Low price frustrates salt farmers

ANM Mohibub Uz Zaman

24 May, 2019 12:00 AM printer

Salt farmers are not getting fair price of their products as the price of salt has declined drastically at the growers’ level after a bumper production this year.

Farmers said they sold salt at Tk 530 per mound last year, but the price declined to Tk 150 per mound this season, down from Tk 280-350 per mound at the beginning of the season.

Due to favorable weather conditions, salt production increased to 18 lakh tonnes in around 13 salt producing hubs in the country. The majority portion of the country’s salt demand is met by the salt produced in Chakaria, Pekua, Moheshkhali, Kutubdia, Teknaf, and Cox’s Bazar Sadar upazilas and Banshkhali upazila of Chittagong. Around 400,000 people are involved in salt farming.

Anisur Rhaman, a slat farmer at Chakaria, said he is cultivating salt in 20 kani (1 kani =39 decimal) of lands but due to lower prices he is worried about the recovery of his investment.

He said, “Salt price was Tk 280-350 per mound three months ago but the price fell to Tk 150 per mound now.”

Salt processing companies reduced their purchase amid a high salt production this year, causing a drastic fall in the price at the growers’ level.

Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industry (BSCIC) have fixed salt production target at 18 lakh tonnes from 64,147 acres of land against the demand of 16.65,000 tonnes this year.

Deputy General Manager Dildar Ahmed Chowdhury at Salt Industry Development project of (BSCIC) in Cox’s Bazar said the farmers of theses areas produce salt from December to May and this year till now they have been produced 18 lakh metric tonnes of salt.

Another salt farmer of Chakaria, Md. Faruq, said he has been produced salt in 5 kani (1 kani =39 decimal) of land.

“Around 250 mound of salt is being produced from one kani of land and the production cost is around Tk 45, 000,” he said, adding that the price is not increased the farmers will face huge losses.

He also called upon the Salt Board to ensure fair prices of their produce.