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Sesame production practices in Pakistan


Sesame or “til” is the most ancient crop cultivated for its oil in the sub-continent. Its seeds contain between 50 and 58 % of very good semi-drying oil, mostly with oleic and linoleic triglycerides. Its oil is stable and does not rancid even after long exposure to air. Sesame oil contains about 22 % and the cake about 42 % protein. Sesame oil is used as foods (cooking and salad), medicine and soap manufacturing etc. Its seeds and young leaves are eaten as stews and soaps in Asia.

In Pakistan, the average area under sesame was 30300 hectares during 1985-90, whereas the average yield was 395 kg/ha. In the year of 1992-93, the area and production increased upto 82200 hectors and 34000 tons/ha and yield was 414 kg/ha. During 1996-97, both the area and production of sesame again increased to the tune of 99500 hectares and 45000 tons/ha and yield also increased to 452 kg/ha. During 1998-99 the area and production decreased upto 20 % while yield kg/ha remained the same as in previous years. According to FAO estimates, Honduras and Egypt are the leading countries producing yield of 1267 and 1063 kg/ha, respectively. It has been proved in the country and abroad that the yield potential of the “til” cultivars is upto 2000 kg/ha. Therefore, the farmers must increase the area under this crop and adopt below mentioned technology recommendations to boost per unit area productivity of sesame in the Pakistan.


Improved Production Technology


Sesame is mostly grown on light sandier soil as rain-irrigated crop in the semi arid tropics and require high temperature of 35-40 C for vegetative and reproductive growth. This crop can mainly be grown in kharif season, and is very sensitive to excessive rainfall and water logging.


Land Selection

lthough sesame grows best on high fertilize soils, yet most suitable soils are those that posses the following properties:

– Sandy soil free from hard pans,

– good Texture soil,

– Unlikely to crust after rain

– Acid free soil

– Not prompt to water logging

Seedbed Preparation

After soaking irrigation or rain, 2-3 ploughings and 1-2 planking are enough to prepare fine level seed beds to ensure even seed germination.

Sowing Time

As kharif crop, the following sowing times are observed throughout the country for sesame cultivations:

– Punjab  Ist July – 31st July

– Sindh   15th June – 15th July

– NWFP 15th June – 31st July

– Balochistan Ist July – 31st July

Seed Rate

Optimum planting density (222000 plants/ha) or 22 plants per meter is very important for high yields. To ensure good germination and crop establishment, seeds with germination percentage of 85-90 % must be planted. The optimum seed rate is recommended as under:

  1. a) Line sowing 5 kg/ha (2 klg per acre)
  2. b) Broadcasting 8 kg/ha (3 kg per acre)

Los of 100 plants per hectare results in loss of 30 rupees per hectare

Method of Planting

  1. Hand Drill/ wheat drill

– Drill the seed in lines (45 cm apart) in good moisture (water) condition. Ensure that seed placement should be at depth of 2-2/12 cm.

  1. Tractor mounted Drill

In case of Tractor mounted drill, prior to sowing, check the drill thoroughly and tractor speed should not exceed 8 km/hour to avoid the uneven sowing depth and seed placement.

Sowing Depth

Surface moisture influences the sowing depth and ultimately the seed germination. To achieve satisfactory germination, shallow depth of 2-2 1/2 cm is recommended. Deep sowing will result in poor emergence. As the temperature in Kharif season (June , July) is near 40 C, seed depth can be maintained at 3.5 cm (1 1/2 inch) to avoid drying effect and ultimately better plant emergence.


Soil fertility is the major manageable factor in sesame production. Nutrient balance is of vital importance. To achieve the best results, apply the fertilizers as mentioned below:

  1. Urea (1/2 bag) + DAP (1 bag)/ acre or,
  2. Urea (1/2 bag)+ Nitrophos (1 bag)/ acre

Apply either combination prior to sowing


Usually 3-4 irrigation are required during whole season. Number of irrigation varies with the environmental conditions. In case of no rain, first irrigation should be give at 15-20 days after sowing(DAS). Second irrigation be also given after 30-40 DAS. Third irrigation at the time of flowering, because the irrigation at flowering, capsule formation and seed development is necessary to avoid moisture stress at these stages in order to ensure better yield formation.

