Corona shutdown Farmers in distress with bumper yield of watermelon

13 May 2020 bdnews24.com


UNB, Khulna :
Despite bumper production of watermelon in Dakope upazila of Khulna, frustration has gripped the growers as they are fearing huge losses for lack of buyers and low prices due to coronavirus outbreak.
Farmers said, watermelons are rotting in the fields as there is lack of customers at the market due to the restriction in movement imposed to stop the transmission of the deadly virus.
Huge watermelons are likely to be damaged in the fields as those are not being harvested for lack of buyers, they said.
According to the agriculture office in the upazila, watermelons have been cultivated on 1,535 hectares of land in Bajua, Sadar, Kailashganj, Laudob and Banishanta unions of the upazila.
Growers said the production cost of watermelon per bigha was Tk 16,000-18,000 per bigha and they would have been happy had they been able to sell it at Tk 45,000-50,000.
They said this is the time for harvesting watermelon and usually wholesalers from Dhaka, Chattogram, Narayanganj, Barishal and other places come here to buy watermelons. But they could not come from those areas due to coronavirus infection fear.
The local administration has also imposed several restrictions on buying and selling watermelons.
Fani Bhushan Mondol, a watermelon farmer from West Bajua of the upazila, Bidhan Mandal from Kocha village, Gaurango Ghorami from Dacope sadar, Ranjit Mandal from Harintana and Ashok Roy from Chunkuri village said this time they have had bumper yield of watermelon.
The farmers feared that if rainwater inundates their fields, watermelons will rot over there.
Kailashganj UP chairman Mihir Mandal said, "He urged the local administration to make arrangements for the entry into and exit from by wholesalers in the upazila by ensuring health security."
Dacope upazila nirbahi officer Abdul Wadud said, "Given the situation, we've allowed vehicles from Khulna, Satkhira, Bagerhat and Jashore areas to come here on the condition of showing driving licenses, valid documents, ID card and health certificates."
Buyers and traders from the same region have also been allowed to come to Dacope to buy watermelons on similar conditions. Besides, businessmen from other regions will also be given the opportunity to come here to buy watermelons by ensuring health security, he added.

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