A section of traders are doing brisk business with Irri-boro seedlings at the local markets taking advantage of their prevailing crisis.
Farmers are compelled to buy seedlings at high rate because of peak season of cultivation of the paddies.
Local farmers said many seedbeds and seedlings in the district were damaged due to severe cold and dense fog at the fag-end of winter.
A large number of farmers are facing trouble as they are not getting enough seedlings for farming.
Poor and marginal farmers bear the brunt as a bundle of 150 to 160 seedlings is being sold at Tk 6 against Tk 4 last year.
However, the production cost of two bundles of seedlings is not more than Tk 2, farmers said. At least 250 bundles of seedlings are needed to cultivate one bigha of land (30 decimal), they said.
Mansur Ali, 45, a farmer of Etapota village in Sadar upazila, said seedlings crisis has made his IRRI-boro cultivation uncertain.
Farmer Helemul Alam Sarker, 55, of Kashiram village in the upazila, said that he had prepared boro seedbeds on 20 decimal of land this season.
"But 50 per cent seedlings were damaged due to severe cold and heavy fog. So I have to purchase seedlings from the local market at high price now."
Manirul Islam Shaikh, a seedling trader at Durakuti Haat (market) in Sadar upazila, said they purchased seedlings from different districts at high price.
"So we also sale those at high price at the markets," he said.
According to the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) sources in Lalmonirhat, local farmers prepared seedbeds on 2,287 hectares of land to cultivate IRRI-boro on 53,600 hectares this season, they said.
Most farmers have already completed cultivating IRRI-boro in their lands and only a few farmers are facing seedlings crisis.
They prepared seedbeds late, because of which those were damaged by fog, said Abdul Mazid, deputy director of Lalmonirhat DAE.