USUALLY, Bangladeshi farmers suffer crop losses far beyond the maximum stipulated limit, principally because of chronic shortage of cold storage facilities. Such wastes were brought to a sharper relief during blockades and hartals in the two months prior to January 5 election: Huge waste of beans and potatoes was reported from various parts of the country. Farmers of these produces had to either let the perishable crops rot or sell the commodities at throwaway prices. Many of them had procured seed money at high interest rate to meet the cost of production. And yet they couldn't market their produce to get return on their investment, let alone get remunerative prices. They ran into deeper debts, many of them pauperized.
This is a national issue. Whilst our productivity has increased, output has far outstripped the growth of silo or cold storage facilities for the preservation of, particularly food crops. It is intertwined with the concern for food security, not to be oblivious to our export potential in terms of some surplus produces. Cold storage is an essential prerequisite even for agro-based processing industries.
Farmers under the banner of Bangladesh Krishak Unnayan Samity on Tuesday urged the government to build cold storages in districts with high agricultural output. While the government's facilitation role holds the key, the private sector entrepreneurs should come in a big way to set up modern storage facilities on a scale comparable to rising productivity.