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Auction enables small farmers in Uganda to connect with North American buyers

Chicago, IL January 23, 2015 — Mercaris today announced the close of the first on-line auction of organic sesame seeds originating from the Gulu District of Uganda, with buyers in North America. The market for organic commodities and ingredients is increasingly global, and the Mercaris on-line platform allows qualified buyers and sellers to connect, discover price, manage credit risk, and trade regardless of geography. Mercaris links small-scale producers that are practicing sustainable, organic farming methods to consumers worldwide.

The auction was held on behalf of the Gulu Agricultural Development Company (GADC). Founded in 2009, GADC aggregates production from over 55,000 small-holder farmers who grow organic cotton, sesame, sunflower and chili peppers in rotation. The Gulu District of Northern Uganda is recovering from nearly 25 years of armed conflict and civil war and high value organic crops are an important source of income in the area.

Bruce Robertson, Founder & CEO of GADC, stated “Mercaris provided an entry point into a new market for the growers, who have a high quality, fully traceable and certified product. It’s another tool for us to market our crops to a new community of buyers.”

This auction, as a pilot, allowed bids on up to 200 metric tons of organic sesame seeds suitable for processing into tahini or oil, and with delivery to several US ports. With the success of the initial effort, additional sesame seed auctions are now scheduled for 2015. Interested buyers can request samples for auctions via the Mercaris trading platform.

“We’re very pleased to enable the North American market to tap into a new source of sustainably grown, organic product, said Mercaris CEO Kellee James. “For food manufacturers and processors that are seeking to meet sustainable sourcing goals, using high quality ingredients, the Gulu Agricultural Development Company is a great partner”.

The Mercaris Trading Platform complements the Mercaris Data Service, which together allow subscribers to track and compare prices of identity-preserved commodities across various regions of the U.S. and Canada. These tools are of particular use to producers, elevators, mills, manufacturers and retailers in the organic & non-GMO food and feed sectors that stand to gain an edge from insight into market conditions. New subscribers can sign up for the service and access information at


For more information contact Mercaris at