Excessive price hike of seeds might hamper onion farming in Jhenidah this season, said farmers of the district. They said onion seed producing companies have been updating prices per their will without considering the interest of the farmers, as a small number of companies are involved with the production or marketing of seeds in the country.

On the other hand, seed marketing company men have said that they increased prices as subsidy on the seeds was withdrawn this season.

Farmer Bachchu Mollah of Bijulia village in Sailkupaupazila of Jhenidah said each and every seed marketing company including the leading company Lalteer has increased prices abnormally this season. They have fixed the price of each kilogram of Lalteer King for Taka 6,000 compared to last season’s Taka 3,200, Lalteer-20 for Taka 2,800 compared to Taka 1,800 and fixed price of Taka 9,000 for each kilogram of newly marketed hybrid variety seeds.

Farmer Manjur Ahmed said Metal Limited, another seed company had upgraded the price of one kilogram sachet for Taka 2,900 compared to last season’s Taka 1,800.

Advanced Chemical Industries (ACI) has fixed Taka 5,500 for their new arrival onion seed, the farmer said.

Rasheedul Hasan Mia, a seed vendor in the town said although the major seed marketing companies have increased the rate of their seeds this season, they have been marketing local products for about Taka 1,000 each kilogram in the past season. But majority of the farmers usually sow hybrid seeds wanting highest yield, he said.

SM Hamidul Islam, divisional manager of Lalteer Seeds in Jessore division said they did not increase the rates of their products at all. “Actually we have updated the prices when subsidy on the seeds was withdrawn this season, considering the business of the company. The seeds marketed by Lalteer are produced in the United States of America so is costly”. The new price will not affect the farmers as it will ensure better yield, SM Hamidul Islam said.

Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation (BADC) Jessore deputy director of seeds Delwar Hossain said they allocated 70 kilograms of trial seeds at the rate of Taka 1,000 for the farmers of Jashore, Narail, Jhenidah and Magura districts this season. It was scheduled to be distributed through DAE this season.

According to the office of the deputy director of the department of agriculture extension (DAE) in Jhenidah, they had fixed target to produce 86,075 tones of onion on a total of 7,825 hectares of land in Jhenidah Sadar, Kaliganj, Kotchandpur, Moheshpur, Sailkupa and Harinakundu upazilas this season. The farmers produced 121,685 tones of crop on 7,815 hectares in the last season throughout the district.

When contacted, deputy director of DAE in Jhenidah GM Abdur Rauf said the farmers in the district, especially in Sailkupa have been playing leading role in onion production every year. They have been contributing a lot by cultivating quality onions in Khulna division. Hybrid variety of onion offers 17 to 19 tones per each hectare, he said.

Delwar Kabir, Jhenidah