Workers at wholesale Hajirhat market in Pabna put onions into sacks to supply them to different areas of the country. Photo: Star
Taking advantage of low price and poor sale, a wholesaler keeps a good stock of onions at a warehouse of the market to sell the vegetable at higher rates later. Photo: Star
The district saw bumper yield of onion this year, producing around one-fourth of the country's total yield but the growers cannot be happy due to its poor market price.
This season 19.6 lakh tonnes of onion was produced from 1.15 lakh hectares of land across the country while Pabna district alone produced 4.47 lakh tonnes of the popular vegetable on 36,972 hectares, said sources of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE).
“Traditionally Pabna is the highest onion producing district in the country as the soil and weather here is suitable for the purpose,” said AI Shahin, a development officer of DAE in Pabna.
According to DAE, 4,500 hectares of land in Pabna Sadar upazila, 14,150 hectares in Sujanagar upazila, 12,335 hectares in Santhia upazila, 2,700 hectares in Bera upazila, 1,017 hectares in Faridpur upazila, 1,015 hectares in Atghoria upazila, 610 hectares in Chatmohar upazila, 345 hectares in Bhangura upazila, and 300 hectares in Ishwardi upazila under Pabna district were brought under onion cultivation this year.
Per hectare production crossed 12 tonnes, farmers said.
“This year I have cultivated onion on two bighas of land spending Tk 30 thousand and got 60 maunds of yield. I have sold it at Tk 800 a maund whereas I sold the item for Tk 950 to 1000 last year,” said Md Abul Kalam Azad, a farmer of Maligasa village in Pabna Sadar upazila.
Taking with this correspondent, Md Sultan Ahmed, a wholesale onion trader, claimed that the low market price is the result of poor sale this year.
“We could not supply onion to different places of the country in time due to lack of transport facility amid frequent hartal last month. Most of the onion warehouses are being filled up and so, we cannot buy more onion this time,” Sultan said.
Farmers and small traders, on the other hand, said monopoly business of the wholesalers is the cause behind the poor market price of onion.
“Depriving farmers of fair prices, the wholesalers are stocking onion. The price will increase when onion from the farmers' houses are sold up,” said Ukil Uddin, a marginal farmer of Nolda village in Pabna Sadar upazila.