Sesame is an excellent rotation crop of cotton, maize, groundnut, wheat, and sorghum. It reduces nematode populations that attack cotton and groundnut. It is also an excellent soil builder- it improves the soil texture and moisture retention and lessens soil erosion: the composted sesame leaves left on the soil binds the ground; retains soil moisture better for planting the next crop; increases the yield of the following crop. Sesame is resistant to drought, tolerant to insect pests and diseases, a low cost crop and therefore one of the best alternative specialty crops.
Sesame originates in East Africa and is the oldest of the commercial oil seeds. The oil is a clear edible oil with a pleasant taste and a very good long shelf life if properly refined. Sesame has an oil content of 48-55% which is the highest of any oil crop while the protein content ranges from 44 to 48%.
Sesame seeds are either consumed directly as a highly nutritious foodstuff or processed by the confectionery and bakery industries. The seed hulls, which are bitter due to their oxalic content, can be removed with the use of steam. Ragouts and soups are often prepared with crushed sesame seeds. Sesame hay, if carefully dried, can be used as fodder. A large proportion of the world's sesame production goes towards producing edible oil. Purely white sesame seeds are in demand on conventional as on ecological markets, because of their higher oil content than pigmented varieties. By-products of oil extraction are an excellent protein component to mix into animal feed.
Climate Conditions, Soil and Water Management
Sesame needs a constant high temperature, the optimum range of growth, blossoms and fruit ripeness is 26 to 30°C. Sesame only grows well in a warm climate and in East Africa it is only grown from sea level up to 1500 m. Most varieties of sesame are photoperiod sensitive . Good harvests can be expected when rainfall of 300-600 mm is equally distributed throughout the...
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