Farmers to incur huge loss
Zarif Mahmud: This year’s Boro season was the highest cost year for farmers. Irrigation fuel diesel and electricity prices are at record levels. Due to the drought, irrigation has also taken a lot. At the same time, fertilizers, pesticides and labor wages have increased. But at the end of this season of unlimited consumption, farmers are not getting the desired price of rice. They claim that the cost of production is not rising.
According to the calculations of various government agencies, this year, the production cost per maund of boro rice is more than Tk 1150. But after searching in different areas of the country, it is known that Boro paddy is being sold at the rate of Tk 800 to Tk 900 (coarse paddy) depending on the area in the current season. The price of raw rice is even lower. The price of narrow varieties of rice is Tk 900 to Tk950. Farmers claim that they are not making profit by selling paddy at this price. Last year also, the price of paddy was higher than this.
Farmers say that the cost of boro production in one bigha (33 percent) of land in the last boro season was between Tk 10,000 and Tk 11,000, which has increased to Tk 14,000 and Tk 15,000 this year after increasing irrigation, fertiliser, pesticides and wages. In this, the cost of irrigation increased by about one to one and a half thousand rupees per bigha due to increase in diesel price. Cost increased by Tk 700 to Tk 800 due to increase in fertilizer price. Besides, seeds and pesticides had to be bought at high prices.
All other expenses including paddy maintenance, wages of harvesting workers, threshing and transportation are also additional. They are not getting the fair price of paddy even though the price of everything has increased several times. Paddy has to be sold at a lower price than the cost of production.
Enamul Haque, a farmer of Shanta village of Akkelpurupazila of Joypurhat told Daily Industry that due to the high cost of fertilizer and irrigation, he had to borrow paddy this time. Tk 2000 per bigha for fertilizer and Tk 1000 more for irrigation. Now the paddy is not being paid. Forced by creditors to sell paddy in the market at a low price.
He said, a worker has to pay a wage of Tk 800 to Tk 1000 to cut paddy. With three meals. But in this area, coarse paddy (raw) is being sold at Tk 900. By selling paddy at such a low price, the cost of production is not rising. Losing.
Harunur Rashid, a farmer from Hogalbari area of NaogaonSadar in the neighboring district, cultivated boro on six bighas of land this year. He has calculated how much the cost has increased after the increase in the price of fertilizer. Harun said that earlier, a total of Tk 2,990 was spent on fertilizer for paddy cultivation in one bigha land. After increasing the price of fertilizer in April, the cost is Tk 3645.
He said that the price of Urea, DAP, TSP, MOP fertilizers has increased by five taka per kg and now it cost Tk 1080 per bigha to buy 40 kg urea fertilizer, Tk 630 for 30 kg DAP, Tk 475 for 25 kg MOP, Tk 750 for 20 kg gypsum, 3 kg Tk 350 were spent on magnesium, Tk 210 on 1 kg of zinc and Tk 150 on 1 kg of boron.
Feroz Hossain, a farmer of Chakprasad village in that district said, “There has been a bumper in the yield of boro in my land. The yield of all around has been good. Still, no one is happy because of the cost. Because the price of rice has not increased compared to the cost, but has decreased.
He said that apart from the cost of cultivation, the cost of harvesting paddy is Tk 4000 per bigha. Another Tk 1,000 was spent to bring it from the land to the house and another Tk 500 was spent to thresh the paddy. From planting rice to bringing it home, its cost is about Tk 15,000.
Expressing his dissatisfaction with the price, he said, last year too, the price of coarse paddy was Tk 1,200. This time, the cost of paddy cultivation is higher, but the price is Tk 980 to Tk 1000. There is a loss by selling paddy.
