Lack of cold storage facilities and supply chain for transportation of fresh vegetables are depriving farmers in Ramu of Cox’s Bazar of the appropriate price of their produces.
Ramu is known as the vegetable hub in the greater Chattogram region and farmers there are getting more inclined to cultivate vegetables than food grains as vegetables earn them more profit.
As there is no cold storage in the locality farmers are often forced to sell their produces at low prices.
At Bankkhali haat, the largest vegetable market in Ramu, an angry farmer Mohammad Nabi sold radish at Tk 400 per maund and aubergine at Tk 500 per maund which was much lesser than his expectation. “I had no other option by selling at a lower price as there is no cold storage in Ramu. The farmers are suffering financially,” he added.
On a 20-kilometre stretch on both sides of the Bakkhali River, vegetables are cultivated on more than 5,000 acres of land.
Villages East Rajarkul, Nashikul, Khandakar Para, Sikdar Para, Dakshin Rajarkul, Haitupi, Dwip Srikul, Officer Char, Lombaripara, East Meranglowa, Kawarkhop Monirjheel, East Monirjheel, Sonaichhari, Lot-Uchhiarghana are famous for vegetable cultivation.
Assistant Agriculture Officer at Cox’s Bazar Department of Agricultural Extension Ashish Kumar Dey said this year potatoes are cultivated on 500 hectares of land, radish on 220 hectares, aubergine on 180 hectares, chillies on 400 hectares and winter vegetables on 1,500 hectares of land in Ramu.
Bumper production of vegetables in Ramu made the farmers more interested in vegetable farming, he added.
Arif Ullah, a vegetable grower at Garjania, said he invested Tk 1.2 lakh in cultivating vegetables on 120 decimal lands this season. He hopes he will make a profit of around Tk 2.5 lakh.
Amin Ullah of East Meranglowa cultivated cucumber on 60 decimals of land at a cost of Tk 25,000. If the environment remains favourable, his profit will be around Tk 1 lakh.
Hamidur Rahman, a vegetable grower at Dwipsrikul, said that even lands in the areas are losing fertility, the production of vegetables increases every year for deposition of silt.
Hamidur said it requires hard work for growing vegetables.
He also said the cultivation of vegetables requires comparatively lesser pesticide.
Around 40 families at Dwipsrikul are involved in vegetable cultivation.
Sharecropper, Amulya Barura said he cultivates cucumbers, aubergines, radishes and tomatoes on two plots. The total cost is Tk 50,000. He hopes he will make a profit of Tk 50, 000 this year.
Like him, all the families in this village are now self-sufficient by cultivating vegetables. Not only this village, the main occupation of the people of at least twenty villages on the banks of the river including Fulnirchar, East Rajarkul, Monirjheel, Sikder Para, Khandaker Para is now solvent by farming vegetables.
The main market for buying and selling vegetables in the area is Char Bankkhali. The market sits every Saturday and Tuesday.
Mohammad Selim, the lessee of the market, said every day the vegetables worth about Tk 5 core are sold in the market.