Spoiled and inferior quality jute seeds have flooded markets of Gobindaganj upazila under the district, much to the worry of farmers in the ongoing cultivation season.
After sowing the seeds from packets marked with best quality, only a small portion saw germination, many farmers alleged.
Jute seeds are now available in all grocery shops and makeshift seed shops at marketplaces but innocent farmers are often cheated as high prices are realised for low quality seeds in the name of quality items put in attractive packets of different brands.
The seed shops are decorated with attractive posters inscribed with Indian seed varieties bangabir, maharastra, bangaraj and tractor, and local varieties noor, sarker etc.
Many vendors are seen selling inferior seeds in open sacks for relatively low prices.
"I sowed jute seeds on one bigha of land, but only 20 percent of it germinated. Now I have to prepare the land again," said Abdul Quddus, a jute farmer of Kamaha village in Gobindaganj upazila.
"Jute growers are being cheated as many unscrupulous seed traders, who kept spoiled old seeds of previous years, are now selling it for high prices as per present market rate," said Mokhles Ali, a seed trader of Kamdia market.
At present a two-kg packet of Indian seeds is selling for Tk 180 to Tk 200, while the price of a 775-gram packet of seed from Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation is Tk 110, and a kg of local variety seed Tk 120 to Tk 150.
In absence of proper monitoring, dishonest traders have continued brisk business of spurious and inferior quality jute seeds, said Khorshed Alam, upazila agriculture officer, Gobindaganj.
Of the 1400 hectares of land to be brought under jute cultivation in the upazila this season, 1250 hectares is likely to be cultivated with tossa and remaining 150 hectares with local variety, he added.