Summer tomato in the district is selling at throwaway prices, much to the frustration of growers.
The situation has arisen as the popular vegetable has huge supply but much less buyers amid transport problem due to political chaos and frequent hartal across the country.
Lack of storage facility for the highly perishable item adds to the problem.
During a visit to different markets during the last few days, this correspondent saw the popular vegetable selling for as low as Tk 80 to 90 per 40kg.
Last year 40kg of tomato sold for Tk 600 to Tk 800, depending on its quality and size, said local growers.
Many tomato farmers left their produce on the field or threw it into the river as the market price of the item would hardly cover even the carrying cost.
Summer tomato started arriving at local markets in last month.
“We had hoped to get good profit but the drastic fall of price finally dashed our hopes,” said Kader Mia, a summer tomato grower of Gabura village in Dinajpur Sadar upazila.
“We have to pluck tomato and sell it hurriedly to prevent its rotting during the ongoing hot weather. If a cold storage is set up for preserving the item it would be of great help to us,” said Rafiqul Islam, a grower of Kawgaon village in Dinajpur Sadar upazila.
Sources at the Department of Agriculture Extension in Dinajpur said 1,613 hectares land in the district was brought under summer tomato farming to produce two lakh tonnes this season.
This time few buyers from different districts including Dhaka, Chittagong, Manikganj, Shariatpur, Comilla, Narayanganj, Sylhet, Mymensingh and Barisal come to buy tomatoes as there was transport problem due to political chaos and frequent hartal across the country, market sources said.
“Traders of my district are not interested to come to Dinajpur for buying tomato as truck drivers are demanding double the usual charge due to uncertainty on the way amid frequent hartal,” said Md Kuddus Mia, a buyer from Shariatpur.
According to the farmers, Tk 80,000 to 1 lakh was spent for summer tomato farming on one acre of land that produced 30 to 40 tonnes of tomatoes.
“If we don’t get fair price of our produce, we can’t repay the loans taken for the purpose,” said Kanu Mia of Rajarampur village in Dinajpur Sadar.