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Low paddy price worries Dinajpur farmers

The farmers of the district were in an upbeat mood with the bountiful production of Boro paddy this time, but its low price, caused by the delay in launching the government’s procurement drive, has robbed of their delight.As middlemen have become active at different bazaars of the district in absence of the government procurement drive, the Boro growers are getting deprived of its due price, market sources here said.
Deputy Director of District Agriculture Extension Department Anwarul Alam said a total of 1.75 lakh hectares of land were brought under Boro cultivation this season and the production is likely to hit 7 lakh metric tons.
The farmers who cultivated boro in advance were happy seeing its bumper production, but now they are worried whether they would at all be able to recoup their production cost.
According to the farmers, they could not make profit for the last three years either by farming boro paddy.
Golam Mustafa, a farmer of Madhabbati in Birol upazila, said this year the production cost was higher than the previous years due to higher prices of diesel, electricity and agricultural inputs.  Besides, they had to spend more on irrigation due to drought.
Another farmer, Ashiqur Rahman, said, “I was very happy seeing bumper production, but the boro price has really disappointed me”. He said this time he is selling Boro paddy at Tk 500 per maund, which is unlikely to help him to recoup the production cost.
Sources at the District Food Control said this year a target has been set to procure 94,700 metric tons of paddy and 5,300 metric tons of rice for one CSD godown and 26 LSD godowns.
This year the government has fixed the procurement price of paddy at TK 18.50 per kg while that of rice at Tk 34 per kg. Although the
procurement drive was scheduled to start on May 1, it has not started yet.
District food controller Anwar Hossain said the procurement drive could not be launched in the district due to delay in receiving
necessary papers from Dhaka. “The drive will start soon and then the farmers will get the fair price,” he hoped.
President of Farmers’ Welfare Association of Sehel Gazi said the traders are not buying rice and paddy at the prices set by the
government. They are purchasing paddy at TK 450-550 per maund against Tk 740 per maund fixed by the government.
President of district Farmers’ Association Altaf Hossain said this year the production cost of per maund paddy was Tk 650-700 and the farmers will incur huge losses if they will have to sell paddy at Tk 450-550 per maund.
(UNB, Dinajpur)

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