Sources at the Department of Agricultural Extension(DAE) in Rangamati said a total of 15,997 metric ton lychees have been produced on 1882 hectares of land this year
Bumper lychee yield in Rangamati hill area could have made the growers happy this year, but the scenario is now totally opposite as the price of the fruit has dropped in the markets dramatically due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Farmers said the widely known juicy and fleshy lychees in the hills of the district have a great demand across the country, and for this they pluck the ripe fruits.
But, the lychee-growers are very disappointed as they have to count unbearable losses due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Sources at the Department of Agricultural Extension(DAE) in Rangamati said a total of 15,997 metric ton lychees have been produced on 1882 hectares of land this year.
Visiting Banarupa Samataghat market in the town, this correspondent found that 50 pieces of local lychees are being sold at Tk 60-70 while the price was Tk 100-150 last year.
Traders were found to be selling China-3 lychee, a variety of the fruit, at Tk 200-250 while price varied from Tk160 to Tk 240 last year.
The loss in lychee would be more this year than the cumulative figure of last year because of the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Sumedh Chakma of Gorkahbachra village in Sadar upazila said, " I thought I will get more profit from 45 trees this year but corona ruined our fate and led to a huge loss in business. May God help us."
Another farmer of a lychee orchard in Rangamati Sadar upazila said, “I have 250 trees in my orchard. The production of lychee was very good this year, but I didn’t get a good price.”
The farmers said the government should look into the issue with serious consideration and make some way out. The orchards of Rangamat’si famous local and China variety of lychee are spread over 1882 hectares of land which yields the annual production of more than 15,997 metric tons.
"In 2020, the yield of lychee is more than that of last year. But the problem is more devastating in terms of this year's sale than it was in 2019," rued Varat Chakma of Sadar upazila.
Every day the farmers from several areas of the district come to Samataghat, Thobolchhari, and Truck station of the municipality and Reserve bazar by boat to sell the fruits. But they have to return in frustration due to the lack of customers.
The fruits cannot be sent to other parts of the country including the capital city due to the lack of vehicles.
The farmers urged the government to build up a cold storage in the district.
Paban Kumar Chakma, deputy director at DAE in Rangamati, said at least 15,997 metric tons of lychees have been produced in the district this year. The production of highly demanded varieties is bumper but the farmers are counting losses for the Covid-19 situation.
A cold storage should be built in the district soon for storing the seasonal fruits, he said.