Impact of Covid-19: Fall in fruit prices worries Rangamati farmers | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 07, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, April 07, 2020

Impact of Covid-19: Fall in fruit prices worries Rangamati farmers

Despite bumper production of fruits, growers in Rangamati are incurring losses as the price has fallen drastically in the local markets of the district due to coronavirus outbreak.  

According to the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) in Rangamati, this time the farmers are very happy as they are getting bumper production of fruits due to advanced planting. As a result, they are earning good profit by selling the produces this year compared to last year.

But prices of fruits have witnessed a drastic fall in the local markets here in the last 11 days amid adequate supply as the fear over coronavirus outbreak has kept customers and fruit traders in Rangamati and the adjoining districts.

Traders from different areas in the country usually come to Rangamati to buy fruits from farmers at the field, said local growers, adding that but for the last few days, no traders were visiting the area due to coronavirus fear and that's why fruit farmers from different hill areas are now coming to local markets in the district to sell their produces. 

During a visit to a market at Banarupa Samataghat in Rangamati town on Saturday, this correspondent saw that the number of buyers dropped drastically. So, the growers were passing lazy time.

Nitimoy Chakma, owner of a pineapple orchard in Sadar upazila, said he came to the market with 2000-piece pineapple for sale but he did not get fair prices as most of the traders could not come from outside of Rangamati due to coronavirus outbreak.

"The pineapple would be rotten at garden if I couldn't sell it timely. I sold a pair of pineapple at Tk 10 to Tk 15 today, which was sold at Tk 30 to Tk 40 last week," he added.

Another owner Suman Chakma of Naniarchar upazila said "This year, I cultivated pineapple on two acres of land spending Tk 50,000. For the first time, I came to the market to sell the produce. But I am disappointed as price of the fruit has fallen drastically."

Muhammad Fazlu Mia, a watermelon grower in Rangamati Lemuchari area, said he cultivated watermelon on four bighas of land. He sold the summer fruit at Tk 30,000 till now. But a number of watermelons still lie in his field.

"I contacted with many traders from Chattogram to sell the watermelon but they told me they would not visit Rangamti this time due to the fear of the disease. Now I have to count huge losses as the price has fallen drastically in the local markets," he added.

Md Belal Hossain, a local trader, said "I collect fruits from different hilly areas, but I'm not buying those due to coronavirus outbreak.

Paban Kumar Chakma, deputy director of Rangamati DAE, said it is true that many fruit farmers are now incurring losses as prices of the fruits have drastically fallen due to coronavirus outbreak.

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