Watermelon growers worried over countrywide lockdown | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 18, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:42 AM, April 18, 2021

Watermelon growers worried over countrywide lockdown

Hundreds of watermelon growers of Pirojpur Sadar upazila are in great worry regarding the shipment and sale of their produce as countrywide lockdown has been going on since May 5.

Farmers have said that the fruits are ripe for sale and they will have to be sold within a week otherwise the fruits will perish.

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"Most of our buyers are from Dhaka and other distance places," said farmer Mohammad Liton from Chalitakhali village under Sikder Mollic union in the upazila.

"If lockdown period is extended, our buyers won't come," he said.

Another farmer Md Jakir Hossain of the village has also said that if buyers from distant areas don't come, they will have to sell them to the local buyers at cheap rate.

"But local buyers don't pay the proper price of our fruits," he said.

"Last year, we also faced the same problem as lockdown was enforced when our fruits were ripe for sale," said Md Ripon Sikder of the village.

However, this year production cost of watermelon has increased as it did not rain during the cultivation period. As a result, farmers had to use more fertilizer and pesticides to prevent insect attack.

"If it rained, our production cost would decrease," said farmer Md Gias Khan. As it didn't rain this year, there have been more attacks of viruses and insects, he added.

 "In spite of it we are happy with the good production of the fruits," he said.

Watermelon is mostly cultivated at Chalitakhali village in the upazila. After harvesting aman paddy, both farmers from Chalitakhali village as well as nearby Kachua upazila of Bagerhat district grow watermelon at the village.

Usually a farmer has to spend TK 30,000 to cultivate watermelon in one bigha (33 decimals) of land and they can earn TK one lakh from the same land, said the farmers.

Shepon Chandra Ghosh, Pirojpur Sadar upazila agriculture officer, has said that though lockdown is going on, there is no reason for the farmers to be worried.

"We will help the farmers sell the watermelon with the help of local administration so that the buyers don't have to face any difficulty in transporting the fruits," he said.

Farmers will get good price of their fruits during the month of Ramadan, he added.

This year watermelon has been cultivated in 100 hectares of land in Pirojpur Sadar upazila which was only 25 hectoares last year, the agriculture officer further said. 


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