Small and marginal farmers in Thakurgaon and Panchagarh are struggling to manage costs of cultivation of Robi crops like Boro, maize and various kinds of vegetables in the ongoing season due to a drastic fall in Aman paddy prices.
Most of the growers in the two districts are compelled to sell their Aman paddy at a lower price in the local markets to meet up their Robi crops cultivation expenses.
During a recent visit to different bazaars in Thakurgaon and Panchagarh this correspondent saw each maund (one maund is equal to 40kg) of paddy was selling at between Tk 550 to Tk 570, though it was Tk 650 to Tk 680 a month ago.
District agricultural officials and local paddy traders said the two neighbouring districts saw a huge Aman production this season compared to the previous couple of years.
Besides, insufficient supply of Aman paddy to other parts of the country from the northern districts and government's plan to procure a small quantity of paddy this year led to the present situation, farmers alleged.
Thakurgaon Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) Deputy Director Aftab Hossain said about 4,28,887 tonnes of rice have been produced by cultivating 1,36,790 hectares of land in the district this year.
Meanwhile, the production was 3,20,071 tonnes from 98,515 hectares in Panchagarh.
District Food Controller Mohammad Babul Hossain said the district food department has procured 30,985 tonnes of rice in the last procurement drive in Thakurgaon.
Meanwhile, the quantity was only 13,796 tonnes in Panchagarh.
Farmer Rafiqul Islam, 40, of Yakubpur village in Thakurgaon Sadar upazila said, “I cultivated Aman paddy on three bighas of land and got 40 maunds of production.”
“I sold 10 maunds of paddy at Tk 670 per maund about a moth ago,” he said adding that but last week he was compelled to sell the same paddy at Tk 550 per maund to manage costs for pumpkin and maize cultivation.
Motiar Rahman, 40, of Tunirhat village in Panchagarh Sadar upazila, said due to the fall in Aman price he has been struggling to manage costs of tomato and maize cultivation.
Another grower Joynal Haque of Bhabrangi village in the same upazila said he got 70 maunds of Aman paddy from his five bighas of land but could not make any profit.
Mahmud Hasan Raju, general secretary of District Rice Mill Owners' Association, said due to a higher production growers in the region are witnessing a drastic fall in Aman paddy price this year.