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Kerala’s sesame seed high on medical value gets GI tag

Onattukara sesame which is high on Vitamin E and other medicinal ingredients has received Geographical Tag

Hard work and patience on the part of the Kerala Agriculture University has paid off as they received the geographical indication tag for the sesame which is grown in Central Travancore’s Onattukara area.

Sharing details about this, B. Lovely, Assistant Professor at Onattukara Regional Agriculture Research Station of the University said this particular sesame has medical value. For this reason, since 18th Century, Ayurvedic doctors of the region have used its oil for protecting the skin and treating rheumatism.

ORARS scientists have discovered that the sesame has a high content of antioxidants and Vitamin E. Apart from this it has linoleic acid, palmitoleic acid, and oleic acid, all of which contribute in keeping good health. It is the nutrients of the area’s soil and its particular climatic conditions that gives medical value to the oilseeds.

Going beyond getting GI tag, the KAU’s intellectual property rights cell is working to get this product patented.

These efforts will enable revival of cultivation of this sesame variety which had declined over the years. The GI is expected to increase its market value and make it popular with the farmers. At present it is priced Rs.200 to 250 per kilogram and the oil fetches Rs.500 to 600 per kg.

ORARS is promoting farming of this variety by providing seeds free of cost and also financial assistance.

The three districts where this variety is grown are Kollam, Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha. They cultivate the traditional ayali variety and also those developed by ORARS which include thilak, thilarani and Kayamkulam-1.

The University’s IPR cell has in the past helped to get GI tag for Central Travancore and Marayur jaggeries, Kaipad rice and Chengalikodan nendran banana.