April 14, 2024, 8:39 pm

Betel farmers in Maheshkhali trying turn around

  • Update Time : Monday, October 12, 2020
  • 251 Time View
The view of a betel market

Jafor Alam from Cox’s Bazar:

Betel farmers of Maheshkhali in Cox’s Bazar affected with the corona pandemic are trying to turn around with a hope to survive.

According to the sources, about 30,000 farmers have started betel farming anew. The betel growers incurred huge losses as they could not supply the betel produced during the lockdown caused by Corona pandemic to different destinations of the country.

Maheshkhali sweet betel is popular in the country. It has also been exported abroad. One big Bida (80) was sold in January-February and March of this year at Tk 300 to Tk 400.

But, during the Corona pandemic, a Bida (80) betel was sold between Tk 40 and Tk 50.

The small shape of betel, which was sold at Tk 150 per Bida earlier, is now being sold at Tk 10. Due to the outbreak of corona, the price of betel has come down and the betel growers in Maheshkhali have faced losses. They are struggling to raise capital.  However, to turn around, betel growers have started cultivating betel in a new way.

Farmers say, they are now selling at several times lower prices than before.

In addition, it has become difficult to raise the money that was spent during the lockdown.  Even then, farmers have started cultivating in a new strength with the hope of getting the price in the upcoming year.

Moktar Ahmed, a betel trader from Maheshkhali said that people have reduced their consumption of betel due to the lack of supply for coronavirus pandemic.

Besides, the export of Beers abroad has been stopped. Due to the high supply of beverages in the producing areas, the overall price of Beers in the market is low.

Sarwar Alam, a betel farmer from Shaplapur Union in Maheshkhali said, a worker has to pay Tk 500 for breaking betel from morning till 10 am.  Now the situation is such that there is no wage for the workers by breaking the betel and selling it.

Regarding the price reduction, a farmer named Kalamarchara Abdur Rahim said that, wholesale buyers could not come from far and wide due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mahmudul Hasan Akand, Agriculture Extension Officer of Maheshkhali Agriculture Extension Department (AED) said that, 40,000 tons of betel has been produced in 1600 hectares of lands in Maheshkhali this year.  About 30,000 people are involved in betel cultivation.

“Farmers have suffered financially due to the corona”, he added.

 

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