The Farm Africa Blog: Sport Relief

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 18th March 2016
With Sport Relief coming this weekend, Farm Africa is shining a spotlight on a project being funded by Comic Relief to transform the lives of smallholder farmers in Tanzania thanks to help from a tiny seed.   farm africa 1Despite their diminutive size, sesame seeds pack a huge punch when it comes to taste and health benefits, while their drought resistant qualities make them a great crop for farmers struggling against the effects of climate change. Featuring widely in cuisines around the world, sesame seeds add a delicious, nutty flavour to both sweet and savoury dishes. In Europe they have traditionally been used to garnish bread, biscuits and pastries, whilst in the Middle East they are a key ingredient in recipes like falafel, hummus and halvah, and in Far East Asia they add a delicate crunch to sushi rolls, stir-fries and salads. The seeds can also be turned into sesame oil, which is resistant to rancidity so it can be kept at room temperature for a long period of time before the flavour turns stale. What’s more, these powerhouse seeds are packed with nutrients including protein, magnesium, zinc, dietary fibre, and healthy fats. Plus, a ¼ cup of sesame seeds has more calcium (350mg) than an 8-ounce cup of milk (300mg), all of which helps to boost the immune system and promotes healthy bones and collagen production, making sesame seeds a healthy addition to any meal. Such great health and taste benefits have led to a growing global demand for sesame products. That means farmers in Africa can earn good prices for their produce, whilst the fact that the seeds require much less water compared to other crops like corn, make it well suited to the dry, hot conditions in northern Tanzania, where Farm Africa is working thanks to money raised through Sport Relief. africaFarmers are receiving training in sorting, cleaning and packaging sesame, as well as measuring oil and moisture content to improve quality and storage. They are also being provided with access to the latest sesame market information, including seed costs, buyer locations and export prices. What’s more, individual farmers are being brought together to form farming co-operatives so they can sell their harvests in bulk, which in turn helps them to secure a better, more reliable price for their sesame. To find out more about how Farm Africa is helping farmers in eastern Africa to grow themselves out of poverty go to www.farmafrica.org or find us on Twitter @FarmAfrica and Facebook. Facts about ‘superfood’ sesame:
  • Per ounce, sesame seeds have 5g of protein and are an excellent source of copper, containing more than a third of the recommended daily amount we need for energy and collagen production.
  • Sesame seeds are very high in essential minerals including manganese which supports bone health, and a handful of seeds contains more calcium than a glass of milk.
  • Sesame seeds are high in zinc, which boosts the immune health and helps produce collagen, giving skin more elasticity and helping repair damaged body tissues.The high zinc content of sesame also boosts bone mineral density.
  • Sesame seeds contain two natural preservatives - sesamin and sesamolin. These unique substances belong to a group of special beneficial fibers called lignans, and have been shown to help reduce cholesterol levels and blood pressure in humans. Sesamin is a powerful antioxidant that scavenges free radicals in the body that cause harm. It has been found to protect the liver from oxidative damage and increases blood and tissue levels of vitamin E, which helps fight inflammation in the body.
  • Sesame oil is produced from pressing the tiny sesame seeds. Sesame seed oil is resistant to rancidity, which means it can be kept at room temperature for a long period of time before turning stale and the flavour going bad.
  • Sesame seed oil attracts oil soluble toxins when applied to the skin and draws them out, which can help keep skin clear without the use of toxic pharmaceuticals.
>>>See Farm Africa's other blog posts here Farm Africa logoFarm Africa is a charity working in eastern Africa. They believe that Africa has the power to feed itself and that its smallholders hold the key to lasting rural prosperity. Farm Africa work directly with farmers to help them unleash their potential to feed Africa’s people, pioneering techniques that boost harvests, reduce poverty and sustain natural resources.
The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 18th March 2016

The Farm Africa Blog: Sport Relief