Dhaka,  Wednesday
29 May 2024

Low cost, high return brings smiles to 20,000 maize farmers 

Ripon Islam Sheikh, Nilphamari  

Published: 10:24, 25 March 2024

Low cost, high return brings smiles to 20,000 maize farmers 

Photo: Messenger

Maize harvesting has brought smiles to the faces of 20,000 farmers in the Nilphamari Char areas as the price of maize has increased from Tk 1,300 to Tk 1,500 per maund (1 maund = 40 kg). 

With the rise in international market prices, farmers have enjoyed unexpected returns from their maize cultivation. This year, in the district's 6 upazilas, the target was to cultivate maize on 26,555 hectares of land, but this has increased to 28,323 hectares. The Nilphamari Agricultural Extension Department informed The Daily Messenger that an additional 1,768 hectares have been cultivated beyond the initial target.

Abdul Jalil, a farmer from Charkharibari village in Tepakharibari union, shared with The Daily Messenger that although his yield was slightly lower this year, he was content with the price of corn. He explained that to cultivate 110-140 maunds of maize per acre, he spent Tk 35,000-45,000 on irrigation, fertilizers, and pesticides. 

Last year, the highest minimum market price was only Tk 1,200, which is now double that of other cash crops, with this year's market price ranging from Tk 1,32,000 to Tk 1,68,000 per acre. After excluding irrigation, fertilizer, and pesticide expenses, the profit can be as high as Tk 95,000 to Tk 1,15,000 per acre.

Bahadur Ali, another farmer from the same village, said he spent Tk 48,000 per acre and achieved a yield of 109 maunds. He added that excluding the cost of irrigation, fertilizers, and pesticides, he spent Tk 12,000-15,000 per acre to collect maize from the field by hand. He earned a total of Tk 1,25,350 per acre.

Ziarul Islam, from South Kharibari village of the same union, told The Daily Messenger that this year, they did not face any heavy rainfall, floods, or other natural disasters. The weather was favorable throughout the season. Except for a few places, this year's yields have been better than last year's. The price is also twice as much as the cost.

Female workers Majida Begum, Amena Begum, Rupali Akhtar, and Tabia Begum shared with The Daily Messenger that both men and women are earning approximately Tk 500-700 per day by collecting maize. This has brought comfort to the local workers.

Abul Kashem, a local trader, told The Daily Messenger that there is a lack of government-owned cold storage facilities. Large companies like Narish, Kazi Firms, and Paragon operate some storage facilities, but these are more expensive. Farmers could make more profit if they could store their products at a lower cost.

The companies have also been beneficial to the farmers by providing advance payments. Previously, farmers had to send their products to the city for sale, but this year, they were able to sell directly from the field at a fair price.

Abdul Barek, another trader, told The Daily Messenger that there is a possibility of the price rising in the international market. Demand from feed companies has also increased.

Rabiul Islam Shaheen, the chairman of Tepakharibari UP, told The Daily Messenger that farmers in this area have been cultivating maize for 20 years. It has brought economic stability to the people.

Deputy Director of Nilphamari Agricultural Extension Department, SM Abu Bakar Saiful Islam, told The Daily Messenger that the sandy-loam soil in this area is a major advantage for farmers. The department also provides assistance to farmers in maize cultivation and seed selection. About 20,000 farmers in the district are benefiting from maize cultivation, and the amount of agricultural land is also increasing day by day.

Nilphamari District Commissioner Pankaj Ghosh told The Daily Messenger that farmers are achieving economic stability by cultivating maize. They are also earning profits from their previously unused farmland through maize production, he added.