Saju Mia, Shibganj (Bogra) Representative:
Farmers are in trouble with the raw chilies brought for sale at the traditional Mahasthan Hat in Shibganj Upazila of Bogra. Raw chilies are being sold at the price of water. Raw chilies are being sold at Tk 4 to 5 per kg. Farmers are frustrated due to the fall in prices due to the high import of raw chilies at the market.
Shibganj Upazila has a long history of raw and red chilies. Due to favorable weather this season, a bumper crop of green chilies has been harvested in the Upazila, according to the Agriculture Department. Although the demand for raw chilies in this area is high across the country due to high salt content, this time the price has come down abnormally. Pepper is being sold at 4 to 5 rupees per kg in the wholesale market. That is why the pepper farmers of the Upazila are in dire straits. Farmers are multiplying the losses by cultivating chilies in more lands in the hope of profit. Far from raising the cost of production, the cost of picking chilies from the field to the market is also not rising.
In Shibganj Upazila, 12 unions and one municipality have cultivated pepper in 350 hectares of land this season. According to the Upazila Agriculture Department, more than 1,500 metric tonnes of pepper have been produced in the region. Among the local varieties, Bogra and hybrid varieties Sonic-1701 and monsoon chilies have been cultivated more in the current season. This time the yield of chili has also increased due to the favorable weather for chili cultivation. More than 40 tons of pepper has been produced per bigha.
Lutfar Rahman, a farmer who came to sell raw chilies at the market, said that last year’s crop was destroyed due to floods, so he cultivated chilies on two bighas of land in the hope of making a profit. This time the yield has been much better. But there is no price of pepper in the market. He is also not getting the cost of picking chilies from the field. Due to this, the pepper in the field is falling red in the field. “Pepper is now hanging around our necks,” he lamented.
Jewel Mia, another wholesaler at Mahasthan Hat, said the price of raw chilies in Bogra has dropped dramatically over the past two weeks. At the same time last year, the price of chili was Tk 70-80 per kg, which was sold at Rs 100 per kg. From this market, pepper is going to the southern part of the country including Dhaka, Khulna, Barisal, Pirojpur, and Meherpur. 8 to 10 trucks of pepper are being supplied to other districts every day.
In this regard, Upazila Agriculture Officer Md. Al Mujahid Sarkar said, more land has been planted and a good yield has been achieved in this season as compared to last year. He said that traders need to take initiative to bring down the prices.