Gaibandha farmers reap onion early as prices high | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 21, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:53 AM, November 21, 2019

Gaibandha farmers reap onion early as prices high

Cultivation falls in Lalmonirhat as prices were too low in previous years

A good number of farmers in Sundarganj upazila of Gaibandha are harvesting their onion a bit early this season as the prices of the cooking item is too high amid the present crisis in the markets across the country.

Meanwhile, farmers in Lalmonirhat cultivated onion in much less areas of land this year, following bitter experiences due to low prices in previous years.

Onion growers of char land along Teesta river basin in Sundarganj upazila are getting unexpected profit from early variety of leafy onion taken as a vegetable, reports our Gaibandha Correspondent.

As the item is selling at Tk 120 per kg in the area, many farmers have started harvesting immature plants, said locals, adding that in last year, it was sold for a meagre Tk 15 to 20 per kg.

“This year I gained much profit from onion cultivation, which I could not even imagine earlier,” said Wahed Ali, a farmer of Madaripara village in Haripur union, who cultivated onion by sowing seeds on three bighas of land.

Another farmer Rafiqul Mia said he grew leafy onion on half bigha of land, and sold 45 kg of plants at Tk 120 per kg.

Leafy onion plants were sold at Tk 140 to 150 per kg only a few days ago, while imported or quality onion, used as spice, sold at Tk 240 per kg, said Shamim Mia, a vegetable trader at Sundarganj market.

The prices started decreasing after leafy onion plants from char lands started reaching the market a week ago, said traders.

According to upazila agriculture office, this season’s target of onion cultivation area was 150 hectares of land, but farmers grew the item on more lands.

“Generally onion is cultivated in two ways -- sowing seeds and planting small onions. The latter yields better and can be preserved for long to be used as a spice. Lands in char areas are especially suitable for onion cultivation by sowing seeds and its plant with leaves are taken as a vegetable,” said Sayed Reza-e-Mahmud, upazila agriculture officer of Sundarganj.

However, onion grown from sowing seeds has very little overall impact in the market as it cannot be preserved for long, he added.

Our Lalmonirhat Correspondent reports: Onion cultivation saw a serious fall, especially in char lands of Teesta river basin areas in Lalmonirhat this year as farmers got discouraged due to low prices of the item in previous years.

Officials of the Department of Agriculture Extension in Lalmonirhat said onion has been cultivated on 350 acres of land in the district although it was 520 acres in last year and 720 acres in 2017.  

Afzal Hossain, 58, a farmer of Char Sindurna on the Teesta river in Hatibandha upazila, said this year he has cultivated onion on only two bighas of land against four bighas last year as he did not get expected price that time.

“We get five to seven maunds of onion from each bigha of land and the production cost ranges from Tk 5,000 to Tk 6,000. We sold onion for Tk 1,000 to Tk 1200 per maund (a maund = 40 kg) in last year and earlier,” said Nur Islam, 50, another farmer in the same area.

“But this year, I hope to get good prices from selling onion from my three bighas of char land. The harvest will start within a week,” he said.

Sahidul Islam, 44, a vegetable trader in Lalmonirhat town’s Goshala Bazar, the district’s biggest kitchen market, said the onion prices have started decreasing in the local markets but it is not likely to come below Tk 100 per kg by next week.

This season framers are expecting good prices for onion whereas the item was sold for only Tk 25 to Tk 30 a kg in last year, he said.

Lalmonirhat Deputy Commissioner Abu Jafor said, “With the new harvest expected to start in a week, there will be abundant supply of local onion in the markets and demand for imported onion will fall.”

Farmers will increase onion cultivation if they get good prices, said Lalmonirhat Sadar Upazila Agriculture Officer Enamul Haque.

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