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Low Aman price frustrates farmers in southwestern region

Staff correspondent - November 12th, 2012

Though farmers are getting a better price for their Agam Aman (short duration Aman variety) paddy this season compared to that of Aus two months back, they are not happy with the low profit margin.
Moreover, the current uptrend of the paddy prices is unlikely to continue as the harvest of other Aman varieties is set to hit the market at the end of November, said farmers and traders.
Having suffered losses in the last three seasons–Aus, Aman and Boro– over the last two years, the growers now look forward to an immediate government decision on procurement of their produces at a profitable rate.
In the region including Kushtia and Jessore, the paddy price went up to Tk 530-540 per maund in the last two weeks from Tk 480-500 per maund but it is still below the production cost, which is about Tk 550-560 per maund.
Md Basir Hossain, a farmer from Khoksa in Kushtia “The Agam Aman paddies at my fields are awaiting harvest. I’ll be able to sell the paddy at Tk 650 per maund this time.”
He said with the rate of Tk 650 per maund, he would be able to reap a meager profit of only Tk 1,500 by selling his entire Agam Aman yield, while he would be able to make a Tk 4,000 profit with his early harvest of Mula (radish) that he cultivated in equivalent areas of land.
“At present, the prices are much better than those in previous seasons, but the profit is still very low given the production cost. You know, the prices of fertilisers and pesticides increased over the year and many farmers had to go for additional irrigation due to irregular rainfall this season,” he said.
“Many of my fellow farmers have already gone for cultivating alternative crops, such as, summer vegetables and potato, which fetch better profits,” he said.
The prices of Agam Aman paddy is much lower in the areas. .
Paddy and Rice Wholesalers and Traders’ Association sources said the prices of Aman paddy were oscillating between Tk 550 and Tk 600 per maund over the last seven days.
Bangladesh Krishak Samity President Morshed Ali told that, “The government needs to immediately take the decision to procure the Aman harvest directly from farmers at a price no less than Tk 850 per maund.”
“We observe that the government’s procurement decision always comes at a time when the farmers sell out their harvests to traders at lower prices, incurring huge losses. So, it can be said the procurement drives by the government have been benefiting the traders instead of the farmers,” he said.
Agam Aman varieties are being mostly cultivated by farmers in 24 districts across Rangpur, Rajshahi and Jessore regions, according to officials at the Department of Agricultural Extension. Agam Aman cultivation constitutes about 8-10 percent in those regions, they said.
Officials in all the three regions also said farmers had to go for more irrigation than the previous Aman season due to irregular rainfall this time.
Until Thursday, 50 percent of the harvest of Agam varieties was complete in Rajshahi and Jessore, said the officials.