Home   >   News

  • Til’ cultivation up in Gaya, gives fillip to ‘tilkut’ production

    Jun 20th, 2024

    Patna: If the cultivation of ‘til’ (sesame), used in the preparation of the sweet delicacy ‘tilkut’ in Gaya district catches up, then it might bring huge profits to farmers, as the industry preparing the dry sweet has expanded fast in the Magadh region, including Patna, in the last five decades or so. While the cultivation of sesame in Gaya was introduced under the tenure of former state agriculture minister Kumar Sarvajeet last year, the area for its farming this year has been increased. In an agriculture department communique, secretary Sanjay Kumar Agrawal said that sesame was cultivated on 632 hectares land last year.This year, the coverage area for sesame cultivation has been raised to 1,300 hectares, Agrawal said. The blocks in Gaya where the farmers are cultivating the crop are Guraru, Sherghati, Paraiya, Tekari, Mohanpur and Tankuppa. The sesame is cultivated in semi-plateau and hilly region in June-July, and the crop matures by October, after which tilkut preparation starts from mid-November. According to Agrawal, the average yield of sesame last year was 10 quintal per hectare. While its minimum support price (MSP) was Rs8,635 per quintal (or Rs86.35 per kg), the farmers sold their produce to the tilkut-makers at the rate of Rs80-140 per kg. For centuries, Gaya and its adjoining towns like Tekari have been famous for making mainly three types of tilkuts prepared by mixing either sugar, khowa or jaggery, while ‘kala til laddu’ (black sesame laddu) also has many takers. A retailer in Shri Krishna Nagar locality of Patna, Gopal Prasad Keshri said, “Now, due to its popularity, a fourth variety called sugar-free tilkut has also hit the market. Besides, items like ‘gazak’ and ‘rewadi’, popular in western India, are being also made and sold in Bihar.” “Since Bihar did not cultivate sesame, traders in Gaya procured it from states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Assam and West Bengal. But it is not procured from there now,” Keshri said. “The best quality sesame comes from Kanpur in UP, or from Daltonganj in Jharkhand. It is first brought to the Gaya mandi or to the Maroofganj mandi in Patna, and then from there it is transported to places where tilkuts are prepared,” Keshri said. Outside Gaya and Tekari, the places where tilkut is prepared for wholesale supply are Mithapur and Masaurhi in Patna, as well as Jehanabad and Nawada — all in the Magadh region. The procurement price is Rs14,000-15,000 per quintal. The items are sold locally, and also supplied to other states. “In Bihar, sesame is procured from other states. There is huge scope for its cultivation in Bihar itself. If this happens, then the makers of tilkut will not depend on other states for its supply, and farmers’ income will also increase,” Agrawal said, adding, “The department has intervened to bring the change.”