Zakir Mahmud Salim, Patuakhali” Farmers of southern region including Patuakhali are now busy in tending watermelon plants and collecting watermelons. Farmers are also happy as the yield is good this time. The agriculture department says that more than Tk 2,000 crore of watermelon will be sold in the district this year. Kalapara, Galachipa and Rangabali upazilas of Patuakhali district have grown the most watermelons.
Farmers of the district are busy in early watermelon cultivation. Like every year, there has been a good harvest of watermelon. The sale of watermelons has already started. However, as there is no big wholesale market for selling watermelon in Patuakhali, most of the farmers sell watermelon in the field. Wholesalers from different parts of the country are buying watermelons from the field. Farmers say that they are being deprived of the desired price in the market with high prices of fertilizers, seeds, pesticides.
Shahabuddin Munsi, a farmer of Baliatali area, said, “Actually, the profit from watermelon is eaten up by the middlemen. Buy a field from us for Tk 5 lakh and take it to other areas including Dhaka and sell that watermelon for at least Tk 10 lakh. We just went to eat. We have labored for three months, now we are reaping the fruits. But what will be the benefit? Not getting a good price. The watermelons we sell in the field at Tk 20-25 per kg, they take it to the market and sell it at Tk 40-50 per kg. If there was a permanent wholesale market for watermelons, I might have been able to bargain.
Khadija Begum, a farmer of the same area, said, “I have taken a loan of two lakh taka.” I have cultivated watermelons on two kanis and 10 karas of land with a loan of 1.5 lakh takas at Tk 10 interest. Now give medicine and fertilizer to the land. I am sending people to do the work again. I am in a lot of trouble now. Pay off these debts by selling watermelons.
By the grace of Allah, the yield has been good. I have not started selling it either.
The markets of Patuakhali can be seen, watermelons are being sold at the rate of Tk 40-45 per kg. Apart from this, according to the size, watermelons are being bought at Tk 350-400 per piece. The agriculture department says that besides the good demand for watermelon this Ramadan, the farmers will also get good prices.
Mohammad Nazrul Islam, deputy director of the district agriculture extension department, said, “In the current year, 28,750 hectares of high-yielding watermelons have been planted in Patuakhali district. In the meantime, advance collection and sale of watermelons has started. Ramadan will start in a few days. Then the demand for watermelon will be high. Farmers will also get good prices. Hope more than Tk 2000 crores of watermelon will be sold in the district. Farmers will get good price if they sell market verification. Apart from production, farmers should also have an idea about the market of agricultural products.
Watermelon cultivation requires a lot of water. Therefore, agriculture sector stakeholders believe that if the prices of fertilizers and pesticides are at a tolerable level, along with reducing the import dependency of seeds along with ensuring the irrigation facilities of the farmers, they will be more profitable.
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