A farmer works in the field in Cumilla. -AA
The shortage of capital, coupled with the rising prices of various materials, have put the vegetable seedling producers of the district in a big trouble.
According to farmers, excessive rain from the very beginning of the current season disrupted production on one hand and delayed their sale on the other, leaving no option for them but to throw away the previously-planted seedlings that had grown old. They said they had to prepare the seedbeds anew and plant seeds again, causing huge financial losses to them.
The farmers said most of them have to take land on lease for producing seedlings as they do not have land of their own. Preparing the field, ploughing, buying insecticides, bamboo, seeds, fertiliser, and polythene, among others, cost the quite a bit.
Unable to arrange the capital, most farmers take loan on high interest and the amount of loan goes up when the sale of seedlings is disrupted.
Seedlings are produced in Dhulipara, Newra, and various villages of Chowar union of Sadar Upazila, Bharella, Moynamoti and Mokam of Burichang upazila. Many farmers said they had to pay twice the amount for seeds this year compared to 2018. At the same time, the prices of other materials, including pesticides, also jumped.They said they are going ahead with seedling production braving all the odds and obstacles.
They mainly grow seedlings of tomato, cauliflower, cabbage, chili, brinjal, bitter gourd, onion, snake gourd, pumpkin, ridge gourd, and luffa gourd. The nurseries are situated on both sides of Moynamoti to Kongshonagar road of Cumilla-Sylhet Highway and Korpai to Moynamoti area of Burichang upazila in Dhaka-Chattogram Highway.
Thanks to an excellent road communication system, farmers from adjacent districts, including Sylhet, Noakhali, and Chattogram, buy seedlings from these nurseries. Cumilla Department of Agricultural Extension's Training Officer Md Shahidul Haque said the seedlings are sold at the end of Bangla month of Badhra and beginning of Ashwin. But the producers incurred losses as they could not prepare the seedbed because of untimely rain.
"They had to spend more money on producing seedlings," he said adding, "The Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) is considering providing easy loan to the seedling producers."
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