Sesame seeds are tiny edible seeds that are grown from the sesame flowering plant. Very oil-rich in nature, the seeds of the plant are predominantly grown in tropical regions such as Tanzania, Ethiopia, Sudan, Nigeria, Mozambique, Uganda, and few other countries in Africa; India; Myanmar and more.

Which countries produce the most sesame seeds?

Countries in Africa, over the years, have become the premier origin for sesame seeds, with the continent contributing to a major chunk of the global trade. Let us look at some of the major origins for this oil-rich seed through data from 2018-19:


Global Trade in Metric Tons









West Africa/Burkina








The above data is sourced from Olam.

To keep yourself abreast on the latest trends in the global edible nuts market please click here.

Bulk Sesame Seeds from Olam

Olam sells bulk sesame seeds and wholesale sesame seeds. Please click here for more information.

Olam has a substantial presence in Africa, having set up shop in Nigeria in 1989. It was the launchpad for our global business endeavors and today employs more than 3,000 employees.

In 2014, we commissioned an FSSC22000 certified processing facility in Sagamu, Nigeria which provides hulled sesame seeds as well as cleaned and sortexed natural sesame seeds. This facility is the largest hulling facility in Africa, handling sesame volume to the tune of 100,000 metric tons each year.

We also have a facility in Samsun, Turkey, which is a BRC certified facility. This facility has the following salient features:

  • Olam hulls and roasts sesame seeds at this facility
  • Olam uses this plant for Tahini production
  • We produce high-end Bakery Grade Sesame seeds at this facility. They are hulled using a state-of-the-art aqua hulling procedure, which doesn’t require the use of caustic soda.

For more details about our Turkey facility click here to read. 

More about Sesame Seeds

Sesame seeds are one of the oldest oilseed crops known to humankind, with evidence suggesting they were domesticated over 3,000 years ago.

The oil-rich seeds thrive in tropical regions and it comes as no surprise that they are tolerant of drought-like conditions.

A salient feature of natural sesame seeds is that they can be stored for several years while retaining their characteristics.

So how are sesame seeds processed?

This tiny seed comes to life when the capsule that protects them bursts upon maturing. The moment of the capsule bursting is called “dehiscence” and has no fixed period.

To factor for that variance in dehiscence, farmers hand-cut the sesame plants and stack them upright until all of the capsules mature and burst open.

Due to the tiny size of these seeds, it is difficult to dry them after harvest. Therefore, the seeds are stored at no more than 6 percent moisture or they risk the chance of heating up and becoming rancid.

Sesame is an annual crop meaning it is grown in the northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere. The north crops are harvested around October while the southern crops are harvested between June and July

Post harvesting, Sesame seeds are cleaned and hulled at our facilities in Turkey and Nigeria, and then sent to our warehouses, where they are stored in optimum temperature and conditions.

For more information on our warehouses across the US please click here.

What are Sesame seeds’ main uses?

These seeds are popularly used in bakery applications, with sesame seed buns being an American favorite. These buns are widely found in the US, be it at your favorite burger chain or your local bakery.

The seeds on the bun add a bit of flavor and texture, and also improve aesthetics as they are a pleasant visual contrast on a plain-looking bun.

Another popular use of sesame seeds in North America is Tahini. A condiment that is made from toasting ground hulled sesame, Tahini is a major ingredient in the making of hummus.  

Sesame oil is very popular in Asia and is especially an important component in Japanese cuisine. China too imports oil-grade sesame and these two nations are the top two importers of Sesame.

If you’d like to purchase bulk sesame or wholesale sesame, please click here.  

Health Benefits of Sesame

These seeds might be tiny but do have some health benefits if they are consumed along with a healthy lifestyle. Of course, you would have to consume a sizeable portion of the seeds to reap the benefits.

Let us look at five health benefits of sesame:

  • Plant protein source: Protein is an important building block for the human body and its muscles and sesame seeds provide 5 grams of protein in every 30-gram serving (USDA).
  • Blood pressure management: Since sesame contains a healthy amount of magnesium, its consumption may possibly help in the effective management of your blood pressure (NCBI).
  • Bone health: Sesame seeds contain nutrients such as Manganese, Zinc, Magnesium, and Calcium that are crucial for bone health.
  • Antioxidants: Consumption of sesame seeds may possibly improve overall antioxidant activity in the blood. The presence of plant compounds and Vitamin E in sesame seeds may combat the human body’s oxidative stress (Health Line).
  • Immune system: Health Line reports that: “Sesame seeds are a good source of several nutrients that are important for immune system function, including zinc, selenium, copper, iron, vitamin B6, and vitamin E.”