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This study was carried out to evaluate the production efficiency and the profitability of sesame production in Gwer East and Konshisha Local Government Areas of Benue State, Nigeria. Primary data was collected from 154 sesame farmers through the use of structured questionnaires. Purposive and random sampling techniques were used for this study. Tools used for analyses were Descriptive statistics, Net Farm Income and Stochastic Frontier Production Model. The study showed that the respondents had an average age of 36 years with 12 years of sesame farming experience. Majority of the farmers (85%) had formal education. The average household size is 37 persons which is about 81% while majority of the farmers (60%) had no extension contact during the 2014 cropping season. Majority of the sesame farmers (53%) belonged to sesame cooperative society. Majority of the farmers (82%) had no access to credit facilities. The results of the stochastic frontier revealed that farm size, seed, labour and agrochemical had a positive technical relationship with sesame output and were significant at (p< 0.01) level. The determinants of technical efficiency were age, sesame farming experience, education, membership of sesame cooperative society and amount of credit received. The result shows a mean technical efficiency of 0.83 with minimum and maximum technical efficiencies of 0.34 and 0.99 respectively. The elasticity of production 1.01 revealed that sesame farmers were operating at an increasing return to scale. The costs of renting of land, seeds, labour, agrochemical and sesame output had a positive relationship with the cost of sesame production and were all significant at (p< 0.01) level. The determinants of allocative efficiency were age, sesame farming experience, household size, extension contact, membership of sesame cooperative society and amount of credit received. Furthermore, the result shows that the sesame farmers had a mean allocative efficiency of 0.69. The minimum and maximum allocative efficiencies of 0.31 and 0.92 were obtained. The result also revealed a mean economic efficiency of 0.58. The best practice and the least economically efficient sesame farmers had economic efficiencies of 0.89 and 0.15 respectively. The profitability analysis on per hectare basis showed that a gross income of ₦ 116,720.58; total cost of production of ₦ 39,728.20; net farm income of ₦ 76,992.38 and a return per naira invested of ₦ 1.94 were realized. The major constraints to sesame production include: lack of credit facilities, poor extension service, poor storage facilities, problems of pests and diseases, lack of good road network and uneven ripening of capsules. The study concluded that sesame production is profitable by returning 94 kobo to every ₦ 1 invested, and that inefficiency exist among the sesame farmers with a maximum economic efficiency of 0.89. The study recommends sesame farmers to join cooperative society so as to enjoy the financial and socio-economic benefits that accrue from it, and the extension capabilities of agricultural institutions in Benue State be strengthened by the government to give room for effectiveness in extension delivery services.
1.1 Background of the Study
Sesame, otherwise known as sesamum or beniseed, is one of the most ancient oilseed
crops known to mankind. The crop is now grown in a wide range of environments,
extending from semi-arid tropics and sub-tropics to temperate regions (Raikwar and
Srivastva, 2013). The crop is believed to have originated in tropical Africa where the
greatest genetic diversity exists and was later taken at a very early date to India where a
secondary centre of diversity developed (Purseglove, 1996).
Sesame is one of the oldest food and cash crops in Nigeria (Nahunnaro and Tunwari,
2012). However out of the estimated 3.5 million hectares of Nigeria’s arable land
suitable for the growth of sesame seed, only 340,000 hectares was used for the crop in
2013 (FAOSTAT, 2013). Average actual yield of the crop is estimated to be
485.3kg/ha which is more than 4 times lower than the potential yield of 2000kg/ha and
more than 2 times lower than the average yield of other seed crops such as groundnut
(1271.2kg/ha) and soybeans (1000.0kg/ha) (Mkamilo and Bedigian, 2007; FAOSTAT,
Nigeria has a great market potential for sesame seed production for domestic and export
markets. The production figures of the crop has been on a steady increase since 1971,
reaching 72000 tonnes by 2000 and 165,000 tonnes in the year 2013 (FAOSTAT,
2013). This is in agreement with the 2008 annual report of the Central Bank of Nigeria
which states that there has been a rise in production of sesame seed from 98,000,000 to
152,000,000kg from 2003 to 2007 (CBN, 2009).
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