Jashore: Farmers in Jashore, a district famous for its huge vegetable production, are now in great trouble as the prices of their produces have declined sharply for lack of marketing following the virtual lockdown amid the outbreak of coronavirus in the country, reports UNB.
Visiting Satmail Bazar in Sharsha upazila, the UNB correspondent found hundreds of vegetables vendors helplessly looking for buyers.This market is known as a hub of various vegetables and these go to different parts of the country, including the capital.
Pointed gourd was found selling at Tk 25 per kg, while radish at Tk 18, bitter gourd at Tk 30, eggplant at Tk 8, okra at Tk 10, bean at Tk 15 per kg, gourd at Tk 10 and cabbage at Tk 6 per piece at the market.
Ali Hossain, a farmer of Natuapara village in Sadar upazila, told UNB that he sold pointed gourd at Tk 35 to Tk 40 per kg last year during this period.
This year, Ali said, he is selling it at Tk 25 per kg only and he will not get even the production cost if he has to sell it at such a rate, he added.
Shukur Ali, from Boro Hoibatpur village, also expressed disappointment after selling cabbage at Tk 6 per piece. "Profit is a dream now because the selling price won't even cover the fertilizer and insecticide costs," he bemoaned.
Besides, wholesalers said they are not getting the fair prices vegetables in the capital and other districts for lack of buyers as many people left Dhaka due to general holidays.Anwar Hossain, a wholesaler of Jhenidah's Kaliganj upazila, told UNB that he had to sell pointed gourd at Tk 25 per kg after buying it at Tk 32.
Abdur Rahman, a local wholesaler, said transportation cost has also increased for lack of vehicles.
Earlier, he hired a truck at Tk 12,000 to Tk 14,000 for transportation of vegetables to Dhaka but now truck owners are demanding Tk 18,000.
Jakir Hossain, a deputy assistant agriculture officer at Churamonkati in Jashore, said now farmers are not getting fare prices due to bumper production on one hand and lack of buyers on the other.
Dr Akhtaruzzaman, a deputy director at Department of Agricultural Extension, Jashore, said farmers cultivate vegetables throughout the year in the district.
He said they produce around 8,000 mts of vegetables in the district on average every year.
Recently, the district has ranked first in producing vegetables but farmers are not getting fare prices due to the coronavirus outbreak, he added.
The government on Wednesday extended holidays till April 11 to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. Earlier, a general 10-day holiday was declared from March 26 to April 4. Besides, the movement of buses, trains and vessels has been suspended to curb the spread of the virus.
Bangladesh has so far reported six deaths from coronavirus while 61 confirmed cases.