Farmer airing frustration over low prices says he won't farm paddy again

Published: May 19, 2019 10:48:42 | Updated: May 19, 2019 18:06:56

Ayub Ali leased land, sold out his cattle, and borrowed money to cultivate paddy in this Boro season.

Bumper yield brought smile to the face of the 55-year-old farmer in Nilphamari.

But now when he is trying to take the harvest home and sell, Ali faces the bad time like other farmers.

Traders and millers are offering half the cost of production.

Ali leased eight bighas or over 2.65-acre land at total Tk 32,000 in this Boro season and produced 192 maunds of paddy.

To pay Tk 140,000 in total production costs, he had to sell his cattle and borrow money.

After selling his harvest at Tk 400 per maund or total Tk 76,800, Ali is looking for answers to questions he faces over making up the loss of Tk 63,200 in a single season.

“I’ve cultivated so much paddy. Now the money from selling the harvest is not sufficient to pay the production costs, let alone getting my investment back,” Ali said.

“If I have to count losses after cultivating paddy, I will stop cultivating paddy,” the frustrated farmer said.

He also complained about high labour cost. The money he paid the farm labours for cutting paddy on one bigha of land was equal to the price he got from five maunds, according to Ali.

The government is procuring Boro crop at Tk 1,040 per maund of paddy directly from farmers, starting from April 25 and ending on August 31, but the purchase has not started in Ali’s district yet.

In other places, where the procurement already started, farmers alleged that the government was not buying paddy directly from them, but from millers and traders, who are forcing the farmers to sell at lower prices.

Nilphamari Controller of Food Qazi Saifuddin Ovi said the government would launch the procurement drive in the district on Sunday.

Abul Kashem Azad, Deputy Director at the Department of Agriculture in the district, said adequate seed, irrigation and fertiliser coupled with good weather led to the bumper harvest.

The farmers will no longer face losses due to low paddy prices once the government procurement starts, Azad hopes.

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