Belu Mia of RaninagarAbadpukur village said that they had to irrigate every two days due to the fear of leopards in summer. That is why the cost has increased a lot, which was not the case in other years. He said that about 20 liters of diesel is required for irrigation and cultivation per bigha of his land. Tk 500 per bigha has been spent this year due to increase in diesel prices.
n the other hand, speaking to some farmers of several regions including Rajshahi, Dinajpur, Mymensingh, Bhairav, it is known about the same situation. All costs have increased, but the desired price does not match that. This time the additional cost of rice has increased up to 15-20 percent due to drought. Due to the drought, the wages of the workers are also high. However, due to the drought in some areas, the yield of paddy has decreased slightly. In some areas of the northern region, rice has also been destroyed due to blast disease. Their losses are even higher.
Shamsul Haque, a farmer of Paba upazila of Rajshahi, said that he spent Tk 14,000 per bigha to cultivate Bri-28 rice this time. Due to some heat in the summer, the yield of paddy was 18 maunds per bigha. However, the labor cost and transportation will not make a profit at the price of rice that is sold at that price.
In different areas of the country, workers can be paid with paddy instead of money. Abdul Majid, a farmer of Rajshahi’sGodagariupazila, said that if six-seven workers cut and thresh one bigha of paddy, they would have to pay about two and a half maunds of paddy next year. This time the workers are asking for four and a half manas. Because the price of rice is low, the demand for labor is high. Even then, workers are not available to harvest rice.
According to the Department of Agricultural Extension, about 60 percent of the rice produced in the country comes from the Boro season. It is estimated that 2 crore 15 lakh tons of rice will be produced in this season. So far, about 100 percent of the paddy harvesting in Haor area and almost half of the entire country has been completed.
Most of Haor’s paddy is sold at Bhairab. There the price of paddy was slightly higher in the beginning but now it is steadily decreasing. Helal Mia, the owner of Helal Traders, a paddy and rice wholesaler, told that the price was good in the beginning. Now decreasing. As a result, farmers have also reduced the sale of paddy. We are also unable to sell the purchased paddy in the city market.
Although the government says that the government is buying paddy at a higher price this year for the benefit of the farmers. This was said by the food minister at the press conference after the virtual inauguration of Boro Collection Abhiyan-2023 in his office at the Secretariat last Sunday. He said that farmers should get good prices for their crops. We are happy when farmers get good prices. And we are working to ensure that.
Sadhan Chandra Majumder said, taking everything into consideration, the government is buying paddy at a higher price this time. This has been done keeping in mind the interests of the farmers. Farmers should not suffer when they come to give paddy.
Director General of Agriculture Extension Department Badal Chandra Biswas told that although the price of rice is slightly lower, the farmers have produced a large harvest this year across the country. They are very fond of it. Still, it is not that the cost is not rising with the price of rice. But if the price was higher, the farmers would be more interested in cultivation.
Nirod Baran Saha Chandan, President of Naogaon Rice Traders and Traders Association, believes that the price of rice is low due to high yield and supply of rice. He said that the price of paddy is lower than last year. Because this year the yield is very high. This year, about two and a half to three maunds of paddy per bigha have increased. Besides, there is ample supply of paddy in the market. That’s why the price has come down a bit.
The government has decided to collect four lakh tonnes of Boro paddy in the current Boro season. However, if the farmers do not get the right price of rice, the government will buy seven to eight lakh tons of rice if necessary. And 1.25 million tons of rice will be bought. Earlier, the price of Boro paddy, rice and wheat was fixed in the meeting of the Food Planning and Procurement Committee (FPMC) held in the Cabinet Room on April 13.
In the current season, the procurement price of Boro paddy per kg has been fixed at Tk 30. Besides, boiled rice will be bought at the rate of Tk 44. In 2022, paddy was collected at Tk 27, parboiled rice at Tk 40 and wheat at Tk 28.
Boro procurement campaign has been virtually inaugurated but paddy procurement has not yet started in any area. Due to which many farmers have complained that the price of rice in the market is going down.
If the price falls, the owners of rice paddies buy paddy in advance and store it. Due to this, even if the price of rice increases, the farmer does not get his share. Even if rice is sold at a lower price than the cost of production, consumers have to pay the higher price. On the one hand, farmers are losing interest in rice cultivation. On the other hand, going to the market, due to the price, the buyer is getting excited.
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