OISCA Japan is promoting partnership with a unique business company: ZENSHO, Co. This company was established in 2009 with the aim of becoming a company that brings smiles to the faces of all people: producers, local community people and consumers. The company is engaged mainly in processing and wholesale of spice raw materials with processing factories in Aritagawa, Wakayama Prefecture, Japan’s largest producing area of Sansho (Japanese pepper), and in Kikai Island, Kagoshima Prefecture, where sesame seeds are grown.
The company is exploring ways to collaborate with OISCA’s overseas trainees to address the serious lack of successors to Sansho growers of Aritagawa, Wakayama Prefecture due to the sharply declining population (the number of growers has decreased to 1/3 in 10 years).
It has invited the OISCA trainees to experience the work in the processing plant in Aritagawa.
In addition, Zensho is also working poverty issues in the central arid region in Myanmar where OISCA has two training centers. Myanmar is one of the world’s three largest producers of sesame seeds, but the area where OISCA’s centers are located, faces a harsh growing environment due to extremely low rainfall.
The company has established a system to provide “visible raw materials” that can be traced back to “when, where, and by whom” utilizing the power of hard-working local staff of the centers. In 2020, it successfully imported 24 tons of sesame seeds. Due to the political upheavals in Myanmar in 2021, the number of buyers has decreased, and the local market is in a difficult situation. However, the company is further deepening its cooperation with OISCA and is aiming to import 50 tons of sesame this fiscal year.