POST TIME: 15 May, 2019 10:51:44 AM
Farmers worried despite good yield
Low market price of Boro paddy
Our Correspondents, Tangail, Bhola

Farmers worried despite good yield

Farmers busy harvesting Boro paddy at Gupto Munshi village in Bhola Sadar recently. Independent photo

Despite a bumper production of boro paddy during the current season, farmers are disappointed with low prices and higher wages of harvesting. Farmers now urge the government to take steps to normalise the production.

Otherwise, a negative impact might affect the agro-economy of the country, they say.

According to sources in the Department of Agriculture Extension (Tangail), they have taken a target to bring about 170,623 hectares under boro farming with a production target of 717,760 MT of rice during the current season under 12 upazilas of the district. The target of farming extended to 171,702 hectares this year. Boro farming is the main crop of the district. It is costly as the farmers have to invest much money in irrigation, tilling, seedlings, transplantation, nursing,  fertilisers and insecticides, among others.

Another source said that 30 per cent of paddy have been harvested in the district. The farmers are not getting fair prices from the very beginning.

Abdul Malek Sikder, a farmer of Bankina village under Kalihati upazila of Tangail district, set fire to his ripe paddy field failing to get fair prices for his paddy on Sunday.

"The government does not procure paddy directly from the farmers or at the peak time of harvesting. On the other hand, the price is below the production cost. The farmers have to pay about Tk. 1,000 for harvesting one maund of paddy. But they are getting Tk. 500 per maund in return. To get rid of huge loss, I burnt my paddy planted on a plot of 56 decimals," said Sikder.

It is learned that rice traders and millers are not buying paddy, bringing down its price. Taking advantage of this situation, some middlemen are buying paddy at Tk. 500 per mound. Marginal farmers are compelled to sell the paddy at the lowest cost. The price is low in 12 upazilas of the district.

Dulal Sarker, a farmer of Pariata, said the government should pay attention to the farmers to save the country.

Kamrul Hasan, an NGO activist working with agriculture, said the condition of the farmers are miserable.

Kalihati agriculture officer AM Shahidul Islam said that more compensation and mechanisation in agriculture can cope with the situation.

DAE (Tangail) deputy director Abdur Razzaque said that paddy prices remain low during the harvesting time. If the farmers preserve the paddy for a few days, they can get good prices, he added.

Agriculture minister Abdur Razzaque said the government is thinking to export rice to cope with the situation. The government is thinking alternatives to save the farmers from incurring losses, he added.

The smile of Boro growers of Bhola district got faded into concerns after incurring losses due to low selling price against a production cost of their produces.

There has been a good production of Boro paddy during this season which made them dream of good days. But their happiness did not last long as the market price of Boro went down drastically.

By cultivating Boro paddy a farmer in the area is incurring loss over Tk10.000 per acre as they are to sell per maund of paddy at Tk350 to Tk380, said a farmer Abdul Baraque.

According to the sources of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), the production cost of paddy was Tk 780-900 a maund based on areas.

Officials from DAE in Bhola said Boro was cultivated on 55,927 hectares of land with a production target of about 2 lakh and 10 thousand metric tonnes during this season.

Deputy Director of DAE in Bhola Binoy Krishna Devnath said farmers are not interested in Boro cultivation anymore following continuous declining of prices.

Earlier, the Ministry of Food announced its target of procuring per maund of paddy at Tk 1,050 which was scheduled to be started from May 7. But it is yet to be started in Bhola while over 75 per cent of paddy has already been harvested in the district.

During a visit to Gupta Munshi village in Bhola Sadar our correspondent found that farmers were busy with harvesting and thrashing Boro paddy.

Abul Kalam, 45, a farmer of the area, told this correspondent he cultivated Boro paddy on five acres of land this season and harvested bumper yield of 3 tonnes per acre.

But the farmers expressed their frustration over low price to this correspondent. They said they are not happy with good yield as they are ultimately incurring losses.

When contacted, Bhola District Food Office sources said they would procure 2,318 metric tonnes of paddy and 5,940 metric tonnes of husked rice this year from the growers. But their procurement drive would start after Eid-Ul-Fitr.  

Local farmers said when the food department would start their procurement drive no paddy would be left to the farmers. The profit would be snatched by the middlemen, they added.