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Dhaka Tribune

Jhenaidah farmers not happy with Boro price

Update : 08 May 2013, 08:40 AM

The Boro harvest season has already begun in the Jhenaidah district and while some farmers have already completed the harvesting, most of them will only being in about a few weeks.

However, the drop in the price of Boro remains a cause for concern for many farmers of the Sailakupa and Sadar upazilas of the district of Jhenaidah. Some of these farmers have benefited from the government’s Ganges-Kobadak Irrigation Project (G-K Project).

Margubar Rahman Mia from the Kashimpur village of Sailakupa upazila said he was happy with this year’s yields. He said he expected a harvest of about 1.8 tonnes of rice from his 1.5 bighas paddy.

 Mahfuzur Rahman Kala from the same village sowed Boro on his three bighas and expected to reap more than three and a half tonnes.

 But farmers like Ansar Ali Mandal of the Kabirpur village in Sailakupa upazila who did not benefit from the government’s irrigation project had to spend about Tk2,500 per bigha for irrigation, amounting to about Tk100 per maund (40kg).

Now they fear that all their hard work and investments may yield no fruit if they do not get good prices for their harvest.

 Jhenaidah District Food Controller Habibur Rahman said this year the government had decided to buy the Boro farmers’ crop at Tk740 per maund. But the decision is yet to be implemented. Besides, many farmers said if they sell to the government, it takes a lot of time before they receive their payment.

 That is why many are now selling their crop to private retailers at lower prices – around Tk700 to Tk750 a maund – in return for more immediate cash payments.

 Margubar Rahman Mia, who lives in the area that benefits from the G-K Project, said the cost of producing one maund of rice was about Tk750. This would mean that the current market price would generate no profit for the farmers.

 For farmers like Ansar Ali, who had to pay more for their paddies to be irrigated, the loss is much bigger. “The present price of Boro in the market would cause a loss of at least Tk150 [per maund] for me.”

 Abdul Latif, executive engineer of the Water Development Board in Jhenaidah, said the G-K Project was implemented during the Pakistan period and was meant for only the upazilas that fell under its influence.

 That was why, he said, it was difficult for them to provide cheap irrigation for all the farmers in the district.

 According to the local office of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), this year the farmers in the six upazilas of the district have cultivated Boro on 81,275 hectares of land.

 This season, the DAE’s target for Boro harvest was 322,016 tonnes on 83,636 hectares of land.

 The DAE office said last season’s harvest was around 343,421 tonnes.

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