Low prices for crops in the previous season, the burden of loans and costly labour are discouraging an increasing number of farmers from growing boro paddy this year.
Agricultural experts said farmers in the southern region are turning away for various reasons, including increasing agriculture labour wage. This year, Khulna farmers did not buy 900 metric tonnes of boro seed of BADC.
Locals said aman paddy on 25,000 hectares and vegetables on 864 hectares of land were damaged during cyclone ‘Bulbul’. Besides, pest infestation damaged crops on several hundred acres in Rupsha, Botiaghata and Dumuria upazilas.
Farmers could not harvest anything but straws. Thousands of farmers were affected. Besides, they did not get fair prices for their produces in the aman season.
Md Liaqat Ali, Deputy Director of Khulna BADC (Seed), said cyclones ‘Fani’ and ‘Bulbul’ caused massive damage to farmers.
“There was a high demand for hybrid variety of,seed. Besides, many farmers opted for onion due to the unexpected price hike,” he said.
Sources at the agricultural office said 2,000 metric tonnes of seeds were allocated in the BADC’s warehouse of Satkhira, Kaliganj and Bagerhat for the current season. These include BR-26, BR-28, BRI-29, BRI-47, BRI-58, BRI-63, BRI-67, BRI-74, BRI-81 and BRI-86 varieties of paddy.
A total of 405 dealers of Satkhira, Khulna and Bagerhat sold 1,171MT seeds in November and December. The demand for BRI-28 variety seed is high in Fakirhat, Mollahat, Chitolmari, Shoronkhola of Bagerhat, Dumuria, Paikgachha, Fultola, Terokhada of Khulna and Kolaroa, Tala and Ashashuni upazilas of Satkhira.
Lutfor Rahman Bachchu, a farmer of Patkelghhata area under Tala upazila of Satkhira, said they have suffered a huge loss as they did not get fair prices of aman.
A Dumuria upazila agricultural official said there was much demand for BRI-28 variety boro seed. Farmers also purchased hybrid seeds of private companies.
“The high yield of BRI-28 high last year encouraged farmers to choose the variety again,” the official said, adding that boro paddy was cultivated on 21,315 hectares in the upazila.
Keshob Kumar Sadhu, a dealer from Patkelghata, said the demand for government boro seed is low in Dhandia, Kumira, Kholishkhali, Shalikha and Mirzapur areas of the upazila. A large number of farmers are making seedbed with the hybrid seeds of private companied.