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Kerala’s Onattukara Sesame

Why is it in the news?

  • Kerala is actively promoting the cultivation of GI-tagged Onattukara sesame, recognized for its uniqueness and value in agriculture.
  • This sesame variety received the prestigious GI tag in January, highlighting its regional significance and quality.

Onattukara Sesame (Ellu)

  • Cultivation Region: Onattukara sesame is primarily cultivated in the Onattukara region, spanning Alappuzha, Kollam, and Pathanamthitta districts in Kerala, India.
  • Medicinal Significance: This sesame variety is renowned for its medicinal properties and consistently high quality.
  • Traditional Ayurvedic Use: Local ayurvedic practitioners in the region have employed Onattukara sesame oil for centuries to treat ailments like rheumatism and for skin protection, dating back to the 18th century.
  • Nutrient-Rich Composition: Onattukara sesame is rich in essential nutrients, including vitamin E and antioxidants. It contains vital fatty acids such as oleic acid, linoleic acid, and palmitoleic acid.
  • Varietal Diversity: It is grown in various distinctive varieties, including ‘ayali,’ Kayamkulam-1, thilak, thilathara, and thilarani, which have been developed by ORARS in Kayamkulam.
  • Market Impact: The awarding of the GI tag is expected to enhance its popularity and market value, resulting in higher prices for both sesame seeds and sesame oil.
  • Pricing Details: Currently, sesame seeds are priced in the range of ₹200 to ₹250 per kilogram, while sesame oil is available at rates ranging from ₹500 to ₹600 per kilogram.

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