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Community Trade Sesame Oil


Sesame is known as one of the world’s oldest cultivated seed crops, treasured by the women of ancient Babylon as a beauty secret. Our sesame seeds are sown and harvested by hand, then carefully pressed and filtered to make the oil we use in our products.

The Cooperativa Multisectorial Juan Francisco Paz Silva (JFPS) was set up by Nicaraguan farmers in 1990 to combat a dwindling local sesame market and has now grown to a 275-strong cooperative recognized by UNDP and Oxfam as a pioneering business model.

JFPS is located in Achuapa, in the hilly area of northern Nicaragua. Many JFPS members live in rural settlements that can only be reached by horseback or on foot, so JFPS is working with the local community to repair and build new roads.

Through trade with The Body Shop, JFPS has been able to establish and strengthen its global sesame seed export business. Many of the cooperative’s sesame seeds find themselves on top of buns in the US and Japan!

Thanks to JFPS, 70 women have access to the Anita-Maria Zunilda fund, financed by The Body Shop trade, which recognizes the unpaid work of women in the home and the vital role they play to sesame production. The fund enables them to set up small businesses to increase their income, as well as their self-esteem.

Many local children have to travel long distances to school, and the cost of transport is often high. The cooperative has set up a boarding house in the main town to save these children the long, expensive journey to school, and to enable them to attend evening classes.