Cyclone ‘Bulbul’ dealt a heavy blow to the dreams of hundreds of tomato growers in the coastal district as farmers now stare at bleak future scratching their heads to find ways to repay loans.
The situation on the ground was devastating in Charbaniari, Paschimpara, Krishnanagar, Bawalipara, Dakkhinpara, Santoshpur, Kharamkhali, Umajuri and Dakatia areas of Chitalmari upazila.
The green, frail branches of tomato plants have become pale and dried up.
“I don’t know how I’ll repay my loans,” said a frustrated Chittaranjan Basu of Krishnanagar village in Chitalmari, who cultivated tomato on 25 bighas land spending over Tk 200,000.
Bablu Basu, another tomato grower of Charbaniari area, said he cultivated tomato on 13 bighas land spending over Tk 100,000.
Farmers said agriculture officials are yet to visit the area.
They cultivated different varieties of hybrid tomato like Lovely, Beauty-1, 2, Panpata, Haitom, Beautiful and Bipul Glass, among others.
Tomatoes are usually harvested after 60 to 70 days of planting. The crop can be harvested for three months continuously.
Chitalmari farmers said they cultivated tomato by taking loans because of its high profit margin but their hardships went in vein.