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Overpriced seeds, pesticides frustrate Comilla vegetable farmers

  • Published at 10:37 pm November 6th, 2019
Vegetable Seedling Comilla
Vegetable seedling farmers in Comilla Dhaka Tribune

According to farmers, the making of seedlings was greatly hampered by too much rainfall at the beginning of this vegetable farming season. Growers could not even sell their ready seeds to farmers in time. They had to raise fresh seeds again at a huge loss

Farmers in Comilla are facing difficulties in growing vegetable seeds for a number of reasons, including the high price of seeds, pesticides, and other materials needed to produce seeds.

According to farmers, the making of seedlings was greatly hampered by too much rainfall at the beginning of this vegetable farming season. Growers could not even sell their ready seeds to farmers in time. They had to raise fresh seeds again at a huge loss.

Seed farmers said the production of seeds has now become very costly. Most  farmers do not own land and they have to lease land, adding to the cost of production. 

It also takes a lot more money these days to buy starter seeds, fertilizer, pesticides and other materials like bamboo and polythene sheets needed to protect seed beds. In the end, the farming turns out to be a complete loss, plunging many farmers into debt.      

Mamtaz Mia, a farmer from Hossainpur village in Bharella union, said the price of vegetable seeds has doubled compared to last year. Pesticides and other materials have also become very costly which has made vegetable farming very risky.

Many other farmers in the region also echoed similar sentiments about their difficulties in seed farming.

Usually, seeds for seasonal vegetables such as tomato, cauliflower, cabbage, eggplant, onion, pepper, gourd, and pumpkin, are produced in various villages of Comilla Sadar Dakshin, Burichang, and a few other upazilas in the district.  

Agriculturist Md Shahidul Haque, district training officer of Comilla Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), said: "The grown vegetable seedlings are usually sold at the end of September. However, unexpected rainfall at the beginning of September ruined the seeds causing a huge loss to growers. 

"Farmers had to invest more money to grow fresh seeds again. Under these circumstances, the Department of Agriculture is now considering providing loans to farmers on easy terms," he added. 

Concerned people in the agriculture sector believe that easy loan arrangements for small and marginal vegetable farmers will eventually increase overall vegetable production and contribute to the economic development of the country.

On the bright side, it is true that farmers have also built long nurseries alongside the Dhaka-Chittagong and Dhaka-Sylhet highways to grow seeds. Farmers in Chittagong, Noakhali, Comilla, and Sylhet, now have easy access to these vegetable seeds due to an improved road transportation system.