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Sesame is one of the oldest oil crops cultivated in the world. It is also known as Gingerly or Sim Sim. It is scientifically known as Sesamum indicum, belonging to the family Pedaliaceae. Sesame is believed to have originated in Africa. Migrants from Africa introduced Sesame to India.
Sesame is mainly cultivated for its seeds and the oil extracted from the seed. The Sesame seed and oil are used in various cuisine in India. White, Yellow, Black and Red are the main colours of Sesame varieties.
After the oil is extracted from the seed, its cake is used as cattle feed. Local Indian names for Sesame are Til (Hindi), Ellu (Malayalam, Tamil) Nuvvulu (Telugu), Til (Marathi), Tul (Gujarati) etc.
Sesame in India is planted during mainly Kharif (June-July), pre-Rabi (August-September), Rabi (October-November) and pre-Kharif (January to March). The harvesting time is October-November, December-January, February-March and April-June for Kharif, pre-Rabi, Rabi and pre-Kharif respectively.
Normally, Sesame crop gets to maturity in three to five months. The harvesting time for the plant is ready when the bottom leaves are peeled off, stem and capsule colour turn to yellow.
The plant should not be left to over-ripen, as the seeds would start falling off. Well-drained light loamy soil is the most suitable type of soil for Sesame growth.
Major Sesame seed producing states in India are Gujarat, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
Major Sesame seed producing countries are India, China, Nigeria, Myanmar and Tanzania.
Major Sesame seed exporting countries are Sudan, Somalia, Pakistan and Burkina Faso.
Major import destinations for Sesame seed are Netherlands, New Zealand, Vietnam, United States, South Korea, Tanzania, Cyprus and Italy.
Following are the trading hubs for Sesame in India
Orissa (Kandhamal, Malkangiri, Rayagada)
West Bengal (Murshidabad, Nadia, Uttar Dinajpur)
Tamil Nadu (Virudhunagar)