Vegetable traders of Jhenidah said the nonstop blockade has ruined their business as they could not send vegetables to other districts.
Farmers are frustrated as they are unable to sell their produce to the wholesalers as they have stopped purchasing the vegetable from them due to continuous blockade. As a result, some of them are selling those at low price and many others have destroyed vegetables like cauliflower in their fields while some of them frustrated by the low price, have stopped harvesting the cauliflowers and pumpkins from their field.
Transport cost has doubled. “Last year, to transport 45,00 to 5,500 pieces of cauliflower it required Tk 8,000, but for non-stop blockade it has gone up to Tk 14,000 to Tk 18,000,”
The growers fear that they would not be able to pay the traders the prices of pesticides and fertilisers they had bought on credit from a local market.
On normal days around 10 to 15 trucks laden with cauliflower use to leave local markets of the district across the country since blockade only 1 to 3 mini pickup vans are going from Jhenidah, sources said.
Sources in the Agriculture Extension Department (AED) said over 7,000 farmers of Jhenidah have cultivated cauliflower this season on about 945 hectares of land in the six upazilas of the district.
The biggest size cauliflowers each weighing 2 to 2 ½ kg were sold at Tk 13 to Tk 15 per kg and now the same is being sold at Tk 2 to Tk 4 from the field, before blockade medium size cauliflowers were sold at Tk 10 to Tk 12 per kg each weighing one to 11/2 kg while the smallest size cauliflowers are thrown away or being fed to the animals.
Soliman Mandol, a cauliflower grower of Chutlia village in sadar upazila, said “Jhenidah is a major vegetable producing area, production cost of vegetables went up this season because of the increase in prices of all kinds of pesticides and other agriculture inputs.”
Besides, preservation of the vegetables is not possible as there is no cold storage in the district.
Deputy Director of Jhenidah AED Shah Md Akramul Haque said from recent years, farmers of the district are showing more interest in cultivating vegetables for getting repeated bumper production because of favourable weather conditions and fair prices. Due to blockade the wholesalers cannot reach the local markets.
Many farmers fear, following continuous fall in price of their produce they will not be able to recoup the production cost. “Marginal and small farmers are the worst sufferers as they have cultivated their crop taking loan from the local moneylenders,” the DD added.