May 25, 2024, 9:13 pm

Storage facilities needed to preserve vegetables in North

  • Update Time : Wednesday, May 8, 2024
  • 135 Time View
The photo shows the view of a child, who taking care of brinjal plants near her house. The photo was taken from Chalan Beel area in Tarash upazila of Sirajganj district recently. Photo: TDS

Bumper yield, but farmers fail to recoup production costs

Raz Mostafa:

Disappointment is growing among the farmers in the northern region especially in Sirajganj, Bogura and Pabna district as they can’t recoup their production costs even after getting bumper yield of their vegetables due to lack of sufficient storage facility for preserving their goods.

As a result, they almost incur losses while meeting the high transportation costs after harvesting the goods from fields.

Farmers of the northern region, which is known as the country’s food bank, said, “Though, the prices of all essential commodities have been increased doubled or three times over the past few years, farmers are not getting reasonable prices due to lack of preservation facilities. They are being forced to sell their goods immediately after harvesting from the field to the middlemen as they can’t preserve their goods for want of necessary cold storage. There is a dark cloud of worry in the eyes of farmers as they fail to recoup the production costs even after bumper yield. They are being compelled to switch their farming trend and are cultivating one crop changing previous ones with the hope of more profit.”

Farmers said, they incur losses, if produce huge quantity of perishable goods including potatoes due to lack of adequate cold storages. Of the other perishable vegetables, green chilies, tomatoes, gherkin, gourd, bottle-gourd, brinjal, green pumpkin and ladyfingers are mentionable. Those need to sell immediately after harvesting from field. Otherwise, those go to rotten in a short span of time.

Agriculture Extension Department (AED) sources said, potatoes are cultivated on around 3 lakh hectares of land in the region with a production target of around 70 lakh tonnes, which estimated worth is around Tk 7500 crore. Farmers of Sirajganj, Pabna, Natore, Bogura, Rangpur, Dinajpur, Lalmonirhat, Thakurgaon, Panchgarh, Gaibandha and Nilphamari expand their cultivable lands each year with the hope to get good price of potatoes. But their dreams turn into nightmare. About 3.5 lakh potato farmers in the region almost incur loss as they are forced to sell those untimely due to lack of space in the cold storages. Many of them, who cultivate potatoes and other crops after taking loans from usury traders or banks, face difficulties to repay the money.

Sources said, there are around 256 small and large sized of cold-storages in northern region with a storage capacity at only 31 lakh to 32 lakh tonnes of potatoes. Farmers fell into problems while they go to preserve their remaining potatoes. On the other hand, cold-storage owners are in dilemma as they are not able to preserve all the goods as per the farmers demand.

Rakibul Islam, a farmer of Chalan Beel in Tarash upazila of Sirajganj district said, “Many farmers in the region lean into other variety of vegetable cultivation instead of potato with the aim to earn good profit. But they face same problem in this field as they can’t transport those to expected destinations in a short time due to poor road communication at different rural areas. They are compelled to spend additional money as transport fare.”

“If they were able to protect their goods for a certain period, they could earn good money,” he added.

AED sources said, over 1 million people of the 16 districts in the both Rajshahi and Rangpur divisions are directly and indirectly involved with vegetable cultivation on around 3 lakh hectares of land. They produce around 50 lakh tonnes of vegetable, which market value is around Tk 10,000 crore.

AED sources also said that, farmers in the region had been faced problem over the price of jute during the harvesting season. Poor price made many farmers frustrated, while many were disinterested to cultivate jute for the next time. They sold their jute between Tk 1500 and Tk 2000 per maund, while its production cost was high compared to the sold money.

On the other hand, irrigation cost has been increased nowadays compared to earlier due to rising of fuel costs. Besides, immense load-shedding has become another cause of sufferings to the farmers.

AED sources revealed that, Boro paddy is cultivated on about 18 lakh hectares of land in the region depending on irrigation. There are about 6 lakh irrigation pumps in the region of which mostly run by diesel, while rest run by electricity. About 48 crore litres of diesel are used in those pumps for irrigation.

AED officials are apprehending that farmers of the region may face hardship this year and production of different goods may be hampered due to ongoing heatwave sweeping over the country for the last few days.

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