FE Today Logo

Paddy price in Haor region drops to three-year low

Farmers demand setting up of procurement centre at each Haor union

FE Report | May 14, 2018 00:00:00

After experiencing devastating flash floods last year, Haor farmers are also in serious peril during this Boro harvesting season as its price reached a three-year low.

Influence of middlemen including local 'faria', wholesalers and husking millers is forcing them to sell their Boro paddy at half of their production cost, farmers said at a press conference on Sunday.

They also demanded setting up of a government procurement centre at each union in the Haor region comprising large areas of seven districts under three divisions.

The demand came at the press conference on 'agricultural crisis in the Haor region and the present condition,' organised by Haor Advocacy Platform (HAP) at Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU) in the city.

Farmers and their representatives said paddy was being sold at Tk 500-Tk 580 a maund against the production cost of Tk 900-Tk 950.

However, the average price of paddy in other parts of the country is now Tk 900-Tk 1,000 a maund.

Prof Chitta Ranjan Talukder, vice-president of Save Haor, Save Sunamganj Movement, said the production cost was minimum Tk 14,000 per bigha (33 decimals) this Boro season.

"We are getting 14-15 maunds of paddy worth only Tk 8,000-Tk 8,500 per bigha as it is selling at Tk 550-Tk 580 a maund," he said, adding that paddy price has dropped to a three-year low.

He said harvesting started in April and ended in the first week of this month. "But the government is yet to start procurement drive in the region," he added.

Sharifuzzaman Sharif, joint convener of HAP, in his keynote paper said 0.325 million farmers in Sunamganj are set to produce 0.8 million tonnes of rice this Boro season.

He said more than 0.5 million tonnes of paddy will remain surplus, but the government would purchase only 22,000 tonnes.

According to the keynote paper, the farmers in the region incurred losses worth Tk 20 billion last year due to flash floods which caused total damage to 98 per cent of crops.

Mr Sharif said the farmers in Haor region are witnessing 40-50 per cent losses, considering their investments.

The government will have to maximise its procurement target of rice from the region and should open purchase centre at each union to minimise influence of middlemen, he added.

Advocate Alal Uddin, vice president of Kisoreganj Samity, Dhaka said most of the farmers out of 1.0 million took out loans.

"Many of the farmers are now counting interest on their loans," he said.

He also urged the government to waive interest on bank and NGO loans taken by the farmers in the Haor region.

The Haor farmers also demanded that the government set the paddy procurement target in the region at 0.5 million tonnes instead of 0.1 million tonnes.

Sunamganj Samity joint secretary Menon Chowdhury and Netrakona Samity vice president Azizul Hoque, among others, also spoke at the press conference.

[email protected]

Share if you like