As farmer Hossain Ali of Bhatibari village in Lalmonirhat Sadar upazila got unexpected profit from carrot farming on two bighas of land last year, he cultivated it on six bighas this year, but he is frustrated as carrot prices have fallen suddenly.
“I sold carrots at Tk 350 to Tk 400 per maund (1 maund=40 kg) in the local market in the first week of January, but prices fell suddenly to Tk 200 to Tk 250,” said farmer Hasan Ali, 40, of the same village, adding that he sold one maund of carrots at Tk 450 to Tk 500 last year.
Kashem Ali, 58, of the same village said he spent Tk 7,000 to Tk 8,000 for producing carrots on one bigha of land, from where he got 35 maunds to 45 maunds. “Carrot is a profitable crop and also helps to keep the soil fertile,” he said, adding that he cultivated carrots on four bighas while it was only one bigha last year.
“We hoped we would get the same prices that we got last year, so we cultivated carrots on large scale this year,” said Abdus Sobahan, 55, of Kakeyatepa village. “I have been farming carrots for the last 30 years and I switched to this item commercially last year,” he said, adding that he cultivated carrots on five bighas while it was two bighas last year.
Lalmonirhat Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) Deputy Director Bidhubhushon Roy said carrots have been cultivated on 900 hectares of land this year while it was 420 hectares last year.
DAE Marketing Officer Abdur Rahim said farmers got fair prices from selling carrots from December to the first week of January as there was less supply in the local markets, and prices fell suddenly when the supply increased several times. Maybe carrot prices will jump in the middle of February, he said.
Vegetable trader Akikul Islam in the town's Goshala Bazar told this correspondent that more carrots are coming to the market this year compared to last year. “We are sending carrots to other areas, especially to the capital,” he said.
“As we will cultivate Boro paddy and other crops, we will free the lands after harvesting carrots,” said Zahuru Islam, 48, of Doljor village in Aditmari upazila. “It is not possible to keep carrots in the field till mid-February,” he said, adding that they are upset over sudden fall in carrot prices.
Lalmonirhat DAE Deputy Director Bidhubhushon Roy told this correspondent that farmers got expected production of carrots this year due to favourable weather and good seeds, but they are upset over low prices. “Many farmers got fair prices from selling carrots harvested early,” he said.