Though maize is considered as one of the main cash crops in agriculture based Lalmonirhat, farmers are very much upset as they are not getting fair price of their produce this year.
A number of maize growers in the district alleged that all the local markets are controlled by influential syndicates as there is no government fixed price for maize procurement.
They got a good price of maize in the local markets and at different private purchase centres of the district last year, this year they are selling the crop at low prices.
Now each maund of maize (one maund=40 kg) is selling at Tk 550 to Tk 600 in local markets while the production cost was Tk 400 to Tk 420.
Last year the price was Tk 750 to Tk 850 per maund.
Maize grower Golap Hossain of Char Dawabari in Hatibandha upazila said he spent Tk 10 to Tk 12 thousand for farming maize on one bigha of land and got an output of 30 to 35 maunds from each bigha.
“I cultivated maize on 12 bigha of land this year while the cultivation area was nine bigha last year,” Golap said.
“We hoped that we would get a good price for our produce like the previous year, but it is fading away now as we are not getting our expected price this year,” said farmer Shahidar Rahman of Char Shalmari area in Kaliganj upazila.
District Marketing Officer in Lalmonirhat Abdur Rahim said, “There is no government fixed price for maize procurement. Though the market price was pretty good last year, it saw a drastic fall this year and the syndicates are taking its advantage.”
Mostafa Tazawar, managing director of Latif Farm, a maize purchase centre at Bawra in Patgram upazila, said they have huge stock as many feed mill owners imported a vast amount of maize from neighbouring India.
Sharif Mohammad Mahbubul Alam, senior purchase officer at Agro Industrial Trust (AIT) in Patgram upazila, said there are around 100 maize purchase centres in the district where farmers can sell their produce.
According to Lalmonirhat Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), maize was cultivated on 27,800 hectares of land this year, while it was 25,600 hectares in 2018, 24,300 hectares in 2017 and 8,700 hectares in 2010.
Lalmonirhat DAE Deputy Director Bidhubhushan Roy said a good number of farmers in the district now prefer to grow maize instead of wheat as it has a high demand in local feed mills.