Thinning and Hoeing

Plant emergence takes about 5-6 days after sowing. When the plants attain height of 10-15 cm, single out the weak and diseases plants by keeping 10 cm spacing between plants following 222000 plants/ha. First hoeing is done after 15-20 days and second after 30 days of germination with khurpa or Tarphali.

Improved Varieties

The following commercial sesame varieties should be planted.

– Pb.Til-90, – P-37-40, – Til-93,

– S-17, – PR-19-9, – Ts-3

In addition, there are various promising and improved pipeline varieties developed by Oilseed Res Programme at National Agricultural Research Center (NARC), Islamabad. These include:

Rattodero-1, Rattodero-2, Sanghar-1, Johi-1, VCR No.5, S-209.

The yield potential of these improved varieties is upto 1800 kg/ha.

Weed Control

During the first few weeks after emergence, the sesame seedlings are very sensitive to weeds, hence an effective weed control measure is vital during this period. Different types of perennial grasses, like Khabbal, Baroo and annual broad leaved weeds like Cholai, Hazardani, Bakhra and Tandlla compete the crop in rainfed as well as irrigated areas. These weeds can easily be controlled by adopting cultural methods (crop rotation and tillage practices) and chemical weed methods depending on weed species, degree of infestation and weather pattern etc. However reemergence herbicide (Stomp 330 E) @ 1.48 ai kg/ha can be used before germination and is very effective in controlling wide range of grasses and broad leaf weeds.

Crop Rotation

As sesame is a deep root crop and needs high level of fertility. Therefore, in rotation leguminous crops like Mung and Mash should be included along with sesame as under:

Sesame Wheat Mong

Sesame Wheat Mash

Harvesting and Thrashing

Sesame crop matures in about 100-=120 days. The crop must be harvested in time to avoid losses in yield due to shattering. The crop should be harvested when 75 % capsules are ripened and become (yellow colored). Make bundles and stalked upright for drying. In this way the capsules get nutrient and the seeds develops fully. One week after harvesting, thrashing should be done in clear weather so that seeds could also be dried prior to storage with at least 10 % moisture content.

Seed Production

If the farmer follow all the recommendations as mentioned above, seed yield of 1000-1200 kg/ha that amounts to Rs.50-60 thousand /ha can very easily be produced. However, the commercial varieties of sesame have yield potential of about 1500 kg/ha. These new high yielding and promising varieties are nearly to be released for general cultivation to the farmers through out the country.

Diseases of Sesame

The followings are the major diseases in sesame:

– Charcoal rot

– Alternaria leaf spot

– Bacterial leaf spot

– Bacterial blight

– Phyllody

– Root wilting

Control Measures:

The diseases management programme should include the following methods:

  1. Use healthy seed of resistant varieties
  2. Prior to sowing, treat the seed with one of the systemic fungicides, (captafol, Therain, Dithane M-45 and Benlate) @ 2-3 gm/kg of seed to protect from fungal diseases.
  3. Use proper cultural practices (rotation and tillage)
  4. spray the crop with captafol, Dithane- M45 @ 1 kg/acre in 100 liter of water and Tecto and Benlate @ 500 gm/acre after 10-15 days interval for bacterial disease, spray streptocycline @ 0.3 gm in 100 liters (25 gallon) of water/ha. Treat the seeds before planting with antibiotics (streptomycin @ 100 ppm).

Major Insects

In general sesame is not damaged by insects. However, the main insects of sesame crops as under:

– Whitefly – Leaf roller

– Til gallfly – Til Hawk moth

Chemical Control

For the control of larvae of leaf roller, till hawk moth, whitefly and leaf hopper, spray Dimecron 100 % @ 200 to 250 ml/acre or Methyl Parathion @ 350 to 500 m/acre or Somicidin 20 EC @ 250 ml/acre or Karate @ 250-300 ml/acre mixed in 100 to 150 liters of water at 10-15 days interval, two times in case the attack is sever. In case of cutworms, spray with Lorsban @ 400 ml ai/acre, Sevin @ 800 gm ai/acre or Sumicidin @ 120 ml ai/acre.

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