Lohit, located at the foothills of the Himalayas is considered to be one of the most scenic places in India. This district derives its name from the mighty river Lohit that flows from Tibet into this mountainous region.
Lohit district is blessed with the waters from the rivers of Lohit, Kamlang and Noa-Dihing, has adequate annual rainfall with hot summers and moderately cold winters and has a mixture of alluvial, loamy and sandy loam soil rich in organic matter that is conducive for the growth of traditional crops.
As it is a largely agrarian economy, small and marginal farmers use the river water to the maximum cultivating paddy, mustard, ginger, potato, orange, pulses, seasonal vegetables, flowers and fruits. Animal husbandry and fishery is another important source of income for the residents of this district.
Farmers prefer organic and natural farming to grow their native crops and hence, it is conceivable that Lohit district has some of the best agricultural produce of India. The most outstanding crop of this district is sesame that is the oldest indigenous oilseed crop.
It has been conferred the title of ‘Queen of Oilseeds’ for its high oil content, aroma, flavour, religious importance and nutritional and medicinal value. Sesame seeds and sesame oil are known to contain unique lignans such as sesamin, sesamolin, sesamol, and sesaminol and thereby these seeds are often called as ‘seeds of immortality’.
Sesame grows well in lands which are either rainfed, irrigated or having residual moisture. This crop is commercially viable and therefore, cultivated either as a mixed or sole crop. The varieties grown here are AST-1, B-67 and ST-1683. Both black and white sesame are grown here for domestic and industrial purposes.
Sesame is used in the preparation of local delicacies, sweets, chutneys, pakodas, curries, as a topping for cakes and bakery goods as well as in the famed til ladoos. Organic sesame is now in great demand in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries. It has the potential to be marketed as a health food and exact a premium. Value-added products and processing plants will go a long way to popularize this excellent cash crop.
Written by Lakshmi Subramanian
* Photos are only symbolic (Taken from public domain/internet and any copyright infringement is unintentional and regrettable)