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Sesame (Til)

Sesame is an important and oldest grown oilseed crop in the world. It is also known as til or gingely apartment from various other local names in India. Sesame is reported to be originated in South Africa and was introduced to India by migrants prior to the Indus valley civilization. It is scientifically known as Sesamum indicum L. 
India is the largest producer of sesame. It is widely preferred for its qualities of high drought tolerance and the highest oil content in the seeds. There mainly two distinct types of sesame seeds are popular viz., white and black though a few other varieties varying from red to rose or from brown or grey are also available.
Economically Important Products
Seeds: sesame seeds are used in various food and snack preparations as well as in salad dressing.
Oil: Sesame seeds contain the highest oil compared to any other oilseed to an extent of 50% and above. The unique qualities of sesame oil are stability and resistance to rancidity, with long shelf life due to the presence of the high level of natural antioxidants.
Meal: Sesame seeds are rich in protein with about 25% of their weight. Sesame meal contains 35-50% protein and used as feed for poultry and livestock.
Climate and Cultivation
Sesame crop is tropical plant and highly drought resistant during the vegetative due to its extensive roots. It is grown in all types of soils but well suited for well drained fertile soils. The plant is susceptible to salt and water logging. Sesame seed requires around 20oC for germination and more than 23o C favours good growth and high yields. Crop duration is around 90-120 days depending on season and varieties.
Seasons and Crop calendar
            In India sesame cultivation spread across all the parts except in northern and north-eastern region. It is grown in different seasons in different parts of the country. On the whole it is grown all the three seasons. However, majority of sesame is grown as a kharif crop under rainfed conditions in central and southern parts of the country including Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Orissa, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. However, a small amount of sesame is cultivated as a summer crop under irrigated conditions in eastern and southern parts of the country covering states of West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Crop Calendar




World Scenario
China is the largest producer of sesame in the world accounting for more than 40% followed by India with about 15% share. Though, India is the largest cultivator of sesame crop in terms of acreage, low yields kept her in the second place in terms of output. Further, production of sesame in India has persistently been declining from mid-2000s. 
China is not only the largest producer but also the largest consumer in the word. Following the sharp increase in consumption, exports from China declined steadily from 2008 onwards. As a result, Argentina became the largest exporter of sesame though for a brief period of two years (2010-11 and 2011-12) India became the top exporter. Major importing outcries have been the European Union, Vietnam, Indonesia, Mexico and Russia.
Table 1: Top 5 Sesame producers, consumers and traders

China Argentina European Union China
United States
United States
United States

Sesame production remained at around 35 million tons until mid 2000s and thereafter steadily rose to reach nearly 40 million tons in the 2012. World trade also rose steadily but slowly from about 2 million tons to nearly 3 million tons during the past decade. Nevertheless, sesame stocks appear to be at comfortable level despite a marginal reduction in output in 2012-13.
Domestic Scenario
India is the largest producer of sesame in the world as well as exporter. But production of sesame in India has remained largely in the range of 5.5 to 6.5 lakh tons a year during past two decades except for an occasional spurt in output either to a high of 8-9 lakh tons or below 5 lakh tons. The yields have been stable at around 350 to 450 kg per hectare. Hence, the fluctuations in production are largely on account of change in area and/or due to rainfall.
Nevertheless, sesame production in India largely stable over a period and majority of it comes from kharif which is mainly dependent on rainfall. About 10% of sesame cultivation is reported to be under irrigation when it is grown in summer.
State-wise production
West Bengal is the single largest sesame producer accounting for over 40% of total sesame produced in the country. Sesame production, within the country, is mainly concentrated in four states including West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat accounting for more than 70% of the total production. The remaining sesame cultivated area is scattered in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Orissa.
All the major producing states are cultivating sesame in kharif or late kharif except for West Bengal. But, in case of West Bengal, the largest producer of sesame, it is cultivated as a summer crop with the irrigation facilities.
Major Varieties
White bold seeded, export quality: Nirmala, Gujarat Til-2, JTS-8, HT-1, Tapi and Phule Til-1
Black seeded for domestic/ medicinal use: TMV-3, CO-1 and GT-10
High oil content: TKG-21, JT-27, TKG-22, Gautam, E-8, Kayamkulam-1 Tilothama, and TSS-6
Major Markets
Major spot markets: Bishnupur, Arambag, Kalna, Baduria, Shantipur, Burdwan, Hanumangarh, Ganganagar, Alwar, Indore, Rajkot, Amreli and Bhavnagar.
Futures markets: NA
External Trade
            India has been net exporter of sesame seed. Major export destinations are Asian countries.
Major export destinations: Asian countries
Major import sources: NA
Factors Influencing Prices
  • Crop condition and output expectations: Extent of area sown under the crop, condition of the crop and output expectation.
  • Monitoring of rainfall and weather conditions that could affect the crop output. 
  • Domestic demand expectation: Any changes in demand both domestic as well as international markets.
  • Stocks available in the market.
  • External demand and supply: Demand supply situation in major import sources. 
  • Trade policies: Any change in government policy relating to change in tariffs etc.,
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