Staff Correspondent: Aman paddy harvesting season is going on now. Rice is being harvested and threshed simultaneously across the country. But due to the blockade, there are no buyers of rice in the market. The golden rice of the field is now rolling in the farmer’s house and yard. At the beginning of the season, the price of rice is going down drastically. Rice mill owners and wholesalers are not buying paddy from the market due to continuous blockade and fire. Mill owners are in fear of setting fire to trucks loaded with paddy on the way. The farmer’s head has been hit by this. They say that the blockade is giving them a ladder to ripe rice.
Due to the blockade, the sale of new Aman in the markets is almost stopped. Retail traders said that while earlier 70 trucks were plying a day for transporting goods, now it has come down to 10 to 20.
Angry farmers for not being able to transport vegetables.
The affected farmers staged a protest march against the hartal-blockade at Muladuli of Iswardiupazila in Pabna on Thursday. They protested the hartal-blockade by throwing raw vegetables on the highway.
It has been found that the price of Aman paddy has decreased from Tk 100 to Tk 200 per maund in a week. On Tuesday in the paddy market of Durgapur, Netrakona, small paddy (Dhani Gold) was sold for Tk 1000. But last week, the price of this type of rice was Tk 1100. Abu Sama, a local rice trader, said that the auto rice mills of Shambhuganj, Sherpur, Tangail, Jamalpur, Manikganj come with trucks to buy paddy every year during the paddy season, this time they are unable to come due to the blockade. Local businessmen also did not start buying paddy as they did not get money from the mill owners. As a result, there is a recession in the rice market. Meanwhile, the government has announced the purchase of Aman paddy at Tk 1200, but the farmers are not able to take advantage of this benefit due to the transportation crisis.
Now is the perfect time to sell early winter vegetables. Now is the time to catch fish and sell it because the canals are dry. Those involved in the agricultural sector are in trouble as the transportation of goods has stopped.
Production cost is not raised by selling vegetables. Winter vegetables are being destroyed in the fields due to the blockade. Winter vegetables are not reaching the consumers properly due to blockade due to vehicular movement. And those who buy and eat vegetables in the city, their expenses are also increasing. This season, despite the bumper crop, most of it is going to be lost due to the intensifying shortage of goods transportation or trucks.
President of Bangladesh Farmers Development Society Siddiqur Rahman Moyez said, agricultural products and farmers are being put in crisis by strike-blocking in agriculture-based and agriculture-dependent Bangladesh. We farmers do not belong to any party and do not do politics. We produce vegetables. But we cannot sell those vegetables. Cars are being set on fire. Even the homeless are not coming this time. Kalam, a vegetable trader from Bogra, brings a truck full of vegetables to the caravan market of the capital every morning. He said that he could not bring vegetables to Dhaka due to the blockade. He said that during the blockade, Bogra’s vegetable market collapsed, causing huge losses to the farmers. No one is buying vegetables due to the increase in transport costs due to the blockade. Wholesale traders are not coming from Dhaka. In 2014, the agricultural sector was the most affected by the continuous strike-blockade. After two years, this sector was severely damaged by the impact of Corona.
About 80 percent of the crops grown in the country throughout the year are produced in these six months from November to April. Aman paddy is being harvested in the field, seed bed preparation work is going on, wheat and potato planting has started in many areas. Maize and mustard cultivation activities are going on in villages. On the one hand, farmers are not getting fair price for their produce, on the other hand, the government’s agricultural incentive seeds and fertilizers are not reaching. Diesel transport is not possible at the field level for the upcoming boro season irrigation works in several parts of the country due to the suspension of goods transportation. Apart from this, there is also a crisis in fertilizer transportation.
Saiful Islam, director of the Department of Agricultural Extension, said that only 30 percent of the vegetables and fruits that are produced are eaten by those who produce them, or sold in the village market, while the remaining 70 percent go to big cities including Dhaka. The ongoing blockade situation is hampering this process. It seems that most of the vegetables that have been produced this time will be wasted. As a result, farmers will not get profit.
Agriculturist Azizul Islam said that farmers are suffering due to political programs like blockade. Despite the abundant yield of vegetables in the winter season, the farmers have been devastated as the marketing system has collapsed due to the blockade. Due to the blockade, winter vegetables, fish, fruits and other agricultural products can’t be sold in Dhaka or big cities. Wholesalers in local markets are sitting with their hands folded.
Abdul Ali, a wholesaler from Kashiganj area of Mymensingh, said that in previous years, big vegetable traders from Gazipur, Mymensingh, Sylhet and Dhaka used to come with trucks and buy vegetables from us. Now they are not coming because of the blockade.
Many small wholesalers like Abdul Ali bring the agricultural products from the village in trucks to the city and see profit, but this time they are not getting trucks to transport the products. Truck drivers and truck owners say that the truck was bought with a bank loan, if miscreants set fire to the truck, they will have to sit on the road.
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