Sesame: A crop with high profits and a bright future
19 Jun 2019

Sesame ... has been opened, "more and more Greek growers are expected to say over the next few years, seeking to replace, with their own domestic production, a significant part of Greece's imports of the specific product - EUR 60 million - annually. Each year, at least 40,000 tonnes of sesame is imported into Greece, a quantity that could very well be replaced by domestic production if more growers they were turning to this cultivation, as the agronomist, former director of the Hellenic Agricultural Organization (ELGO) "Dimitra", Abraham Nikolaidis pointed out in the APE-MPA. Indeed, at a time when Greek products are defiant to the confidence of the consumers of the country, does anyone wonder how much more popularity would be enjoyed in the basket of Thessaloniki if ... the sesame that was decorating it was of Greek origin and what would be the economic benefits for producers who can dispose of their product in terms of contract farming. As Mr. Nikolaidis explained, the Greek salsi importers buy 1.5 euro / kg, and, as he stated, "the few Greek sesame producers in our country today have sold their production at a rate of 2 euros / kilo because of its quality ". He also said that if in our country cultivated land with sesame exceeds 300,000 acres, then there will be no need for imports, since we will be "self-sufficient". In this context, it is immediately clear that the cultivation of sesame in our country, especially in Northern Greece, whose land is suitable for its production, is very high on the list of alternative crops with high growth prospects, according to the Nicolaides. Among other things, he noted that gross production costs, ie that which does not include the land rent used by the producer and the work, is for the cultivation of sesame at EUR 81 per hectare while stressing that it can be used as a second job for a farmer , after its sowing begins in June and harvesting takes place in October. It is stressed that with an average yield of 150-200 kg of which 65-70 liters of sesame oil can be produced, cultivation of sesame can yield an income of up to 400 euros per acre. However, Northwest growers are strongly interested in collecting the necessary information from the agronomists and it is not excluded that "from this year, the hectares cultivated in our country will grow significantly," he underlined. Today, they amount to 5,000 acres and half are grown in Evros, while the rest in Serres, Drama and some "little in Limnos", he stressed.

It is stressed that, according to Mr. Nikolaidis, two types of mechanical harvesting sesame have been found in the last two years, with a yield of twice as much as three times per acre, while this dry production yields 50 kg / acre in countries like Sudan , Ethiopia and India. According to him, the Ministry of Rural Development and Food has set up a working group to investigate the possible existence of other species of sesame at EU level, and it should be noted that if one is included in the relevant European list, then cultivation can be subsidized. Cultivation with future and high profits the sesame. It is a plant whose cultivation does not have any particular requirements, and can even yield in drought conditions. In the past, sesame was cultivated occasionally in Greece, as a crop that could be used as a replacement for set-aside. In the 1970s, it reached a total area of ​​200,000-300,000 acres, but in the following years cultivated land gradually declined as a result of the Community subsidies that began to be given in 1981 to crops that are competitive with sesame crops such as maize and sugar beet, but also because sesame was not included in the Common Agricultural Policy in oil plants, such as soybean, oilseed rape and sunflower. The plant is resistant to drought and can yield satisfactorily even when it can only use the stored water. The range of land suitable for cultivation is large, and it is also cultivated in colder areas as a summer crop. Sesame needs high temperatures to complete its biological cycle. The ideal temperature range is 26-30 degrees Celsius. The lowest temperature for starting the vegetation is 12C. Sesame and its products are foods of high nutritional value. The sesame seed, the fruit of the sesame plant, is the raw material for the production of tahini and halva. The main countries cultivated with sesame are, among others, India, China, USA, Sudan, Turkey and Mexico.  Sesame comes from the hot parts of Asia. Its cultivation aims to produce its oilseeds. Seeds of sesame have a high oil content of 45-60%. Sesame oil is used in the food industry, confectionery, canning. It is also used for the production of soaps and paints.

Sesame seed is a fruit of high nutritional value and is used in bakery (bread, buns, pastels, etc.), tahini and halva production. The residue ("pie") left after the extraction of sesame oil is used as a feed, which is rich in proteins that reach up to 50-52%. Sesame is an annual, dicotyledonous herbaceous plant growing upright at a height of 0.8-1.8 meters. The Benefits of Sesame Health Sesame, because of the many antioxidants it contains, protects the body from bad cholesterol. The sesame substance, contained in sesame seeds, acts against hypertension and clot formation, and because of its high content of antioxidants, many studies have shown the anti-cancer effect of sesame. Based on research studies, sesame has properties of prevention of diabetes, but also of eye catarrh.