India is one of the largest producers and exporters of sesame seeds in the world. Indian sesame seeds are well-known for their purity,oil-content & medicinal properties. The country is known for producers several thousands of tons of sesame every year and in many varieties and forms. The world on an average produces close to 3 million tons of sesame seeds every year and a large percentage of that is produced by India alone. Asian and African countries are the main players within this industry and the top producers are China, India, Sudan, Myanmar and Thailand etc. India also is the single largest exporter of the seeds followed by Egypt which comes on the second spot.
India produces a wide variety of sesame seeds varying in colour from red to black to white. The oil content in these seeds varies from 40 to 50%. Where on one hand, the white and black sesame seeds are used for direct consumption by addition in many foods and for exports but on the other hand, brown Indian sesame seeds are mainly used for oil extraction. The white sesame seeds have a nutty taste and are used for making baked foods, sweets and confectionaries. On the other hand black sesame seeds are used for seasonings and for fries as well. It is known that hulled sesame seeds are used for the preparation of snacks as well.
About 80% of the sesame seeds that are produced in India happen during the Khariff season which is between June to July and September to October when the crops start to arrive in the month of September. The remaining part of the crop is harvested and cultivated in the Rabi season which is between December and March when the crops start to arrive in the month of March onwards. The seeds are mostly cultivated in the eastern and western parts of the country.
The major producers of sesame seeds are West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan.
The following are the major factors influencing sesame seed markets:;
• The most important factor which influences sesame seed markets around the world and in India is the weather. The southwest monsoon is the most important factor which determines the area sown, prices and production.
• Another important factor which affects the sesame seed production in the country is price of other competitive oils in India which are palm oil, soy oil, mustard oil, sunflower oil and palm oil etc
• Celebrations and festival seasons when the seeds or oils are consumed in larger quantities can also be a determining factor.
• The international price movement of soy oil at CBOT and palm oil at Malaysia may also affect the price and production.