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Coronavirus Impact: Magura nalim farmers’ success turns sour

  • Published at 09:38 am May 9th, 2020
Nalim farmers

Nalim is being sold at Tk5 to Tk6 per fruit in Magura local markets at the moment

Nalim (a melon variety) farmers in Magura are in great anxiety and frustration as they could not transport their products outside local markets due to transport restrictions across the country to stem the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19).

Farmers said nalim is a popular Iftar item but due to the ongoing situation, they fear they will not be able to recoup their production cost, let alone make any profit, reports UNB.

They said this time there is a bumper production of the fruit in Shibrampur, Atharokhada, Purbabariala, and Ichakhada areas but the shortage of customers and increased transportation cost are making things harder for them.

In the previous couple of years, farmers got more profit in a short time by cultivating nalim. Farmers at that time said they were making around Tk 30,000 profit from one bigha (approx 0.40 acre) of land.

However, farmers say, this year the situation is quite different.

Rabiul Islam, a farmer from Hazrapur village, said he cultivated nalim on 3.5 bigha of land. Although the yield has been good, he could not deliver nalim to wholesalers outside the district on time.

“The fruits are rotting in the fields. Although there is a huge demand for nalim in Ramadan, we are unable to sell it due to the coronavirus outbreak,” he said.

Zahir Sheikh of the same village said he cultivated nalim on four bigha and bought the fruit from others. “I can't get a good price (for the produce) as I can't send them to Dhaka. The current price (at local markets) is Tk 5 to Tk6 per fruit,” he said.

Zahidul Amin, deputy director of the district Department of Agricultural Extension, said farmers cultivated the fruit on 182 hectares of land in the district this year.

“The yield has also been good. We’re giving clearance certificates to farmers who are going to Dhaka to sell their produce so that they don't face any restrictions on the road,” he said.

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