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Low prices of Boro paddy frustrate Sylhet farmers

4A bumper production of Boro paddy could not bring smile on farmers’ faces in the Sylhet district as they are not getting fair prices of their produce.
Hundreds of farmers are now worried about falling prices of the paddy which, they claimed, have dipped below almost half of production cost at the outset of the new season.
According to field sources, the return from the sale of paddy is far below of their production cost. The cost of per maund Boro is more than Tk 800 while the present value of per maund is only Tk 500-Tk 550. In this way, farmers are counting Tk 250-Tk 300 loss on sale of per maund of paddy. They are adding this amount to the sum while repaying loans to the lenders.
Farmers alleged their losses increase as the government does not collect paddy and rice from them directly.
The Food Department has set prices of paddy at Tk 800 per maund and boiled rice at Tk 35 per kg as well. But the concerned department procures paddy from the traders depriving farmers of fair prices.
Traders and businessmen buy paddy at low prices and sell those to Local Supply Depots (LSDs) at the price fixed by the government. In this way, paddy traders get excellent profits whereas growers struggle to get even the production cost.
According to the farmers of different areas in Sylhet, the customer is not available in the local rice markets; if they get any customer, the paddy is sold at Tk 400 maximum.
Marginal farmers, namely Motin, Salam, Jabbar and other farmers at Jamalgonj village in said with frustration, “Cost of agro-inputs including fertiliser and irrigation has gone high; hence they had to spend more money for cultivation purpose, but the return from the sale of paddy is very low.”
According to the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), 4, 61518 hectares of land were brought under Boro farming in the district. An official of DAE told that the present value of paddy is actually lower than the production cost. If the fair price cannot be ensured, the farmers will be discouraged in paddy cultivation in future.