TORONTO — SunOpta Inc. has opened the first natural and organic sesame hulling plant in Ethiopia. The operation, known as Selet Hulling P.L.C., is 35% owned by Tradin Organic Agriculture B.V., a division within the SunOpta International and Sourcing Group, and 65% owned by Kaleb Service Farmers House, an Ethiopian company.

According to SunOpta, the plant has the capacity to process 10,000 tonnes of sesame per year and the potential to generate revenues in excess of $20 million. The facility’s natural and organic sesame products will be sold exclusively by Tradin Organics to export markets and used in the food ingredient and bakery industries.

A full quality assurance program has been implemented at the Selet facility, and an extensive training and monitoring program has been put in place to ensure the company’s products comply with quality standards and provide full traceability from the farm through production and delivery.

SunOpta said Selet will purchase sesame seeds from grower-owned cooperatives representing more than 1,500 farmers in Humera, a region just to the north of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.