Ssekandi squeezes money out of ignored avocado seeds

Saturday October 6 2018

Ssekandi sorts dried avocado seeds ready to be

Ssekandi sorts dried avocado seeds ready to be processed. Photo by Phionah Nassanga 

By Phionah Nassanga

Did you know that the avocado seeds you are throwing away can actually be modified to produce a variety of products and earn you an extra income?
Walking into Hakim Ssekandi’s home one cannot miss the sights of sacks lined by the window and plastic bags that cover the compound. One would wonder what this is all about. But these sacks and bags hold avocado seeds, raw materials from which Ssekandi makes Hasha products like avocado seed tea, avocado oil and avocado soap.

Failing to own land on which he could set up an avocado farm, Ssekandi, 28, a resident of Kirinyabigo in Wankulukuku, Rubaga Division, resorted to gathering avocado seeds to support his business.
After a year of research, reading different books and articles on the Internet, Ssekandi discovered that apart from the delicacy and proteins we get from avocado flesh, there is more to the fruit that many people unknowingly put to waste.

“I got the idea from the internet, researched more about the avocado seeds and the different products you can make from the avocado seeds,” says Ssekandi, the director of Hasha Products.
In 2016, Ssekandi tried out his first products using a rudimentary method: pounding the seeds using a mortor and a pestle.

Then he used a blender. But he says these did not give him the quality he wanted.
Determined to improve his products and grow his business, Ssekandi bought the required machinery: distillers and food processers. He took his first samples of avocado seed tea and avocado oil to the Uganda National Bureau of Standards, which approved his products.

In 2017, Ssekandi started the search for avocado seeds.
“I hired someone to help me look around for avocado seeds. This person goes to different markets, and avocado farms collecting seeds,” he says. “I pay him Shs120,000 per sack.”
When they get the seeds Ssekandi, with his team, first wash them and peel off the brown coat, cut them into smaller pieces allowing them to dry faster under low temperatures. The seeds dry for about three weeks. Ssekandi explains how he makes the different avocado extracts

Avocado seed tea
After removing the flesh, the seeds are dried, crushed and processed. He adds other ingredients to make avocado seed tea. For a greater taste, he adds peppermint, rosemary, cinnamon, ginger, lemon grass. It tastes great in juice, salads, soups and porridge.

Avocado oils
When the seeds are dried, he puts them into the food processor. and collects any oils into a jar. The oil is kept for a few days and using a distiller, he separates the oil from water.

Avocado soap
Avocado soap is made with avocado oil, avocado butter and perfumes to give it a nice scent. To a mixture of avocado butter and oil, he adds potassium carbonate and stirs until they are fully dissolved and the liquid is clear. He then sets it aside to cool. To make a harder bar of soap, he adds sodium lactate to the mixture. The he pours the soap into bars. After each pour, he uses the back of the spoon to smooth the soap.

Research
After a year of research, reading different books and articles on the internet, Ssekandi discovered that apart from the delicacy and proteins we get from avocado flesh, there is more to the fruit that many people unknowingly put to waste.

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