Thursday, 23 March, 2023

Onion farmers in tight spot for rising input costs

  • ANM Mohibub Uz Zaman
  • 13 February, 2023 12:00 AM
  • Print news

Farmers are facing challenges in cultivating onions this year due to higher costs for seeds, fertilizers, and inputs as compared to last year.

The lower price of onions compared to the previous year has made it difficult for farmers to make a profit after investing a higher amount in producing the crop.

Market insiders have reported that some farmers have switched to other crops such as wheat, maize, and garlic due to the lower price of onions.

According to data from the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), so far this year, farmers have cultivated onions on 2.20 lakh hectares of land, compared to the target of 2.58 lakh hectares of land and the 2.56 lakh hectares cultivated last year.

The production cost of onions has increased significantly due to the recent increase in labor costs, seed prices, diesel prices, and fertilizers prices.

A farmer from Kushtia, Amirul Islam, said the cost of land preparation, irrigation, harvesting, and wages of laborers have increased substantially this year due to rising costs of essentials, fuel and electricity.

The director of the Field Service Wing of the DAE, Tajul Islam Patwary, said they are still expecting a good harvest of onions this year due to favorable weather conditions.

However, farmers remain concerned about the returns from onion cultivation due to the rise in seed, fertilizer, and other input costs this year.

According to local sources, the prices of locally produced onion seeds have increased from Tk 1,500 per kg to Tk 2,500-3,000 per kg, while Lal Teer King onion seed prices have increased from Tk 8,500 per kg to Tk 13,000 per kg. The prices of other onion seed varieties, such as Lat Teer hybrid and ACI King, have also increased significantly in the past year.

Some farmers have also been affected by cultivating substandard seeds this year, which has resulted in damage to most of their saplings.

Agro-economist and researcher Dr. Jahangir Alam Khan suggested that the rising input costs should be taken into consideration when calculating the production cost of crops and that this could lead to an increase in the price of agricultural food.

He also recommended that the government monitor the seed price and quality of imported seeds for a smoother production.

In the last season, the country produced 36.41 lakh tonnes of onions, which was 2.79 lakh tonnes more than the previous year.