The joy of reaping a good harvest this year did not last long for Boro farmers in Pirojpur after they stumbled on unexpectedly low prices at markets.
The harvesting of Boro began in the last week of April and likely to be over around the first week of May.
Farmers said the harvest has been good this year according to their anticipations, as they did not face any natural calamity or serious pest attacks in the rice fields.
Farmer Golam Mostofa Howlader, from Jujkhola village in Pirojpur Sadar upazila, said, “This year I hope to get over 50 maunds of paddy from each bigha of land.”
Another farmer, Shohag Sheikh, from Uttar Kadamtala village in the same upazila, said they did not encounter any problem in the fields during harvesting this year — thanks to clear days without rain.
However, day labourer wages during this peak season rose to between Tk 750 and Tk 800, he also said.
Many of the farmers said that despite a good yield amid favourable weather conditions, their hopes for a good return of investment are being dampened by the falling prices of paddy at markets.
Even though the government buys paddy every year, only a few farmers can sell it to the government, they also said.
“Now the highest amount you can get for a maund of paddy is Tk 700,” said farmer Barun Kanti Majumder, adding that Tk 900 for a maund of paddy on an average would ensure minimum profit for them.
Wholesale paddy buyer Milton Mridha, from Jujkhola village in the upazila, said the prices of Boro has been going down after rice millers stopped its procurement.
Shepon Chandra Ghosh, agriculture officer in Sadar upazila, said, “This year the production of paddy is good and if no natural disaster occurs before harvesting, they will benefit from it.”
They were also providing necessary assistance to farmers so the latter can sell paddy to the government, he added.
According to data from the Department of Agricultural Extension in Pirojpur, Boro has been cultivated on 24,533 hectares of land in the district this year, up from last year’s 22,915 hectares.
The government has set a target of buying 4,260 tonnes of paddy, at Tk 27 per kilogram, between April 28 and August 16 this year, as per a notice issued by the food ministry.