Some farmers in Karongahave substituted growing cotton and maize for sesame—a plant whose small oval seeds are edible and yield oil— saying the commodity fetches good money in the Tanzanian market.
A lead farmer at Lupembe in Paramount Chief Kyungu, Wiseman Simwaka, said sesame has replaced cotton and maize growing since farmers do not benefit much from their sales.
He said cotton matures late in August while sesame matures as early as June.
“We feel growing sesame is much profitable. For example, an acre of sesame can get one an average of 15 tins weighing 25 kilogrammes that can fetch about K250 000. A 20 litre pail of sesame costs K17 000.
“I grew sesame last year and I realised about K480 000 from my two-acres. As such, I feel sesame is a good plant for us compared with maize or cotton,” said Simwaka
The farmer decried lack of markets in Malawi, stating that he would be happy if government opened up markets to promote sesame since the crop is being sold to Tanzanian vendors.
Karonga district agricultural development officer Raphael Mkisi said his office is aware of the crop, but it is not grown extensively in the district.
“On the market, we are aware that most of the crop is sold to Tanzania even though farmers use informal routes. However, we still offer advice to such farmers on how to grow the crop though currently sesame is not among the priority crop in Malawi,” he said.