South Sudan is the youngest nation in the world. After decades of civil war, South Sudan separated from Sudan and formed its own independent nation. The people there are among the poorest in the world, living on less than $1 per day on average. However, South Sudan is one of the most fertile nations in Africa, and their primary cash crop is sesame seeds. The seeds themselves are used in foods around the world. However, the real value in growing sesame seeds is the oil that can be extracted from them. Sesame oil is one of the most stable of all seed oils, which makes it very desirable for cooking around the world. Currently, in South Sudan, very small quantities of sesame oil are extracted through inefficient manual processes. As a result, South Sudan exports the majority of their sesame seeds to countries in Asia who extract the oil efficiently and inexpensively and then sell it back to South Sudan at inflated rates. Our goal is to design an efficient, sustainable, and affordable system for extracting sesame oil in South Sudan. This will generate more income for farmers by allowing them to easily produce large quantities of sesame oil for sale internationally. For our project, we are focusing on creating a small processing system for use outside the city of Malakal in the Upper Nile Region of South Sudan.
South Sudan is a nation full of different tribal groups which were engaged in civil war for so long before separating from Sudan. The two largest tribal groups are the Dinka and the Nuer, which make up 35.8% and 15.6% of the population respectively. Both of these tribes are heavily represented in Malakal, and it is our hope that our sesame oil extractor will be shared amongst farmers from different tribal groups to promote unity and peace between them.