Boats carrying Boro rice to markets in a southern district recently. Farmers in different districts of Barisal division are facing losses as they are forced to sell their produce at almost half the prices the government has fixed. Photo: STAR
Farmers in different districts of Barisal division are counting losses in selling their paddy as their production costs do not match the government-fixed price.
A farmer of Galachipa upazila under Patuakhali district said he spent around Tk 30,000 to cultivate local variety of Boro on per hectare of land.
"I am selling my paddy at around Tk 7 per kg against the production cost of Tk 7.5," he said.
The farmers alleged that although the government fixed the paddy price at Tk 14 per kg, they are selling at Tk 7-8 to local traders being refused by the food department to collect paddy directly from the producers blaming low quality.
In Banaripara upazila of Barisal district farmers were found selling their paddy at half the government-fixed price, and the government also failed to procure paddy from them directly.
A farmer of Uzirpur upazila said he spent Tk 8,000 per hectare for irrigation purpose in Boro season this year, whereas the cost was Tk 5,000 last year.
A farmer from Swarupkathi upazila of Pirojpur said he had to spend Tk 8,250 per hectare for irrigation with diesel-run pumps. But if the electricity supply was normal, the cost would be Tk 6,000, he added.
The farmers in the region claimed that they had to spend around Tk 8,000 per hectare for irrigation due to erratic power supply.
The amount is around Tk 3,000 higher than that in the last season as they failed to take benefits of government subsidy on fuel price announced after Boro cultivation started.
Officials at the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) said if there was no shortfall in electricity supply during Boro season, the farmers would spend around Tk 4,500 per hectare for irrigation. The cost is Tk 5,250 per hectare if they use diesel-run pumps.
Only 60 tonnes of rice were procured in Barisal in last 20 days after the government started a four-month-long procurement drive from May 1.
The government set a target of procuring only 3,164 tonnes of paddy and 475 tonnes of rice from forty upazilas in six districts of Barisal division at the price of per kg rice Tk 22 and paddy at Tk 14.
The procurement quota included 1,377 tonnes paddy and 70 tonnes rice in Barisal, 193 tonnes paddy and 31 tonnes rice in Jhalakathi, 348 tonnes paddy and 65 tonnes rice in Pirojpur, 1,116 tonnes paddy in Bhola, 112 tonnes paddy and 309 tonnes rice in Patuakhali, and 18 tonnes rice in Barguna districts of the division.
Sukumar Chandra Roy, the regional food controller of Barisal, told The Daily Star that the farmers want to sell their paddy hurriedly without maintaining standards of drying and moistures and so are being refused by the food procurement department.