Jhalakathi lemon farmers unhappy with price

Published : 05 Jul 2022 08:36 PM

Farmers in Jhalakathi are not getting fair price even though they have bumper crop of lemons. 20 hali i.e. 80 lemons are called 1 pon in the local language. At present, farmers are not getting a fair price due to the inflation of lemons. The wholesale price of 80 lemons is only 40 to 50 taka depending on the size and quality. Farmers do not get 1 kg of lemon and match it with 1 kg of rice. The marginal lemon growers of the grassroots are in extreme despair.

Farmers of 22 villages including Kirtipasha, Dumuria, Khejura, Mirakathi, Baukathi, Shatadashkathi, Bhimruli, Kafurkathi, Atghar, Gavaramchandrapur and Poshanda of Sadar upazila of Jhalokati sell lemons at this market. Paper lemons are more popular here. Demand for this specialty has grown significantly as a result of recent corporate scandals. In these areas, only by cultivating lemons, many people turn the wheel of fortune every year, but this time it has stopped.

The famous Bhimruli Bazaar is a short road from Jhalokati to Kirtipasha. The enchanting beauty of the traditional village-Bangla will soothe the eyes while walking along the famous floating market along the canal. Although the one-time methopath is now a paved road. Bhimruli Bazaar can be reached in just 30 minutes by motorbike, auto rickshaw, Mahindra and Laguna from Jhalokati city.

Although famous for guava, now the lemon kingdom is in the floating market of Bhimruli. Guava will take 15 more days to mature. Guava Hat will be there from then on. Now standing on the Bhimruli Bridge, you can see small dinghy boats coming to the market with fragrant and juicy paper lemons. It's like a green ceremony in the canal. Lemon growers collect lemons from different orchards early in the morning and bring them by boat to the floating market of Bhimruli canal.

Farmers from 22 nearby villages meet at this market every day. Every year wholesalers from different parts of the country take lemons from here. Many domestic and foreign tourists also used to flock to see the sale and purchase of the floating lemon market. Under normal circumstances, this market is crowded with the noise of lemon growers, wholesalers and visitors. Lemons are not the only thing sold here.

Gautam Roy Sumon, former general secretary of the floating hat management committee, said tourists had to struggle to cope with the crowds during the guava season. Guava has not yet started to ripen. It will take another 15 days to mature. This is the season full of lemons. 

But the farmers are selling lemons at nominal price as the wholesalers are not coming as Colombo is in possession of lemons. 60 lemons are being sold at 40 to 50 taka depending on the size and quality. With that you have to be limited to buying 1 kg of rice. Guava will be in full swing for the whole of August and September. At the end of September, mango farmers set up stalls in the floating market in the same boat. Bhimruli's floating market is famous for selling different types of vegetables including pear, mango and lemon.

Going to the floating market of Bhimruli, it can be seen that the lemon growers are walking around the Bhimruli canal in small dinghy boats carrying lemons in the hope of the wholesalers. Some wholesalers were also seen on the banks of the canal. They are calling for a boat and bringing it to shore and bargaining for lemons. Lemon farmers are selling lemons as pon. There is one pon in 60 lemons.

According to the district agriculture department, lemon is cultivated in 250 hectares of land in Jhalokati district. The district produces 175 MT of lemons annually. Farmers are very interested in lemon cultivation as the production cost of lemon is low and the profit is high. But farmers are extremely frustrated by this year's inflation.

Lemon growers said they sold one pon (80) lemons last year for Tk 400. At present the price of that lemon has come to 10 percent. Now he is selling it at 40 taka instead of 400 taka.

Lemon grower Taibur Rahman said, “I have cultivated paper lemons on four bighas of land. The production cost was 50 thousand taka. Last year I sold about 4 lakh lemons a year. The cost of production has risen further this year but the price of lemons has come down to about 10 per cent.

Deputy Director of the Department of Agricultural Extension. Monirul Islam said that lemon helps in filling the deficiency of vitamin C in the human body. 

He assured the farmers of necessary advice to increase the scope of lemon cultivation and take necessary steps to overcome the crisis of fertilizers and loans.