Worried farmers need cash support for Boro farming as input costs raised27 January 2023
The farmers are worried whether the price of paddy will reflect the rising cost of farming. Fuel for the tiller machines and water pumps, fertiliser, pesticide, seed, farm workers and everything in between are now costlier than last year. Landless farmers will find it even harder to survive with their earnings. Paddy growers in the 16 northern districts find it difficult to cope with the escalating cost. Some expressed fears that the prices may rise even further in the coming weeks.
Now is the Boro season which accounts for 54 per cent of the country's annual rice production. The government should immediately start providing farmers with cash support. This would encourage them to cultivate Boro on more land. The farmers would need diesel to till and irrigate the fields. If the government does not provide them with subsidies, the price of Boro will rise. Even though Aman production was good last year, the price of rice has not fallen, and it indicates that hoarders are waiting for the price of rice to increase further in the coming days.
According to the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), last year's average Boro paddy production cost in Rangpur and Dinajpur regions was Tk 14,900 per bigha of land and in Rajshahi and Bogura regions Tk 17,450. Each region consists of four districts. The DAE estimates that Boro will be cultivated on 13.25 lakh hectares of land in the 16 northern districts this year. It is 26.5 per cent of the total Boro cultivable land in the country. Last year, the price of diesel rose by 42.5 per cent while the price of each kg of urea fertiliser leapt to Tk 22 from Tk 16 in 2021.
The vast majority of underprivileged farmers do not have enough money. Most of them can't get a low-interest bank loan and have to turn to loan sharks just to be able to farm. The government should provide them with cash support right now.