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Plummeting chilli price frustrates Paba farmers

Our Correspondent | Published: July 10, 2019 20:59:44


Labourers at a village in Rajshahi sorting out newly-harvested green chilli before sending those to the market — FE Photo

RAJSHAHI, July 10: Vegetable farmers in Paba upazila have got frustrated over the unusual fall in the price of green chilli in the local markets of the district, even during the current rainy season.

Green chilli has been selling at such a low price in the markets for the last one month that from its sale the farmers cannot even recover the production cost.

Disheartened by the plummeting price of chilli, the farmers are destroying its plants and preparing their land to cultivate other crops or vegetables.

Farmer Motaleb of Khorkhori area under Kantakhali Police Station said a huge quantity of vegetables, including green chilli, is collected from his field and supplied to the city markets daily.

But, since the beginning of its harvest, the price of green chilli has witnessed a drastic fall.

If the price of chilli remains low like this for next couple of weeks, farmers will destroy their plants and till the land to cultivate other crops.

In Khorkhori Bypass area, green chilli was seen to sell at Tk 20 to Tk 24 per kg.

Farmers in Khorkhori area said the price of green chilli was also low last year.

To recoup the loss of last year, farmers had cultivated green chilli in more land this year. But, the price of the spice is disappointing for the farmers this year also.

According to the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) in Rajshahi, green chilli was cultivated on 1,737 hectares of land last year while the target of its cultivation this year was fixed at 1,865 hectares of land. 

Despite a low market price of green chilli, farmers were still taking care of their fields but some were also contemplating destroying the plants to clear land for cultivation of other crops or vegetables.

Farmers of Mohanpur upazila said two-year ago, there was satisfactory price of green chilli.

During the start of harvesting, the price of the item was Tk 25 to Tk 30 per kg and at a stage the price rose to Tk 95 to Tk 100 per kg. During the monsoon, the price stood at Tk 120 to Tk 180 per kg.

The production per acre of land was also satisfactory. But, from the very first day of harvesting this year, farmers were incurring loss from green chilli sale.

It is learnt, in the wholesale market of Bidirpur, each kg of green chilli was selling at Tk 18 to Tk 20 per kg.

Labour cost for plucking per kg chilli was Tk 12 to Tk 15, transport cost of every kg chilli was Tk 3.00 while the toll (tax) of the market was Tk 1.0 per kg.

As a result, after selling a kg of chilli, the owner gets not even Tk 1.0 profit per kg.

But, the labourers were giving some confession to the owner of the chilli fields.

Due to low price, the labourers were not charging the 'lunch cost'' which they used to charge for all laborious jobs.

Sharmin Sultana, upazila agriculture officer of Paba, said the DAE is responsible for cultivation of crops and vegetables but the prices of those are supervised by the market monitoring department. 

Shamsul Haque, deputy director of DAE, Rajshahi, said cultivation of all types of vegetables and crops depends on the mercy of nature.

"Farmers of our country are at risk in cultivation of all sorts of crops and vegetables. Even after a huge investment and personal labour, the farmers are often deprived of fair prices of their produces. Consequently, they lose interest in cultivation of the items," he added.

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