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Blockade fallout: Price of crops fall sharply

  • Published at 12:15 pm December 13th, 2013

Price of Aman paddy has registered a drastic fall in the markets of the district for the back to back blockade programmes enforced by the 18-party opposition combine.

The farmers are counting losses as they cannot get the fair price from their produce for its low sale because of unavailability of transport.

The Aman growers fear that they will not be able to recover the production cost from the present market price of the paddy this season.

During visit to different markets, farmers told the UNB correspondent that Aman price has dropped by Tk250 per maund in a span of one week.

At Shibganj, Goreya and Khochabari markets, Aman is now selling for Tk500-700 per maund whereas one maund of paddy sold between Tk750 and 800 a week ago.

Asked about the reason for the plummeting trend of paddy price, the farmers said traders from different districts cannot come to the markets here to purchase paddy for the political programmes.

Narrating their problems due to the programmes, local traders said after purchasing paddy at a little low price, they cannot send it to the large warehouses in different districts, including Dhaka and Bogra.

As a result, traders will have to incur losses as the purchased paddy is losing quality gradually, they noted.

The worried traders said they will not be able to purchase paddy further if such situation continues.

Belayat Hossain, deputy director of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) office in Thakurgaon, said there has been bumper harvest of Aman in the district this year as farmers could collect adequate seeds and fertiliser during cultivation season.

At the beginning of the harvest, growers were delighted with good market price of the new paddy, he said, adding that they are now failing even to recover the production cost due to low market price.

The DAE official is of the view that the existing low price of Aman will affect the ongoing Boro cultivation.

Sources at the DAE office said about 4 lakh tonnes of Aman paddy have been produced in the district this year.

Meanwhile, hundreds of vegetable growers in the district face difficulties as they are not getting fair price of their produce in the local markets.

Narsingdi is one of the leading vegetable producing areas. Farmers of Shibpur, Belabo and Raipura upazilas under the district usually cultivate vegetables on commercial basis and generally supplies 50% to 60% of their production to the capital and other districts.

Official sources said farmers cultivated winter vegetables in about 8,500 hectares of land in the district this season and were reaping a good harvest.

But during this winter, they are being deprived of fair price of their produce as there is no wholesale customer in local markets.

Sometimes, the growers stop harvesting vegetables from their field and as a result, a lot of them get rotten in the field.

The farmers are now worried about how they will maintain their families.

Abdul Jalil, a farmer of Masumpur village under Shibpur upazila, said he cultivated cauliflower, cabbage, beans and radish on 10 bighas of land and was having a good harvest, but because of hartals and blockades, he was compelled to sell his produce at lower prices in local markets.

Like Abdul Jalil, many farmers in the upazilas expressed their frustration.

They are now worried about how they would lead their lives. 

On the other hand, preservation of vegetables has become a difficult task for them as there is no cold storage in the district.

The situation has compelled the growers to sell the produce at a throwaway price, which does not cover even their production cost.

The farmers said they were selling cauliflowers at between Tk500 to Tk600 per hundred pieces as against Tk2,000 to Tk2,500 in the last season while radish at between Tk2 to Tk3 per four pieces and bean and brinjal at between Tk600 to Tk700 per maund in the local markets.

The farmers urged the political parties to stop hartals and blockades for the greater interest of people as well as farmers to facilitate communication across the country.

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