is considered to be the oldest oilseed crop known, domesticated well over 3000 years ago. Sesame is very drought-tolerant. It has been called a survivor crop, with an ability to grow where most crops fail. Sesame has one of the highest oil contents of any seed. With a rich nutty flavor, it is a common ingredient in cuisines across the world.
India produces a wide variety of Sesame seeds varying in color from white to red to black, with oil content varying from 40 to 50 %. The white and black Indian Sesame seeds are mainly used for direct consumption by its addition in several foods and for exports. The brown Indian Sesame seeds are mainly used for oil extraction. These have oil content of around 45-50 %. The white Indian Sesame seeds have the desirable nutty taste and are used for making sweets, baked foods and confectionaries. The black Indian Sesame seeds are used for seasoning and for fries. Hulled seeds are also used for snack preparation.
Around 80 % of the sesame seed production in India, happens during the khariff season (June-July to September-October), with the crop starting to arrive from September. The remaining crop is cultivated in the rabi season (December to March), with the crop starting to arrive from March.
Sesame seed is largely cultivated in the western and eastern parts of the country. The major producers of Indian Sesame are Gujarat, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. Rajasthan is also a major producer, when the area receives sufficient rains.
Factors Influencing Sesame Seed Markets
- Weather at the major domestic producing centre. The southwest monsoon is the most important factor that determines the area sown, production and prices.
- Price of other competitive oils in India, viz., soy oil, palm oil, cottonseed oil, sunflower oil and mustard oil.
- International price movement of soy oil at CBOT and palm oil at BMD, Malaysia also influence the groundnut oil prices.
- Festivals and celebrations also increase consumption and the prices.