Published: Thursday, April 4, 2013

Hartals hit tomato farmers hard

They are throwing it by roadside as they cannot sell the vegetable even at a throw away price

Failing to sell tomato due to hartal, farmers in Bogra often leave the crop by the roadside to save the cost of carrying it back from market to their homes. PHOTO: STAR

Failing to sell tomato due to hartal, farmers in Bogra often leave the crop by the roadside to save the cost of carrying it back from market to their homes. PHOTO: STAR

Huge quantities of tomato and other vegetables are rotting at different places in the district famous for vegetable production due to lack of buyers amid frequent hartal enforced by BNP and its 18-party alliance partner Jamaat-e-Islami.
During the ongoing peak period of tomato yield, a visitor would often see good amounts of the popular vegetable on and near the roads as the farmers leave them there just to save the cost of carrying it back from market to their houses.
The situation has arisen as tomato ripens fast in warm weather but there is no cold storage for preserving tomato and other vegetables in the district, said farmers and agriculturists of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE).
The farmers are seen leaving tomatoes beside the streets due to drastic fall of its price as the traders cannot send it to the capital and other places of the country due to frequent hartal, said Sheikh Hasan Akando, a farmer of Madla area under Shajahanpur upazila.
This year the farmers in the district cultivated tomato on 505 hectares of land and got good yield, said sources of the DAE.
At the initial stage of harvest, growers got good prices as they could easily sell the popular vegetable from the field to traders who had contacted through cell phones even before the yield.
But recently its price fell drastically due to marketing problem as the traders, especially those who supply tomato to different parts of the country, cannot come to the growers and local markets due to frequent hartal, said farmers of Gabtoli, Shajahanpur, Sherpur and Shibganj upazilas under Bogra district.
Alam Mia, a vegetable trader of Raza Bazar in Bogra town, said, “Earlier three to five tonnes of tomatoes were traded in the market daily. But wholesale traders cannot come to here due to hartals across the country. So the farmers often abandon their tomatoes on and near roads.”
“If we take our tomato to distant markets for sale, we will not be able to recover even the transportation cost as the price is too low,” said Hamid Ali, a farmer of Mohasthan Haat area.
Md Bazlur Rashid Raja, deputy director of DAE in Bogra, admitted the necessity of building cold storages for preserving tomatoes and other vegetables in the district.