New onions have started appearing in various hat-bazaars of Pabna's Sujanagar Upazila, the largest onion producer in Northern districts and the second largest in the country. However, onion farmers in the region are frustrated with being deprived of fair prices.
At present, onion is being imported in various local markets of the upazila including Sujanagar Municipal Market. Visiting the Sujanagar Municipal Market on Wednesday, it was seen that the new onion was being sold at a price of 1000-1100 Tk per mound. According to the Sujanagar Upazila Agriculture Department, onions were planted in 1600 hectares of land in Sujanagar last year but this time onions have been planted in 1650 hectares of land in this upazila. Due to favorable weather and being able to give fertilizer seeds at the right time, the farmers are taking 60 to 70 mounds of onion per bigha of land. Rafiq Hossain, an onion farmer from Charpara village, who came to sell onions at the municipal market, said that the amount of money spent by their workers, fertilizers and poisons on each bigha to produce onions and the price at which they are selling onions at present is causing some loss. If the price of onion is at least 1300 Tk per mound, farmers in the area could get some profit from this.
Onion farmer Nuruzzaman said, "I have planted onions in about 22 bighas of land, but I am worried that the current price of onion will not increase the cost of production." Harun Mandal, an onion trader, said that since onions are mostly produced in the beel and char areas of the greater Gajna of this upazila, Shyamganj, Bonkola, Raipur and municipal markets around Charanchal have the highest import of onions. As there is a huge demand for this onion, traders from different districts of the country including Dhaka come here to buy onion. Since these onions are not stored in the house for long, the farmers pick them up from the field and sell them at the local market.
Rafiul Islam, Upazila Agriculture Officer, said that the price of onion will gradually come down from now on as new onions start appearing in different markets of the upazila. Besides, farmers have now started planting onions in their lands. And the target of onion cultivation in this upazila has been set at 17500 hectares of land. He said that the farmers will be able to take the new onion home within the next 3 months.