of 19%. The company follows the triple bottom-line approach to doing business. Through financing from Triodos Sustainable Trade Fund, Bioexport will be able to purchase black and white sesame at the very beginning of the harvest, paying a fair price to the farmers and further promoting organic practices. 

Bioexport was founded in 2009 by four Paraguayan entrepreneurs with experience in the agricultural sector. The company aims to develop better agricultural practices, while raising the income level in the family farming sector. Bioexport’s main export product is black and white sesame, but the company aims to also develop its production of chia, beans, rice, and other more processed (organic) products like oils, cereal bars, and cookies. Bioexport’s main objective is to educate and encourage producers to certify their farms, as it prefers to process and export from organic smallholder farmers. Approximately 1,000 farmers are currently organic certified and Bioexport aims to add more. The company’s fair trade certification is in progress.

Ensuring sustainable success

In order to ensure the success of its mission, Bioexpert provides tools and education to its producers, such as: organic fertilizers and pest repellents, training on good agricultural practices, community support through contribution to larger projects (irrigation systems, drinkable water supply, etc.), in addition to the organic premium paid to certified farms.

Eliane Augareils, Triodos Investment Officer, is thrilled to add Bioexport to the portfolio: “Bioexpert sources organic sesame directly from organic producers, and also from several cooperatives and associations; its dedication to nurturing its smallholder farmers through education and proper tools and resources while maintaining a significant level of growth in the market, makes it an exemplary addition to the Triodos Sustainable Trade Fund portfolio.”