• Thursday, Dec 09, 2021
  • Last Update : 12:42 am

Vegetable growers victims of political unrest

  • Published at 06:05 pm December 20th, 2013
Vegetable growers victims of political unrest

When vegetable and potato prices have shot up in Dhaka and other cities for short supply, rural markets are replete with agricultural produces due to disruption in transportation because of frequent blockade programmes.

As vegetables are perishable items, it requires quick transportation, but the lorry-charges have increased a lot due to the blockade. As a result, the supply has decreased to the capital and other city markets.

Our Jhenaidah Correspondent reports: Vegetable growers in the district have started selling their agri-produce at lower prices, which are below their production costs.

Over 50% of the vegetables produced in the district are being sent to Karwanbazar, Farmgate and Shyambazar wholesale market in the capital.

Abdul Mannan of village Khalishpur in Moheshpur upazila said he had produced cabbage and cauliflower on three bighas of land this year.

He had already harvested about 50% of the vegetables. But he was compelled to sell his vegetables at lower prices in local markets for non-availability of transport.

“After harvest, I thought that I will sell the vegetables at least at Tk60,000(per maund), but I sold  the vegetables at only Tk17,000.

“There are actually no customers to purchase the vegetables from me, although my produces were of better quality in shape and size. At last to meet the prices of fertiliser, pesticides, irrigation cost and day labourers, I have sold them at marginal prices.” Abdul Mannan said.

Another vegetable grower Nitai Pada of village Barobazer in Kaliganj upazila said the blockade had slapped on his fate as he could not recover even 20% of the actual price selling his vegetables for the political unrest.

Vegetable vendor Nasir Uddin of Faridpur said the continuous blockade had marred their trade as they were not in a position to send any vegetables from Jhenaidah and Jessore markets.

A good number of vegetable growers had left their vegetable plots when they failed even to harvest the cauliflowers, cabbage, pumpkin and some other vegetables from the plots as the crops could not cover the harvest cost, he added.

According to the Department of Agriculture Extension, the department had set a target to cultivate vegetables on 10,608 hectares of land in the district this year.

According to Department of Agricultural Marketing (DAM), the average prices of per quintal cauliflower, cabbage, bean and brinjal at district level wholesale markets were Tk4,208, Tk2,560, Tk 4,778 and Tk 2,942 respectively in October.

But the weekly price bulletins are showing a 30-60% fall in the prices in the first week of December. The DAM figures out the average district-level prices from the weekly bulletins prepared by 68 the DAM stations across the country.

The December 4 bulletin by of the organisation said the vegetable basket of the country, showed that the wholesale prices of per quintal cauliflower, cabbage, bean and brinjal were at Tk1,800-2,000, Tk1,200-1,300, Tk1,500-2,500 and Tk1,200-2,000 Respectively in Jessore.

In Joypurhat the average prices of per kg vegetables are now varying from Tk20 to Tk30 against the average prices of Tk60 to Tk80 a month ago.

In the district, bean is selling at Tk20 per kg against Tk40 per kg about a month ago.

Brinjal is selling at Tk10-15 per kg against Tk40 per kg a month ago.

The DAM is struggling to figure out the average district prices up to dateas only a few of the 68 stations are being able to prepare their bulletins and send it to the Dhaka headquarters due to the transportation havoc over the last two-three months, said an official on condition of anonymity.

Deputy Director of the organisation Abdur Rashid said its stations in northern region of the country, and in Jessore-Satkhira belt, are reporting the fall of winter vegetables.

 Meanwhile, the price of newly-harvested potato has also fallen drastically at the growers-level from Tk 1,200 per quintal to Tk 850 per quintal over the last seven days due to halt in transportation, according to farmers in the northern districts.

“Traders are offering very low price as transportation of the crop to Dhaka has almost been halted due to blockades and hartals,” M Shah Suja of Nilphamari said.

However, the price of newly-harvested potato was reported to be hovering around Tk12-16 per kg at the retail level across Rangpur and Rajshahi divisions, and around Tk25-35 per kg in Dhaka and Chittagong divisions Thursday, according to the DAM.

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