Staff Correspondent: Due to lack of monitoring, a business syndicate has created an artificial potato crisis in Sherpur of Bogra. They are holding the farmers hostage and selling each bag of seed potatoes at Tk 600 to Tk 700 more than the fixed price. In this way, it has been alleged that the syndicate circle is grabbing millions by selling potato seeds at arbitrary prices.
Meanwhile, due to the artificial shortage of potato seeds in the local market, the seeds are not available despite repeated requests to the dealers and traders. So, farmers are unable to plant their land despite lack of seeds. As they are not getting quality seeds as per the demand, they have started complaining. Farmers of this upazila fear that potato cultivation will be disrupted in this situation.
On Monday (November 27), the local agriculture office said that the target of potato cultivation in this upazila has been set at 3,000 hectares this season. One and a half metric ton of seed is required per hectare of land. Accordingly, four and a half thousand tons of seeds are required in this upazila. But the allocation is less than half. And there are 45 dealers to sell these seeds. Among them 18 people from BADC, eight people from private company BRAC and 19 people from other companies.
According to the research, farmers are more interested in the potato seeds of the private company BRAC Seed and Agro Enterprise in the hope of getting good yield. So, the dealers are not raising these seeds as the government BADC’s potato seed demand is low. In such a situation, dealers and business syndicates have created an artificial shortage of seeds from BRAC and other companies. So, potato seeds are not available in the local market. The potato seeds of those companies have gone into the hands of the syndicate. As a result, the farmers are not getting seeds even after visiting the shops of dealers and traders.
But if you pay more than the fixed price, you get the desired potato seeds. As a result, farmers are thinking of cultivating other crops instead of potato cultivation.
Several victims including Alhaj Shafiqul Islam of Mamurshahi village of Shahbandegi union of the upazila, Salim Uddin of Banshbaria village of Kusumbi union complained that BRAC is supposed to sell 40 kg sacks of seed potatoes at Tk 2,520 and A-grade at Tk 2,520 and A-grade at Tk 2,640, but it is being accepted. no Selling for Tk 3,100 to Tk 3,200. That means Tk 600 to Tk 700 more per bag. Still, the potato seeds are not meeting the demand.
They also said that due to the purchase of seeds at a higher price, the cost will be Tk 8 to Tk 10 thousand per acre. Production costs will also increase. Therefore, they also expressed fear that farmers will face loss if they do not get fair price while picking potatoes.
Aggrieved farmers alleged that various dealers of private companies including BADC get commission on sale of seeds. But taking advantage of the lack of monitoring by the concerned department, the profit-seeking syndicate created an artificial crisis of potato seeds in the market.
When asked about the BRAC dealer of Khandkarpara of the city, Feroz Ali Master informed about the seed shortage and said that seeds are not allocated in this upazila according to the demand. So, there is a shortage of potato seeds every year.
Besides, he blamed the sub-dealers for increasing the price of seeds and said that every seed dealer has appointed sub-dealers (seed sellers) in important areas. They are taking potatoes with advance money and booking. Basically, they are charging more money than the price fixed by the company. But currently planting potatoes is almost at the last stage. Initially, the demand for potato seeds was high, but now it has decreased. As a result, potato cultivation is not likely to be disrupted due to lack of seeds.
When asked,Farzana Akhtar, upazila agriculture officer said, there is no shortage of seeds here. All farmers will get seeds in time. So, potato cultivation will not be disturbed due to seeds. However, he commented that he was quite helpless in taking action against the seed syndicate cycle.
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