The people of the city are not getting out of the house, so many farmers are taking the vegetables back with them
Rahim Uddin, a pumpkin farmer, had cultivated the vegetable across four bighas of land, after overcoming last few years' natural calamities and price in the fall of rice. He was able to yield 3,000 pumpkins this season.
But this year, his fortune did not turn for the better thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, which forced farmers like him to remain at home indefinitely.
Rahim is still unable to sell 3,000 pumpkins, and remains unsure whether he can recover his costs this year or not.
"Even 12 days back, pumpkins could be sold for Tk10-12 per piece, but yesterday the prices came down to Tk3-4 apiece. This would be disastrous for farmers like me," he lamented.
He tried his luck at Nilphamari Bazar yesterday, with 50 pumpkins, but was able to sell two pieces till late afternoon.
"Last year I sold Tk2 lakh worth of pumpkins after cultivating them on 1.5 bighas. This year I extended the cultivation across 2.5 bighas more. I will definitely incur huge losses thanks to the coronavirus,"Rahim feared.
Alan Chandra Roy, a tomato farmer in Sadar upazila's Ramnagar union, said vegetables were perishable items and needed to be sold within a certain period.
"I am selling my produce at a rate which does not even recuperate my transportation expenses, let alone other costs," he added.
Fifteen days back, tomato was sold across the district at Tk20-22 per kilogram, but now that has come down to Tk14-15 per kg.
Nazir Uddin of Charikhola village of the same upazila said he bought vegetables from his fellow villagers and sold them in other unions and villages, which helped him feed his five-member family.
"People are living in captivity and their income has reduced. In other days, there was a lot of income in the neighborhood. Now the scenario has completely changed," he added.
Bullu Mia, a trader at Nilphamari kitchen market, said that vegetables were coming from villages in satisfactory quantities but there was no buyer.
"The villagers are not coming to the city. The people of the city are not getting out of the house, so many farmers are taking the vegetables back with them. Farmers are now in grave economic danger," he warned.
MdSirajul Islam, deputy director at the district's Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) office, said that due to the problem of lockdown, the vegetables produced by the farmers could not reach the consumers, including those in the capital.
In addition, the local haats have become empty due to buyers being unable to leave their houses. So now, the market is running slowly," he added.