The potential for Ethiopian sesame on the world market is still significant because of the high-quality seed varieties produced that are suitable for a wide range of applications.
Despite the high export figures for sesame, Ethiopia still imports a variety of oil substitutes. In particular, palm oil imported from Malaysia is widely used for cooking, given its superior price-to-quality ratio com- pared to domestically produced oil. Dr Daniel Dauro from the Agricultural Transformation Agency states:
“One policy that is hindering the domestic processing of oilseeds is the duty-free importation of foreign edible oils. Palm oil is not taxed, while locally produced oil is. Imported palm oil from, for example Malaysia and Indonesia, is duty-free in order to make it affordable to the majority of the population. Less than 5% is produced in Ethiopia itself.”
Thus, the need for affordable edible oils cannot be met by domestic production alone, but largely through duty-free imports from Asia. At the same time this hinders efforts to develop Ethiopian production of edible oils from oilseeds.
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