Processing and storage
You have learned the value of sesame seeds, prepared your land for sesame farming, planted and harvested a huge yield of sesame seed. What do you do to ensure that your yield gives you good returns? This is where storage and processing comes in.
Dehiscence which refers to when the sesame seeds which are protected by a capsule burst completely open we they are ripe is the beginning of the processing and storage. If you leave the seeds up to the point of dehiscence, you are likely to lose a lot of seeds because they are so tiny and you will have no control of where they land. This is why farmers harvest them just when they start ripening, pile them together and let them dry.
Proper storages starts right from harvesting because if there is dirt, stones or sand mixed with these tiny seed, their quality will be affected. Since the seeds are flat, the circulation of air around them is difficult making the drying process hard one. It is therefore advisable to ensure that they are as dry as possible when harvesting them. A moisture content of below 6% is advisable. Anything above that will affect the seeds quality and yield, especially when it comes to oil production. Moist seeds will likely blog the machinery being used to produce oil or if not will be highly prone to fungal infections.
Holding all factors constant, you should be able to get approximately 1,500 kilograms per hectare. To ensure you achieve this and each of these seed is good for use, the following recommendations will come in handy.
- Unshelled sesame seeds should be stored in dry conditions, away from rain, humidity and vermin.
- Bagged seeds should be placed stored on raised platform and not directly on concrete floors to protect them from the risk of dampness.
- In proper conditions, you can store Sesame for a maximum of 5 years without losing their viability.
- Storing in specialized airtight bags will also protect the seeds from moisture and insects.
For export level produce, a farmer may be expected to go a step further since importers especially sesame oil producers will look for the highest quality of seed. They tend to prefer scientifically treated, properly washed and cleaned, size graded, color sorted and seed free of impurities. If all these conditions are ticked on your check list, your seeds will be on the next available flight to Europe, United States, Canada, Turkey, among the other consumers of sesame seeds.
With proper storage and processing, you hard earned yield will not go to wait and you will indeed reap where you have sown.