Sesame farming has suffered setback this year in Katsina State as farmers in the state are gradually switching over to the cultivation of food crops for better revenue and food security.

In the last three years, there was growing cultivation of sesame in the state, especially in Mai’Adua, Zango, Batsari, Jibia, Charanchi and Kaita LGAs, but with the hike in the prices of food crops, farmers were seen cultivating crops like sorghum, millet, beans and maize.

A farmer in Jibia, Umar Saminu, told this reporter that sesame was only an alternative when crops like millet and sorghum depreciated in their market value.

“The high cost of food items experienced in the last two years has taught us a lesson hence, we abandoned sesame this year. Considering their yields it is more profitable to farm sorghum or millet than sesame,” said Saminu.

He further explained that sesame dealers and their agents benefited more than the farmers as they bought in measures and sold in kilos.

“They buy sesame from us at the rate of not more than N600 per measure, depending on the variety of the produce and we learnt that they are selling the same produce to the export companies at about N400 per kg. If we produce food crops such as sorghum and millet we sell them in the markets directly to the buyers without hindrance,” Saminu added.

In his reaction, a sesame dealer in Katsina, Alhaji Abdulkadir Ahmad Bado, said contrary to the perception of many sesame farmers, the dealers run at higher risks than them considering how the price of the produce fluctuates in the world market.

“Farmers that sell their produce at N580 – N600 per measure are better off than us who sell per kg. Remember we follow them to their doorsteps to buy the sesame  and we incur all the packaging and transportation expenses before selling it at between N306 and N312 per kg in Kano. With 55 measures equivalent to 105 – 107Kgs, the best one can make is N33,384 while the farmer made N31,900 out of the same measures,” he explained.

He added that the dwindling price and short supply of the produce has chased many dealers out of the business.

Daily Trust on Sunday observed that this year, sesame was partly cultivated in Musawa, Matazu, Kankiya and Dutsin-Ma LGAs and investigation by this reporter revealed that its farmers wanted to take advantage of the produce’s scarcity as farmers concentrated in producing food crops.

One of the farmers in Matazu  LGA, Malam Shu’aibu Gyaza, said those that produced maize, sorghum or millet were making more money than them.

“In a wrong calculation, we expected the price of food crops to crash as they were massively produced; that was why we were into sesame. The clever ones among us cultivated it alongside sorghum and beans to counter any risk,” Gyaza noted.

He added that there is possibility for the demand of the produce to rise over its short supply in the state this year.

Another sesame dealer, Alhaji Lawal Magaji Bumbum, said government and agric companies needed to invest in the production of the produce in the state.

“As one of the highly sought after cash crops in Nigeria, Katsina State has to explore its potentialities in producing the crop through provision of improved seeds and other inputs to farmers while companies and other entrepreneurs should invest in its value chain.

“Farmers should concentrate on the provision of organic manure to their farmlands for the improvement of soil fecundity,” he also advised.