While sowing of oilseeds has seen a decline this kharif season, the area under sesame has increased, with farmers getting good prices for the crop. Sources said this year, sesame sowing was likely to exceed last year’s mark.
According to the Union agriculture ministry, as of August 14, the area under sesame stood at 1.39 million hectares, against 1.27 million hectares a year earlier. In the kharif season last year, the area was 1.49 million hectares.
“We have seen excellent sowing for the sesame crop in the ongoing kharif season, as farmers have received good returns through the year. Also, the crop needs less water and this year, the monsoon didn’t begin on a good note. These factors encouraged farmers to move to sesame,” said Kishor Tanna, chairman of the Indian Oilseeds and Produce Export Promotion Council.
As of August 14, the highest sowing was registered in Rajasthan, with 432,000 hectares, followed by Madhya Pradesh (335,000 hectares) and Uttar Pradesh (314,000 hectares), according to data released by the Union agriculture ministry.
As of August 11, sowing stood at 127,100 hectares in Gujarat, 107 per cent of the total sowing area in the state (119,100 hectares). A year earlier, the sowing area was 111,600 hectares. S R Chaudhary, director of agriculture in the Gujarat government, said because of the delay in rains, many farmers in the state had shifted to sesame. “Many farmers who sowed pulses last year seem to have shifted to sesame,” he said, adding the shift was primarily from bajra, jowar and castor. Due to low production and high export demand, sesame prices rose to about Rs 3,000/20 kg in June; now, prices stand at Rs 2,300-2,400/ 20 kg.