Despite bumper production of maize in several districts, farmers are frustrated due to its drastic fall of prices in the local markets.
Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) sources told our Thakurgaon correspondent that maize was cultivated on 21,860 hectares of land against the target of 21,498 hectares while 1,62,733 tonnes were harvested against a production target of 1,55,864 tonnes in the district.
In Panchagarh, farmers cultivated maize on 14,620 hectares of land against the target of 14,201 hectares with a production target of 1,02,960 tonnes in the Rabi season and produced 1,22,995 tonnes.
Maize cultivation had been gaining popularity due to its lower production cost, easy cultivation process and favourable weather and soil condition in the areas and farmers had been getting good return on its cultivation for the last several years.
But maize farmers saw unusual fall in prices of maize this season.
Each maund (37.3242 kg) of maize is selling between Tk 300 and Tk 350 in the village markets whereas it was sold at Tk 450 to Tk 500 during the last year's harvesting season.
Despite fall of prices there was poor number of buyers in the local markets.
Belal Hossain of Shingpara village under Sadar upazila of Thakurgaon told this correspondent that he cultivated maize on three bighas (.3306 acre) of land taking lease from a land owner of the village and produced 105 maunds of maize.
He sold his produces at Tk. 350 per maund and got Tk. 36,750. He was unable to make profit this season. Last year, he had made a profit of about Tk. 20,000 by cultivating the same land.
Shamsuzzoha, 55, of Sakoya village in Boda upazila of Panchagarh told this correspondent he cultivated maize on three bighas of land. He incurred losses as he sold his produces at low prices in the local market. His maize was also infected with fungus due to frequent rainfall and lack of sunny weather.
Deputy Director (DD) of Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) in Thakurgaon Bhupesh Kumar Mondal said that the prices of maize are a little low this year as the farmers cultivated it exceeding the targets.
Our Lalmonirhat correspondent says, farmers of five upazilas in the district are worried because of low prices of maize in local markets.
Farmers at different villages said that the prices of the grain fell by Tk 250 to Tk 300 per mound compared to last year's prices.
In the previous year, the price range was Tk 550 to Tk 600 a maund at the markets in the district, they said adding they were frustrated over the maize rate this year.
Asadul Islam Bapari, a farmer at Dahagram-Angarpota enclave of Patgram upazila said, he took some 40 maunds of maize to a weekly market but he could not sell it as the buyers offered only Tk 300 to 330 a maund. He said that his production cost was more than Tk 350 a maund.
“I cultivated maize on two acres of land and spent Tk 55,000 taking loan from Krishi Bank," he said.
“Most farmers had to sale maize at low prices as we have no godown to preserve it. Besides we have to repay loan taken from bank and NGOs”, said maize grower Meher Ali at Bhotmari village of Kaliganj upazila.
According to sources in the agriculture extension department in Lalmonirhat, maize was cultivated on a total of 25,650 hectares of land against the target 15,100 hectares this year.
Only 8,500 hectares of land were cultivated for maize last year, they said.