The distinct flavor, aroma, and oil content of Onattukara sesame, grown in the Onattukara region of Kerala, have earned it a well-deserved reputation among consumers. In recognition of its unique qualities, Onattukara sesame was awarded a GI tag in 2020, further solidifying its place as a premium agricultural product.
To capitalize on the growing demand for Onattukara sesame and improve the economic conditions of sesame farmers, various initiatives are being implemented to expand its cultivation. The Onattukara Vikasana Agency (OVA), the registered owner of the GI-tagged sesame, is playing a pivotal role in these efforts.
One of the key strategies is to increase the area under sesame cultivation. The OVA has set a target of expanding sesame cultivation to 2,000 hectares in the Onattukara region by 2023-24. This expansion will involve providing farmers with high-quality seeds, training on improved cultivation practices, and financial assistance.
To ensure the consistent supply of high-quality sesame seeds, the OVA is also establishing a sesame seed processing and value-addition unit at the Onattukara Regional Agricultural Research Station (ORARS). This unit will not only process and refine sesame seeds but also explore the production of value-added products, such as sesame oil, flour, and snacks.
The promotion of Onattukara sesame is another crucial aspect of the expansion efforts. The OVA is actively engaging in marketing campaigns to raise awareness about the unique qualities of Onattukara sesame and its various culinary and medicinal applications. This includes participation in trade fairs, organizing workshops and demonstrations, and collaborating with chefs and food bloggers.
The expansion of Onattukara sesame cultivation is expected to bring multiple benefits to the region. Increased production will lead to higher incomes for sesame farmers, boosting their economic well-being. The availability of high-quality sesame seeds will ensure the consistent supply of premium products to consumers, enhancing the reputation of Onattukara sesame and its market value. Moreover, the expansion will contribute to the preservation of this unique agricultural heritage and promote sustainable agricultural practices in the region.