Plunge in tomato price frustrates farmers in Bagerhat

Published : 06 Feb 2023 08:58 PM

The market price of tomatoes has suddenly fallen in Bagerhat's Chitalmari Upazila. Due to fall in prices, the farmers are in trouble with ripe tomatoes. They have expressed their anger that workers’ wages and transport costs for picking tomatoes from the field and picking them up to maturity have not been paid. While the farmers blame the brokers for controlling the market, the wholesalers say otherwise. In just a span of ten days, tomatoes from Tk 15 to Tk 20 were sold at the rate of Tk 3 per kg. Farmers said that if this situation continues, there will be loss in tomato cultivation.

According to Chitalmari Agriculture Office sources, there are at least 16 thousand vegetable farming families in this upazila. Farmers here cultivate cucumbers on 1,576 acres of land, gourds on 465 acres of land, sweet pumpkins on 131 acres of land, rice pumpkins on 104 acres of land and other vegetables on 595 acres of land on a total of 2,871 acres of land. This winter, farmers have cultivated various types of vegetables including tomatoes. And most of the farming has been done on the banks of fish enclosures.

 This year, various varieties of tomatoes including Chakra, Panpata, Mintu Super, Lovely, Hitom and Beauty have been cultivated in 1 thousand 840 acres of land in the upazila.

Also, they have cultivated tomatoes this year through various ups and downs. Coping with adverse weather conditions produced bumper yields of tomatoes. And around this bumper crop, 16 thousand farmers of this upazila dreamed of changing their fortunes.

Initially Pratiman tomatoes were sold at the price of Tk 2,500. Just ten days ago, tomatoes were sold at the rate of Tk 15 to Tk 20 per kg but on Monday afternoon they were sold at the rate of Tk 3 per kg.

Tomato farmers Rezaul Dariya, Prakash Majumdar, Sujit Singh and Animesh Mondal, who came to sell at Dariumajuri junction of the upazila, said, 'Tomatoes from this region meet the needs of different parts of the country. Millions of tons of tomatoes are produced here every year. We are in dire straits due to the sudden fall in the price of tomatoes. Due to lack of proper market management, wholesale buyers are cheating us.

Lipon Majumdar, a wholesale buyer, said, "On Monday, I bought tomatoes at the rate of Tk 3 per kg. In all the regions of the country where Chitalmari tomatoes were in demand, the demand is now low in those regions. As a result, this price drop. In addition, due to low prices, wholesale buyers are also less in the market.

Chitalmari Upazila Agriculture Officer Sifat-al-Maruf said that tomatoes have started ripening all over the country. If there was a cold store at the local level, the farmers could store the tomatoes and sell them at a higher price. Apart from this, even if the chutney and juice production companies came forward, the farmers would get good prices.